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I just noticed that a question I provided an answer to (How to find face shape and points to fix eye glass ) has been closed as a duplicate of this question: iphone app to recognise eyes in a scanned image of a person).

I don't think my answer is particularly great, though it addresses the question with some specific references to code and to an extensive tutorial. Also, it is addressed to what I estimated as the novice experience level of the OP. On the other hand, the question cited as a possible duplicate has two answers which are very general to the point of a discussion.

Do the moderators closing questions as duplicates make any judgement as to the comparative quality of the questions or which has the better answer (if the possible duplicate has any answers) or is it simply a matter of which was asked first?

In this case I don't think the question is actually a duplicate but appreciate that it doesn't much matter in the scheme of things.

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I think if the earlier question has inferior answers you could certainly add a new answer there. I don't think moderators should be expected to read all of the answers and try to determine which one should be closed as a duplicate of the other. In an ideal world, sure. Until then...

I come across this situation a lot, and it's not always a moderator. For example if the OP needs to solve problem A and 5 community members think it's a duplicate of question XYZ, but the OP is on a newer version of the software that didn't exist when question XYZ was brought up, it can be frustrating to see the new question closed as a duplicate when the OP could take advantage of a better solution now that they're on version x. I've blocked these closures in a few cases, but if I can't block or reverse it, the best I can do is post an updated answer on the duplicate, with a caveat like "if you've moved to version x, you can solve this problem this way." It won't necessarily outweigh the accepted answer or the ones that have been up-voted over a longer period of time, but it'll be there for people who look for it.

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You had me at your first paragraph. Obviously SO mods can't go through the thought process you've outlined in your second paragraph for each possible duplicate closure. – Robert Harvey Aug 10 '12 at 17:34

When I flag for a duplicate like this, I'll often explain why the other is better than the one I am flagging. I don't always flag the current/newer Q; if the newer question is better and/or has better answers, I'll flag to close the older one. I've only needed to do this on a few occasions, but each time the flag was accepted and the question eventually closed.

I don't think it is really up to the mods to do all that research, so if I'm taking the time myself to compare and to flag, then I give as much detail as I can if I feel it is necessary.

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