To close a question as duplicate it is now suggested that the original question should have an answer "this question has been asked before and already has an answer". Another circumstance arises quite often, which is that the original poster is dissatisfied with the response to the original question, and instead of asking respondents for clarification or help simply posts the same question again.

Should the narrative for duplicate questions be revised to allow more explicitly for the case when the same person has asked the same question twice?

Personally I think such duplicates should be closed as a matter of course.

For example this question has been asked twice in short order. There is an answer to the original, but this may not be clear enough for the original poster.


1 Answer 1


A duplicate question by the same user can be closed even if the older question does not have an answer. (See meta.SO thread Duplicate question changes - can't mark duplicates by same user.) I haven't seen this kind of closure in action, so can't be sure if the banner "This question already has an answer here" still appears in such a case. But even if it does, I think it's of little consequence. Duplicates asked by the same user are not worth keeping; they should be merged or (if the new version has no answers) deleted. Adding a few downvotes in the process of closing will make the deletion easier.

  • $\begingroup$ This is not clear in the narrative - should we be flagging to delete rather than marking as duplicate? $\endgroup$ Jul 21, 2013 at 17:52
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    $\begingroup$ Note that the question I linked has been closed as duplicate and the narritive says "This question has been asked before and already has an answer." More appropriate would be "You have asked the same question before." $\endgroup$ Jul 21, 2013 at 17:56
  • $\begingroup$ @MarkBennet In order for a question to be deleted by non-moderators, it has to be closed first. After it's closed, 10K users can vote to delete; however they must wait 2 days to do so. But if the closed question has negative score, 20K users can vote to deleted it at once. On the other hand, flagging for mod attention is necessary if you want the questions to be merged. $\endgroup$
    – 40 votes
    Jul 21, 2013 at 17:57
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    $\begingroup$ @MarkBennet I disagree with "More appropriate would be "You have asked the same question before."". That notice is intended not only for the OP, it's for everyone reading the post. For example, I did not ask that question before. The statement "This question has been asked before and already has an answer" is correct. $\endgroup$
    – 40 votes
    Jul 21, 2013 at 17:59
  • $\begingroup$ But if it doesn't have an answer it should still be closed. If you want an impersonal version use "This question has been asked before by the same person and answers/comments should be recorded in response to the original question". $\endgroup$ Jul 21, 2013 at 18:01
  • $\begingroup$ @MarkBennet That's what I addressed in my answer. (a) I have no evidence that the same (or any) notice appears when a question is closed as a duplicate of unanswered question. (b) Inventing a special notice for this purpose seems pointless, because the question should be merged or deleted anyway. $\endgroup$
    – 40 votes
    Jul 21, 2013 at 18:04
  • $\begingroup$ The notice which appears is evident on the question I linked. My experience of deleting/flagging is limited. But there is a regular stream of exact duplicates by original posters on this site which are being closed as duplicates with the narrative we currently have. The question is what action someone like me (10k not 20k) should take (a) on noticing this first; or (b) on seeing it in the "close as duplicate" list. I asked because I thought I might not be doing the right thing. $\endgroup$ Jul 21, 2013 at 18:11
  • $\begingroup$ @MarkBennet If you are voting to close as a duplicate, you are certainly doing the right thing. Flagging for a mod to merge, or voting to delete, may also be right things to do in addition to closing. You are also right that the language of system messages is not flexible enough to cover some special cases. This is being discussed on meta.SO. $\endgroup$
    – 40 votes
    Jul 21, 2013 at 23:47
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    $\begingroup$ Update: I have just closed a duplicate question that had been posted before by the same author. After closure, the message shown in the banner is This question is an exact duplicate of: ... instead of This question already has an answer here. $\endgroup$
    – user1551
    Sep 12, 2014 at 16:20
  • $\begingroup$ @user1551: Note however that while the banner indeed says This question is an exact duplicate, it also says below the question 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 find this rather ironic, as if an invitation to ask for a third time. $\endgroup$ Feb 8, 2015 at 10:26

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