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Sometimes a a question is clearly a duplicate. However, there may be a couple existing questions which are slightly different, but both reasonable duplicates.

When multiple users vote to close as a duplicate and link to separate duplicates, all the suggested duplicates are listed in the close banner. This is good.

Is there a way for a single user to suggest more than one duplicate link when voting to close as a duplicate?

(I haven't tried this, but thinking of some special character to input more than one link in the duplicate field... like enclosing each separate link in brackets [ ] or separating links with commas. That sort of thing.)

  • I hate this feature too. :) – joojaa Sep 2 '15 at 9:52
  • Sounds like something for the 'What privileges should 30k users get?" post on main meta. Coming from someone who actually wants to use it is even better. – Dom Sep 2 '15 at 11:40
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    If you mention the other questions in a comment, they will at least be linked in the sidebar. It's not as prominent as having them in the banner, but it's something. (And if you do it early enough, there's a chance that someone else will pick the one of other targets when voting to close, which will make it show up in the banner.) – Ilmari Karonen Sep 15 '15 at 16:25
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There is currently no way for this to happen.

It used to be the case that moderators could specify more than one duplicate when closing a question (several such questions appear on ELU, and likely on other SE sites) but even moderators can't do that now.

[I asked other ELU mods how to do it, and was told "Can't". Pity; it would definitely be useful.]

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slightly different, but both reasonable duplicates

This shouldn't really happen. Either the questions are close enough to each other to be duplicates of each other (and one of them should be closed then) or they are different and so the new question is a duplicate of only one.

Of course, reality is dirtier than that, and the case you described does happen. But computer systems which are programmed to be as complex as reality is use their usability quickly.

So the question is, why would you want to do that? The purpose of a duplicate target is to 1) point the OP to a place where he can find the answer he needs, 2) point potential answerers to a place where their contribution is appreciated, 3) provide a rationale for the question being closed and 4) statistics and metrics for the usage and closings on SE sites.

For #3, one duplicate target is absolutely sufficient. If you have links at hand which would help us achieving #1 and #2, just post them manually in a comment to the question. This also gives you the freedom to point out questions which are not duplicates at all, but will enhance understanding of the topic. This may be overlooked by people taking a glance at the question, but the ones who really need the info will probably read it. Having the system somehow recognize them as an "official duplicate" doesn't really help with any of these. #4 is for the benefit of the SE team. If they don't need this information, that's for them to decide.

If the question has so many comments that the one about the related questions is going to be hidden and nobody will see it, flag the comments for a mod to clean up. You might want to make it an "other" type with mentioning why you need a cleanup such that the last comment becomes visible.

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