When closing a duplicate, a message pops up above the question saying

Possible duplicate: < link >

but underneath the post, it will say:

Closed as exact duplicate by: < list of users >

(emphasis added)

So is it 'possibly' a duplicate or is it an 'exact' duplicate?

I get especially narked off by this when the linked duplicate isn't the exact same question... and it requires a small amount of know-how to use the previous answers. (Though I appreciate it's normally trivial know-how)

I don't mind the practice of closing duplicates which aren't 'exact' if they're close enough and the process is deemed proper by the community. I just get a little narked off by this language ambiguity as its easy to feel "hey but they didn't really give me an answer to the question!" and its possible the asker doesn't have that 'trivial know-how'.

1 Answer 1


The reason for the differing language is this:

  • each close vote should be cast by someone who feels strongly the question is an exact duplicate. That's important. Hence the use of the word 'exact' not 'kinda-sorta-maybe'

  • there are 5 of these people required to close a question as a duplicate

  • in the aggregate, 5 people who call something "exact" resolves to "strongly possible", not "perfect results every time".

This is just how people work.

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