Recently, a question was marked as a duplicate since there was a similar, but not an actual duplicate, of the question already existing.

In short, the situation was this:

  • Original question was "How to move an entire iMessage conversation to a computer"
  • New question was "How to bulk-download photos out of Messages (could be iMessage or SMS) on a phone"

Note that while tangentially connected, and similar, the questions ask two different things. In addition, the answer provided in the original question was not marked as an accepted answer, and also promoted a premium product - not necessarily an available solution to all users. This is not necessarily the first time I have come across a duplicate like this.

Also, the new question does not specifically state that they want the solution to bulk-download items to the computer - it just happens to be one of the provided solutions, but might involve phone, computer, another device, etc.

For full disclosure: I did provide an answer to the newer question. However, I feel that a user might not read the additional content on the new thread (which provides a free, easy answer) instead of the original question (which provides a premium answer to a question they might not find relevant) since it was flagged as a duplicate, making a link to the first question appear at the top. This is not an exploration of how to get my answer accepted and rep boosted, but rather an attempt to provide a quality answer that I think might be lost.

Given the above scenario, my question is this:

  • Are users besides the OP allowed to challenge question statuses?
  • What would a user have to do to modify their question enough that it would no longer be marked as duplicate?
  • Is it possible to have an additional status, something like Similar, which could be used in these situations? (Benefit would be that a user could stumble onto either question, both open, yet have a thread linking them to the other in case one was more relevant to their needs. We all know how changing one or two words in Google can bring significantly different results on most topics)
  • Thanks for bringing this up!
    – nohillside Mod
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 6:05
  • I wish the duplicate question banner text had more help to it other than "try again" with a new question. Editing to clarify things is often all you need to do to make it clear how the "duplicate" is really a follow on or more nuanced take to the linked question. Also - there is no loss of data when a question is closed - just that it needs help to attract new answers. Do you feel the question needs more answers? If so, let's edit it and get it reopened.
    – bmike Mod
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 14:30
  • @bmike definitely agreed on the contextual information. It's fairly broad in terms of what a "duplicate" is. I don't think the question at hand necessarily needs more answers and/or to be reopened, rather it's just useful to know for the future :)
    – smoooosher
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 16:09

1 Answer 1


This is a community-moderated site, so anybody can/should/is allowed to point out if he/she doesn't agree with a close reason. In a nutshell, you can always flag a closed question and give an explanation as a flag comment to have one of the moderators look at it.

To improve the chances that the question gets reopened it might also help to edit the question text first to make it more obvious what the problem at hand is and how it differs from the potential duplicate. Such an edit also automatically places the question in the reopen queue where not only the elected moderators but all high-reputation users will participate in a voting process to reopen (or not) the question.

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