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We close questions as duplicates when the code is too similar (or pretty much identical) to a previous question by the same asker.

When marking a question as a duplicate the following text is shown:

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

I feel that this text is a misguide. From reading this text, it can be interpreted as "Oh, my previous question got only one answer, and it didn't help me as much as I wanted to, then I will post the same code again in a new question (but wait, isn't that exactly what I just did?)".

The text does not provide the suggestion of change your code to include suggestions from the answers you have received. It also does not mention that you can add a bounty to your previous question, or that you can share your question in chat, on Twitter, etc.

I suggest that we should change this text if possible. How can we make this text work better for Code Review?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think this text is possibly to adjust in a site-specific manner. \$\endgroup\$ – nhgrif Jul 11 '15 at 22:33
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Yeah, the comment "your question is a duplicate so we closed it, please ask again" doesn't make any sense in its current form. However, let's keep in mind that the situation is quite hypothetical, because as @rolfl said it too, legitimate duplicates are extremely rare on Code Review, and I don't think that's going to change in the foreseeable future.

That being said, duplicates might happen every once in a while, in theory at least, and I agree that we need a better text, just in case.

How about something like this? It's intentionally a bit verbose, feel free to trim to your taste:

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please explain your reasons, and what more you are looking for. One way or another, you need to differentiate from the previous question.

Keep in mind that the question might be hard to answer. To encourage better reviews, you can try to offer a bounty, or share the question on various social outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, or others.

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Really, this question is redundant. Code Review should have no duplicates (I wonder how many it actually has?).

Code Review is very strict on what is defined as a duplicate. To qualify, the code is essentially identical on each question - this is rare, indeed.

Now, why does this make this meta question redundant? Because if there really are duplicates, then one of two things should happen:

  1. if the duplicate has been answered, then the duplicate should be merged back in to the original (copying the answers, comments, etc. over on to the primary question, and deleting the duplicate).
  2. if there's nothing of value on the duplicate (no answers, etc.), then the duplicate can simply be deleted (after being closed as a duplicate).

On Code Review there is no reason to keep duplicates hanging around. They are not "guide posts", or "search refiners".

The bottom line is that duplicates should all end up deleted, and then it does not matter what the message says.

Update: - there were 6 questions marked as duplicates in the entire system. Two of them are referenced in this meta post:

These last two questions are only there because of this meta question. I believe they should be handled differently anyway....

The first question has a whole bunch of code that is not in the duplicate, and it should not have been marked as a duplicate. It should be reopened, with the different focus it has.

The second one is about as close to a duplicate as I can tell, and it is the only time I have seen a follow-on question with so much in common.

The differences are that the method now returns a value, and has additional logging.

The other 4 have now been identified as erroneous duplicates, and reopened.

Bottom line, this stack has no duplicates

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm sorry, but I have to disagree. I still think that it does matter what the message says as it is a confusing and misguiding message to the OP. \$\endgroup\$ – Simon Forsberg Jul 11 '15 at 12:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ I fundamentally disagree with "Bottom line, this stack has no duplicates". \$\endgroup\$ – nhgrif Jul 12 '15 at 15:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nhgrif - it's not about whether this stack has duplciates, or not, it is about what happens when duplciates happen: - they are either deleted outright, or merged (which is also a delete). Thus, duplicates are effectively culled, and do not exist in the normal way. The duplicates that are linked in this meta question are not going to exist for long.... actually, now is a good time to clean them up. \$\endgroup\$ – rolfl Jul 12 '15 at 18:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ I see 200_success already deleted the second, I have now reopened the first. \$\endgroup\$ – rolfl Jul 12 '15 at 18:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ Code review now has no duplicate questions \$\endgroup\$ – rolfl Jul 12 '15 at 18:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @rolfl irony: that link is showing 1 search result ;-) \$\endgroup\$ – Mathieu Guindon Jul 13 '15 at 0:32

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