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I'm wondering if it doesn't make more sense to close the earlier duplicate, if the earlier duplicate is unanswered.

As of now, I think, we close the most recent duplicate, regardless of answered-status.

But that more recent duplicate is listed higher up in the main page ("bumped" to use the words of the faq) which should drive more interest and potentially aid in answering an unanswered question.

I'm not 100% sure but my guess is that closing the more recent unanswered question reduces the chances of answering the question as compared to closing the earlier question.

Here's what I'm talking about. This is my question which was closed because of this.

Although I think they are not 'exact' duplicates (see my comment), I can imagine that if a proper answer was given and accepted to the earlier question, it may have answered my slightly different question as well. In this specific instance, while I may not be using AudioQueues, it could indeed be the case that the answer to the question required AudioQueues (I don't know - it's why I'm asking). As it stands, the question is unanswered and my renewed interest in the question may serve to answer it.

In short, I wonder not only if the word 'exact' in the phrase "closed as exact duplicate" should be more strictly enforced, but also if it should only apply to answered questions.

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Don't you think quality should be taken into account? If the older question is worded better, more complete, etc.? –  Aaron Bertrand Sep 13 '12 at 18:41
@AaronBertrand Absolutely. Great point. But how to take into consideration the 'bumping' of the greater Question (I'm wondering how to call the abstract Question that is represented by both questions) by the more recent question? –  ari gold Sep 13 '12 at 18:44
If you have additional information to add to the question (and the new information is both valuable and doesn't change the original question's intent), you could edit it. You could also offer a bounty and/or link to it on twitter or other forums. There are plenty of ways to attract attention to an existing question, and also closure as a duplicate can be undone if you can prove to moderators that it isn't an exact duplicate (just flag as other and explain). What we don't need is 400 duplicates of the same question that continues to go unanswered (perhaps for a variety of reasons). –  Aaron Bertrand Sep 13 '12 at 18:46
@AaronBertrand It appears that any user can suggest edits to any question, although I'd be surprised that any non-advanced users would know they could do that. Offering bounties is reserved for 75 rep which limits the effectiveness of that technique. So maybe promoting edits is the way to go. –  ari gold Sep 13 '12 at 18:54
In the case of my question, I'd say that I couldn't edit it because our questions are slightly different and I would, to use your words, "change the original question's intent". –  ari gold Sep 13 '12 at 18:55
@AaronBertrand, regardless of who did it, what's the potential benefit of downvoting a closed question (as someone just did to my example question)? –  ari gold Sep 13 '12 at 18:56
Who knows. People might down-vote because they thought Entourage sucked. You need to grow to accept that down-voting is just a part of interacting in this community, and you will never be able to explain every down-vote. Sometimes haters are just gonna hate. –  Aaron Bertrand Sep 13 '12 at 18:58
+1 to you for my first Entourage reference. It is my true name. Regarding your point about downvoting: it's pretty easy to find situations where down-voting (to use your words "hating") is.. incorrect.. and fix them. Like if someone goes around and downvotes too much, the software will correct for that. Honestly, I'm a pretty happy guy - my SO rep isn't doing too much for me - I just think it could be more elegant. –  ari gold Sep 13 '12 at 19:04
It's not about down-voting too much. I can go down-vote 40 different answers by 40 different people in 10 minutes and the software isn't going to do squat. Now, if I down-vote 40 answers by the same person, that's a different story, it's called serial down-voting and there is definitely some correction for that. But those are two very different things. Down-voting is something that is essential to the success of a site like this. –  Aaron Bertrand Sep 13 '12 at 19:06
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1 Answer

I think a better option is for the original duplicate to be bumped by the fact that another question was closed as a duplicate of it.

In fact, perhaps anything that then bumps a duplicate should bump the original (instead?) as well.

Edit: Clearly the things that should bump the duplicate still should, for all the reasons we're bumping now.

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If I could vote your suggestion up I would. It's a great idea! –  ari gold Sep 13 '12 at 18:56
This is useful if the original hasn't been answered yet, as a bump indicates to potential answerers that people are still actively interested in a solution. On the other hand, if the original has been answered, then only the poster of the duplicate is interested in it. To everyone else, it's just taking up valuable space on the active questions page. –  Kevin Sep 13 '12 at 19:14
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