As a relatively new user, it has taken me multiple attempts and several mis-steps to locate the 'report a duplicate' function for the Stack Overflow site.

Currently it is located under:

flag -> it doesn't belong here -> exact duplicate
"This question doesn't belong here because it is" ...

That just makes no sense to me. The question does belong on Stack Overflow, because another one just like it already exists there.

I'm sure I can't be the only person who struggled to find that. I only found it after persevering due to criticism for pointing out duplicates in comments/answers.

This is a user interface bug. Either "it doesn't belong here" is an inaccurate summation of the options beneath it or "exact duplicate" needs to be moved to somewhere that makes logical sense.

A better text would be "it should be closed" i.e.:

flag -> it should be closed -> exact duplicate
"This question should be closed because" ...

This is a more suitable heading for all the current options under "it doesn't belong here" (currently "exact duplicate", "off topic", "not constructive", "not a real question", and "too localized").


What happened here is that all of the close reasons available to 3k users (those with full close vote privileges) were just moved into the "flag" dialog under the general category heading "it doesn't belong here". (In fact, for users with close vote privileges, a selection of one of these flag options is automatically converted to a close vote.)

This is a perfectly logical category title for most of the close reasons, but you're right in pointing out that it does seem to misrepresent the "exact duplicate" choice.

I think this is something worth looking into. I'm not sure how much havoc it would wreak to split up those choices in the flag dialog, but leave them together in the "vote to close" dialog.

  • 1
    I think "vote to close" makes a lot more sense. – Charles Goodwin Jul 21 '11 at 3:34
  • 1
    @Charles: I'm not sure what you mean by that. Yes, it makes sense for people with close vote privileges. But as a user with < 3k rep, you're not actually voting to do anything. You're raising a flag on the question to the rest of the community, who will then decide whether or not they agree with you, and cast close votes of their own. So "vote to close" would also be misleading here for users without full close vote privileges. – Cody Gray Jul 21 '11 at 3:36
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    "this should be closed" then... the point being, it is about closing the question, not about it being inappropriate for the site (which "it doesn't belong here" strongly implies). – Charles Goodwin Jul 21 '11 at 3:38
  • @Charles: Ah, fair enough; I understand what you're saying now and I think I would agree with that description. I can only assume the developer responsible for the initial text felt like it would be clearer to new users, unaccustomed with the "vote to close" feature, to title this "it doesn't belong here". – Cody Gray Jul 21 '11 at 3:40

It appears they just made this change within the last hour or so. Now that you point it out, I agree that it doesn't quite make sense under "doesn't belong here". I think they may have gotten a little overzealous in trimming the main flagging dialog.

After a quick look, it might be better to restore "duplicate" to a top-level flag. The spam flag could be moved under "not welcome in our community" to keep the main dialog small:

  • not welcome in our community
    • it is spam
    • This question contains content that a reasonable person would consider offensive, abusive, or hate speech.
  • 3
    this is an ancient change, it was made months ago. – Jeff Atwood Jul 21 '11 at 1:50
  • Ok I guess my cached version just expired then – Brad Mace Jul 21 '11 at 1:51
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    There's really no way you could have been caching this for so long. It seems more likely that as a user with close-vote privileges, you just never use the "flag->doesn't belong here" path. – Cody Gray Jul 21 '11 at 2:53
  • @Cody - Ah, I bet you're right. I had been doing some close voting and must've just been confused when the flagging dialog came up and was arranged so differently. – Brad Mace Jul 21 '11 at 2:56

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