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There are some questions on SO that gets asked every single day. An example of such a question is:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2938777/headers-already-sent

I always cv those questions as dupe of a question with some uber answer. Another example is the "Can I parse HTML with regex?" questions with the famous uber answer.

Now my question is:

Is it a valid reason to delete vote on those questions or even flag them for deletion. Those questions are only noise IMHO. Especially since those questions get asked so often it makes it really hard for users to find THE answer even if they use the search functionality. Or perhaps only delete them if they are 'older' questions (e.g. more than 1 month old dupes).

This question (ironically) came up earlier: Duplicate question etiquette: to delete or not to delete? . But the accepted answer on that question states:

If there are good answers on both, flag for moderator review and ask for a merge.

If not, then leave the dup as a signpost for future researchers...

The thing is: the dupes mostly have some good (/ decent) answers from either 'repwhores' who rather score some rep instead of cv'ing or juts people who don't know to the question with a complete answer to the question. This only makes it hard for people to find the correct answer to their question if they use the search functionality because of all the noise.

Another related thing is Jeff's post about just this: http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/04/handling-duplicate-questions/

And this basically is about the exact same thing as the accepted answer in the above meta question.

Another related meta question states:

Why bother?

If people come up with a question all the time, it means there's no one authoritative, clear enough source of information on the topic.

This comment is just wrong IMHO. It's not a matter of there is no good answer. It's more a matter I cannot find the clear enough source through all the dupes.

So my question: To delete vote ( / flag) or not to delete vote ( / flag)?

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So many line/paragraph breaks. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Jan 15 '12 at 17:31
    
There is already some guidance about this issue on the Stack Overflow blog here: blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/11/… –  Robert Harvey Jan 15 '12 at 17:53
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@RobertHarvey But that doesn't answer my question. I'm talking about those questions which get asked every single day with the exact same answers (only noise IMHO). Because of the noise only more dupes will be asked. Which makes it even noisier to find an answer. Ad infinum –  PeeHaa Jan 15 '12 at 17:58
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The "famous uber answer" shouldnt be linked. A lot of people take offense by it. It's wrong (PCRE can parse HTML) and it doesnt offer much constructive help at all. I just wish SO would implement something to block linking to it. As for deleting dupes: I delete vote almost all dupes immediately. –  Gordon Jan 15 '12 at 23:21
    
@Gordon You have a point. stackoverflow.com/questions/3577641/… would be the better one to link two. –  PeeHaa Jan 16 '12 at 19:45
    
@PeeHaa at least in the PHP tag, yes. –  Gordon Jan 16 '12 at 20:20
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1 Answer

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I think Robert's comment does answer your question, and Jeff's guidance poses no conundrums.

If the same question is being asked again, with close enough wording that it isn't reasonably different from a previous question, then it doesn't add value to the site and is just noise, vote for close/delete. If the new question did get a good answer that the previous question didn't, then flag it for mod attention and ask for it to be merged. You need to raise this flag, the mods are quite unlikely to do it without this prompting (they have other things to do) and the answer could be lost to oblivion forever.

You could just cast a delete vote on a duplicate question, personally I check the original question first to see if the newer question has some value that is worth saving - usually it doesn't. If you are still unsure and your index finger is refusing to descend onto the mouse button then be ruthless, the question obviously has no value worth saving - you would know for sure if it did.

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