This is a proposal on changing this procedure... We'll see where it gets. ;-)

Instead of adding a comment mentioning it's a duplicate, answer the question by referring the user to the duplicate answer with a link and only then flag the question as a duplicate.


It takes (moderator) time to approve a duplicate flag and people trying to answer questions. (I regularly see multiple comments to say it's a duplicate)


  • The OP has an "answer" immediately
  • Other users hunting for unanswered question can see the question has an answer (gaining them time)
  • Less unanswered questions on the site


  • The answer does not contain any additional useful information
  • Duplicate information (kinda, as it's supposed to link to the original answer)

Any other pros or cons you see?

2 Answers 2


When a post is marked as (possible) duplicate, it gets into review. When five reviewers confirm it is a duplicate, it is put on hold. Moderators can put the post on hold directly, but usually it is "processed" through the review procedure, so no moderator's time is involved necessarily.

Another thing is that "answering" a question, mentioning it is a duplicate, is not making it clearer. On the contrary; repeated information is always a disadvantage, real duplicates should be answered on the original question, additional answers should be added to the original post as well.

A comment saying it is a (possible) duplicate is much clearer than an answer, being only a reference to another answer. I don't see any pro's in that.

  • Good one! Unclear description from me! I meant "answering by just referring them to the duplicate!" Will update!
    – Fabby
    Dec 5, 2014 at 17:08

Con: answers that don't contribute anything to Ask Ubuntu, or to Stack Exchange in general. This site is not a forum.

If a question is a possible duplicate, you have two options:

  • flag it as a duplicate
  • provide an answer that covers the case where it is not a duplicate

Nothing prevents you from doing both.

To paraphrase Dolores Umbridge:

Answering for answering's sake must be discouraged.

If you don't know it's a duplicate, please, go ahead and answer. Perhaps your answer will contribute something new, in which case it could be merged into the original. If, in the process of answering, you find that it is a duplicate, but feel you can add something, continue to post your answer (preferably in the original).

Also see this Meta Stack Exchange FAQ: How should duplicate questions be handled?

  • Yup; that's what I'm talking about: answer with a link instead of comment with a link (also updated post to make this point clearer...)
    – Fabby
    Dec 5, 2014 at 17:12
  • 4
    @Fabby Perhaps I should be clearer: If all the answer does is link to the original (and possibly summarize the original), I do not see it as useful content.
    – muru
    Dec 5, 2014 at 17:14
  • I fully agree with that one! It's only one disadvantage to 3 advantages though... ;-)
    – Fabby
    Dec 5, 2014 at 17:26
  • 1
    @Fabby Quality, not quantity.
    – muru
    Dec 5, 2014 at 17:29

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