One of my questions got an obviously wrong "This question may already have an answer here" attached to it (I give an explanation at the end of the question):

Is the degrees-of-freedom explanation for Bessel's correction in unbiased sample variance wrong?

This is very annoying since many people won't bother reading the question and this is definitely reducing the chances of getting an answer!

My question
Is there any possibility how you can get rid of such a wrong suggestion again?

Edit: I obviously made the mistake of thinking that everybody saw this comment at the beginning of my question. It is of course helpful to get feedback as to whether questions could have answers already.

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    $\begingroup$ It's an opportunity to make your question clearly understood by more people. If you disagree with a comment like that, the first thing to do is edit your question to clearly distinguish your question from the other one. Of you feel it's as clear as you can possibly make it already, point to the other question and explain why the two are different, and then perhaps add a (polite) comment saying you don't think it is. $\endgroup$
    – Glen_b
    Apr 12, 2015 at 21:39
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    $\begingroup$ Whenever a comment or answer is "obviously wrong" to you, a good default position is to assume--at least hypothetically--that your post is subject to multiple conflicting interpretations: that is, somebody has understood it in a way you did not intend. The first action to take is to seek out the possible source of such misinterpretations and edit your post to clarify what you are asking. $\endgroup$
    – whuber Mod
    Apr 13, 2015 at 14:34
  • $\begingroup$ @whuber: Thank you, so I did the right thing :-) $\endgroup$
    – vonjd
    Apr 13, 2015 at 14:39

1 Answer 1


It isn't really "attached" to your question. It is just a comment. When that comment was left, it put your question into the close vote review queue. It will take 5 close votes to close it as a duplicate (unless a moderator agrees, in which case it will be closed immediately). At present, two people have voted (one of whom was me), both to leave open. I find it likely that nothing will happen to your question.

I doubt anyone will read the comments first, and finding that comment, not read your actual question. I think most people read the questions and answers, and not the comments at all.

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    $\begingroup$ +1. @vonjd: Note that "obviously wrong" cannot be a summary of judgments here when there is clearly some disagreement on how far your question is a new question. Your postings on this site are subject to review by others and their comments and the consequences of their comments will not be removed just because you think them unfair or inaccurate. As with gung, I guess your question will survive; your greater concern with getting good answers is not well served by disputing peer review in this manner. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Apr 12, 2015 at 15:08
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, so the problem might be that I as the OP thought that everybody saw it so prominently placed at the beginning of the question. This is obviously confusing! $\endgroup$
    – vonjd
    Apr 12, 2015 at 15:19
  • $\begingroup$ @NickCox: I am afraid that it is obviously wrong. It is a complete mystery to me how anybody could think both questions are duplicates! $\endgroup$
    – vonjd
    Apr 12, 2015 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ @NickCox: See also my edit above - Thank you. $\endgroup$
    – vonjd
    Apr 12, 2015 at 15:27
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    $\begingroup$ Once more: the strength of your opinion has itself no implications for how peer review is handled. The standard wording itself carries the implication that it is a suggestion (and one offered in good faith by someone with sufficiently high reputation). $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Apr 12, 2015 at 15:28
  • $\begingroup$ @NickCox: Thank you. I mean perhaps there is a connection after all and I fail to see it. You are one of the members with a very high rep counter: Can you guess why anybody would think that both questions - after reading them - are duplicates? I would be very interested in your opinion. $\endgroup$
    – vonjd
    Apr 12, 2015 at 15:43
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    $\begingroup$ Sorry, but I intend to restrict my attention to the meta issues you have raised and not to spend time reading those threads too. I will just point out that very busy people often read something through quickly; it's the collective decision that counts, not whether individuals got something wrong. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Apr 12, 2015 at 15:48

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