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Aggressively closing duplicate questions

I suppose the way most people get on meta is, that they notice something on StackOverflow that ticks them off. Then they want to vent their anger somewhere, and meta is the obvious place.

For example you see five veteran stackoverflowers close a newbie question because it's subjective. Then you log on to meta.stackoverflow, and post the following;

WE SHOULD BE MORE FRIENDLY TO NEWBIES
GREETINGS 
METANEWBIE

What you're really after is crossing your debating skills with some other people, so you can see where you stand, whether other people agree, and just to vent some anger. However, the answer you get is:

CLOSED AS DUPLICATE
WE DISCUSSED THIS DURING THE 2005 BETA
FIVE GRUMPY META DEVELOPERS

This leaves you with the option of appending a 2005 post, which nobody will read. That's just a waste.

I think discussions can't be duplicated, because a 2005 discussion is really different from a 2009 discussion. Questions that have the "discussion" tag should not be closed as duplicate,

P.S. It would be pretty ironic if someone found a duplicate for this :)

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marked as duplicate by GEOCHET, random, Shog9, Troggy, Ladybug Killer Nov 5 '09 at 8:31

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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I don't think there was a 2005 beta... –  John Gietzen Nov 4 '09 at 22:53
    
I can't help but feel like my first close vote on Meta prompted this. I feel honored to be called "grumpy!" –  John Rudy Nov 4 '09 at 22:55
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In fact, from now on, I shall be known on Meta as ... John Rudy's Grumpy. :) –  John Rudy Nov 4 '09 at 22:56
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Voted to close as a duplicate. BECAUSE I LOVE IRONY –  Shog9 Nov 4 '09 at 23:57
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@Andomar You have at least two duplicates in this question alone. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/8578/… meta.stackexchange.com/questions/9953/… –  random Nov 5 '09 at 0:01
    
This is marked as exact duplicate, even though the linked questions are about something else entirely. I'm suggesting not to close questions with the "discussion" tag, even if they are duplicate. The other questions are about aggressive closing. –  Andomar Nov 5 '09 at 10:15
    
@Andomar: And that sounds like a dupe to me. Don't let your emotions get in the way. –  GEOCHET Nov 5 '09 at 13:28
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5 Answers

If this is an issue for you, then you don't understand the site. This site is not a discussion forum, it is meant to be a wiki Q&A site. You should be interested in adding to the wiki, not getting more views.

Furthermore, by interacting with the old question, the question will start to appear again on the front page for at least a short period of time.

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+1: Agreed! Especially on the second piece. –  RSolberg Nov 4 '09 at 22:59
    
So, can you point at ONE old question that was revived by a new meta user? –  Andomar Nov 4 '09 at 23:05
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That's true for Stack Overflow, sure, but one of the purposes of meta is discussion. Though it is better to contribute to an old discussion than to try to start a new one. –  Kyle Cronin Nov 4 '09 at 23:06
    
@Andomar: Yes, many of my questions have been. –  GEOCHET Nov 4 '09 at 23:14
    
@Kyle: Don't create ambiguity. The idea and the rules on this are clear. –  GEOCHET Nov 4 '09 at 23:15
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@Rich B: Can you link one, instead of claiming many? –  Andomar Nov 4 '09 at 23:18
    
@Rich B: Well, I tried, but couldn't find any examples. So my belief is that new users cannot revive old topics. –  Andomar Nov 4 '09 at 23:28
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@Andomar: I've managed to revive a few old threads by posting a new answer to it. Unlike SO, meta is still a small enough site that it's possible to view all posts by the main page (sorted by activity), and I imagine many/most of the active users use meta in that way. –  Ether Nov 5 '09 at 0:05
    
Here's a prime example of a low Meta rep user bumping an old question/discussion: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/28535/… –  random Nov 5 '09 at 0:07
    
..and for examples, see this topic: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/behavior+users –  Ether Nov 5 '09 at 0:07
    
Rich as the person who so often loves to quote the FAQ's you forgot three other aspects of Stack Overflow: "It’s a programming Q&A website. The only unusual thing we do is synthesize aspects of Wikis, Blogs, Forums, and Digg/Reddit in a way that is somewhat original". So a bit of everything in that list goes. Stack Overflow is not WikiPedia, please try to remember that. –  Kev Nov 5 '09 at 0:15
    
@kev: Then make your own answer. The advice I am giving here is solid. –  GEOCHET Nov 5 '09 at 0:20
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I'm going to post here to represent one of the five grumpy meta people.

<Insert Grumpy Comment here>

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+1. Do you know how tempted I am to click Edit and actually insert a grumpy comment? :) –  John Rudy Nov 4 '09 at 23:01
    
You say +1 but I'm not seeing the rep. COMMON! (grumpy voice) :P –  Ólafur Waage Nov 4 '09 at 23:03
    
*come on. What kind of English are they teaching you inside your igloo inside your volcano? –  GEOCHET Nov 4 '09 at 23:05
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<insert grumpy reply to he who shall not be named here> –  Ólafur Waage Nov 4 '09 at 23:17
    
I thought I clicked the upvote button; my bad. Don't know what happened. Probably unintended acceleration of my mouse when I was clicking. I blame Toyota. –  John Rudy Nov 5 '09 at 14:57
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In your extreme example of the same discussion topic being posted twice in four years, I would agree. However, the reality is that the same discussion topics get posted on a weekly (or shorter) basis. In that light, I'm going to keep closing duplicates. It's more useful to keep related discussion together on a single post.

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Well I was trying to say discussions are about talking to other people. You just want to chat and see what other people thinking. It's not about objective knowledge which can be duplicated. –  Andomar Nov 5 '09 at 10:19
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The problem with duplicate discussions is that the old-timers (you know - those of us who have been here for several months now) eventually get tired of discussing the same things over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and...

...and we just give it up. The new discussion becomes an echo chamber for people new to the site, and nothing good comes of it. If you can find the original discussion, take time to read it, and either respond to it (bumping the whole question to the front page in the process) or start a new discussion that derives from but does not duplicate the original, then we're all better off: you, because you've taken the time to learn from past arguments; us, because we don't have to endlessly repeat old arguments.

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To be fair, some of the same topics wouldn't keep coming up if some of the broken behaviour noted on the sites actually got fixed (let alone acknowledged). –  Ether Nov 5 '09 at 0:09
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@Ether: this is true. But however tempting (or effective!) it might be to use nagging as a method of encouraging bug-fixes, that doesn't make it any less pointless to spread the actual discussion of a bug across multiple posts. –  Shog9 Nov 5 '09 at 0:11
    
So where would you say new users can go to talk about Stackoverflow? I thought thast was the purpose of meta. –  Andomar Nov 5 '09 at 10:23
    
@Andomar: Why should they 'talk' about it? They can read the old conversations and add their view if they want. Or they can go 'talk about it' on IRC or something. –  GEOCHET Nov 5 '09 at 13:29
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@Andomar: if you have something to add on an old topic, then add it to the existing thread covering that topic, either as a new answer or a comment. –  Shog9 Nov 5 '09 at 13:36
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Meta is a bit different from SO, in that it actually does encourage the concept of discussion. However, in my mind, that key change does not change the core tenet of any of the Trilogy sites:

Always search for dupes before you post.

Yes, you might find an older post to which you should be appending. Sorry, them's the breaks. However, by doing so, you "bump" said post to the "Active" questions tab on the home page, and the original asker of said post gets a big bar notification next time he/she signs in.

I'm not really seeing the problem. The reality is that most discussions are suggestions -- and in the case dupes, suggestions whose outcomes have already been decided, if not by consensus then possibly by mods or Jeff.

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