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I don't think it's right that new questions get closed as "dupes." Some of them were asked in the early days of StackOverflow/ServerFault/SuperUser and do not necessarily have great answers. Also with time new things show up and get developed. And those questions already have the "best answer" selected and are appearing on the top. Even if you give a better answer, you'll be at the bottom, which will make it hard for others to notice it and it will be upsetting to you as well. I find it incorrect that questions get closed as duplicated.

There should be a better policy when a question can be marked as a dupe and when not. For example, only the competent users in that area (having answered enough questions with the same tag the question has) should be able to mark question as duplicate.

What do you think?

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I disagree with you, but disagreement is important to understanding, so +1. It looks like someone disagrees with me, though, but it's hard to tell when people downvote without commenting. –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Sep 12 '09 at 23:47
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I have a scenario. Suppose someone asked which is the most functional python web framework. This question might get answers django, werkzeug, pylons, etc. Now suppose a year passes and someone develops an xyzzy framework that is the new cool thing, works faster and has better functionality than the previous ones. People searching for the best web framework would end on the year old question that lists django, etc. But in reality the new thing everyone has started switching to is xyzzy. Someone else also has listed this xyzzy in the original question and it has like 2 votes, where as ... –  Peteris Krumins Sep 13 '09 at 0:59
    
django has 667 votes. I doubt that someone would even consider xyzzy given django has 667 votes. –  Peteris Krumins Sep 13 '09 at 1:00
    
And if someone asked the same question today, the xyzzy would get 667 votes, and django would only get 500. –  Peteris Krumins Sep 13 '09 at 1:01
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Wow... that is a terrible question. For starters, the only answer i'd up-vote would be the ones recommending frameworks for Haskell (nyukyukyuk!) But mostly, because it's a fundamentally subjective question. If only folks would listen when we tell them that answers to subjective questions rot like smashed pumpkins and are therefore inappropriate for Stack Overflow... –  Shogging through the snow Sep 13 '09 at 1:29
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​​​​​​​​​​​​*Any* way, that's when you flag the question for moderator review, and inform them that it has become terribly, woefully, irreparably out of date and therefore should be closed as "no longer relevant" and/or deleted. –  Shogging through the snow Sep 13 '09 at 1:33

2 Answers 2

I think if you have a new, good answer to an existing question, then you should answer the existing question. If i need an answer to that question and I search for it, chances are the old question will be the one to come up first.

There are mechanisms in place for merging questions, highlighting old questions with new answers, etc. IMHO, far too few questions are closed as duplicates: i often find myself searching for a question i've viewed before and know had a good answer, only to find a pile of newer, duplicate questions and lackluster answers following them.

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Not to mention that if you answer the duplicate and get enough upvotes, you (probably) get a badge (Necromancer). Even more motivation! –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Sep 12 '09 at 23:48
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@Chris: s/duplicate/original/ –  dmckee Sep 13 '09 at 0:01
    
I have exactly the opposite experience. I often stumble on questions that have been closed as duplicates only to find that the original question does not have any satisfactory answers (or has only like 3 answers). –  Peteris Krumins Sep 13 '09 at 0:52
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@Peteris: you make 3 answers sound like nothing, but that's probably close to average for most of the questions i answer. Do the questions closed as duplicates have decent answers? If so, flag them for moderator review and request that they be merged into the original. If not, then chances are no one has a good answer - otherwise, they'd have posted it somewhere already, either on the original question or one of those that duplicated it. –  Shogging through the snow Sep 13 '09 at 1:24

I agree it's bad to delete data. Closing (rather than marking) as duplicate is essentially deleting the possibility of a slightly but interesting different path to follow from it, a.k.a. brainstorming.

But marking as duplicate is essential, it's one of the greatest points of wikipedia: the built-in ability to prevent too much duplicate info. And as Shog said, SO still has room for great improvement on detecting redundant data.

So, closing the duplicate should only be done when it's exactly the same, and the original is actually 100% complete. This should happen only with simple questions.

For everything else, I believe they should be "marked as duplicate" somehow, point the link and eventually be turned into CW, as most of the allowed duplicates must be subjective by principle.

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