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Let's first look at the problem I have. I asked a question on Stack Overflow and it was "closed as exact duplicate". A link was provided to a question to which mine was, supposedly, a duplicate.

Now, the definition of "exact" is as follows:

Not approximated in any way; precise.

Even the small explanatory note under the close message seems to verify this assertion:

This question covers exactly the same content as earlier questions on this topic; its answers may be merged with another identical question.

Looking over my question and the one with which it is linked I can see that they are related, but they are not identical; the answer to one does not answer the other. Thus, the questions cannot be "exact duplicates".

So if moderators do not use the dictionary definition of "exact" is "exact duplicate" defined anywhere on Stack Overflow? Is it left completely to the moderator's subjective opinion?

This was my question: Create class instance in assembly from string name And this is it's supposed duplicate: How do I create an instance from a string that provides the class name?

They both ask about instantiating a class using a supplied string containing the class name. However, mine includes the added complexity of trying to find and instantiate a class contained in a separate assembly. This, the answers from the supposed duplicate do not answer my question.

Will anyone explain how this could be a duplicate? I realise that they are similar but, in my opinion, as the definition of "exact" is "Not approximated in any way; precise." and a synonym for "exact" is "identical" then one question cannot be a duplicate of another if the answers for one question will not answer the other question.

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I'm not a mod but I'll answer your question. Your question currently isn't closed, but if it was it was most likely closed by a collection of community votes rather than directly by a ♦ moderator.

  • your question is a duplicate. This particular thing has been asked many times before on SO. The item picked as the duplicate may not be the best match, but it is still a match.

  • your question is only subtly different from the selected duplicate due to you needing to load from a separate assembly. The exact same method is used, you just need to specify a fully qualified type name, which is not necessarily explained in the selected duplicate.

  • people can still answer your question when it is closed.

  • if you believe your question is not a duplicate it is up to you to mention why when you post it. Explain how your question is different and how the existing answers don't answer your question.

But as you've seen, the community can close and the community can re-open. Sometimes a ♦ mod can make a mistake (although ♦ mods seldom intercede directly unless it is flagged - if they do cast a close vote as a community member then it is treated as binding).

Your difficulty with this was most likely because you didn't know what you were looking for, rather than the information not being there. If you had supplied the right amount of detail (as you have done subsequently in your edits) then your question could have been answered exactly to your needs, although it still remains a duplicate.

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You can't answer once closed, but you can submit if you're in the middle and it just closed – random Sep 16 '12 at 4:30
You have to supply a fully qualified type name as well as the full assembly name. I only found out these two things have about 6 hours of googling, searching through SO and MSDN. Even then there was no one place that had the answer I needed, I had to piece it together. While I do feel a greater sense of accomplishment at having discovered the answer for myself, I now cannot share that answer to save people that have the same question as me time because the question was closed. – user195879 Sep 16 '12 at 5:26
If the question is different and the answer not the same then it should remain open for answering so that future users can more easily search identical problems to their own, rather than one's that are similar but not close enough for them to work out the right answer in a reasonable timespan. – user195879 Sep 16 '12 at 5:28
The "closed for exact duplicate" banner has been removed and my question reopened which seems to vindicate my assumptions: Similar questions that require different answers should be left open, and moderators should be using the dictionary definition of "exact" when looking to close questions as duplicates. Part of the purpose of SO, remember, is to be a repository of knowledge for users to quickly find the answers to their questions. – user195879 Sep 16 '12 at 5:59
@user195879: "I now cannot share that answer to save people that have the same question as me time because the question was closed." Sure you can. Just post it as an answer on the other question, the one yours was marked as a duplicate of. Mention that when the class is in a different assembly, you have to fully qualify the name. Like this, where you provide an example. – Nicol Bolas Sep 16 '12 at 6:36
@NicolBolas: Do you consider the question to be an exact duplicate? if yes then why the accepted answer from the other question doesn't answer OP's question (even if required modifications might seem obvious to someone) as the close message implies? – J.F. Sebastian Sep 16 '12 at 10:21
@user195879 I've updated my answer... if you follow the link you will find that a FQTN can include the assembly name & version. – slugster Sep 16 '12 at 10:35

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