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Random commented on this question of mine "Asking dupes would be considered bad behaviour".

Isn't the appropriate response to a duplicate question "close as duplicate" ?

The fact someone bothered to ask the question even though it's a dupe, probably means he is not aware of the dupe question's existence. The next person to come after him and ask the same question in similar wording will see that his question is a dupe before asking it - so asking a dupe question usually adds benefit to Stack Overflow / Meta.

I do not consider it a bad behaviour (you can call it a bit lazy, because a more or less through search before asking could have discovered the dupe... but lazy != bad. As I said, asking a dupe is actually beneficial to the community).

What are your thoughts on this?

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Quick note: the "@someone" notifications are effective only in comments, and for someone who commented before you. No need to make such "twitter references" in a question. –  Gnoupi Apr 13 '10 at 7:38
    
@Gnoupi: You can edit yourself, you know ;-) –  fretje Apr 13 '10 at 7:49
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@fretje - someone scolded me long enough yesterday about "teach them instead of editing". I'm traumatized for the next days. –  Gnoupi Apr 13 '10 at 7:51
    
+1 the @Gnoupi's last comment. Though he should have taught you instead of scolded you :) –  ripper234 Apr 13 '10 at 9:16
    
Should this be tagged 'faq'? –  ripper234 Apr 13 '10 at 9:20
    
@rip: Does it follow the guidelines under "Is your question not part of the FAQ?" for proposing FAQs? (Feel free to consolidate consensus and ask an [faq-proposed] question.) –  Gnome Apr 13 '10 at 12:30
    
@Gnome - I am not that active on meta-SE, if someone else feels up to it he is invited to do so (this question just feels "FAQ-ish" to me). –  ripper234 Apr 14 '10 at 0:15
    
meta-SE (meta.stackexchange.com) is different from meta-SO / "Meta" (meta.stackoverflow.com), BTW. –  Gnome Apr 14 '10 at 4:33
    
I know @Gnome, I just keep confusing the two when I use the acronym. –  ripper234 Apr 14 '10 at 12:52
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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

No.


Posting a question without looking whether this question exists already and not even glancing at the "possibly related" list – that's bad behavior.

If you can't find it, because the other question uses a totally different wording than you had even thought of, asking the dupe is a good thing, because now people using your wording and people using the other wording can both find the same information.

At least that's how it's supposed to work.

And re Earlz' answer:

Asking exact duplicates is bad. There is a reason we have a close reason.

Please stop telling people that having your question closed is some sort of punishment. There's enough people out there who believe that already.

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@balpha. Ah ok, I see what you mean now. I guess the "closing is not punishment" should really be taught more throughout the site though. –  Earlz Apr 13 '10 at 6:05
    
The related questions when asking are only based on title and often poor matches IME. The related sidebar is only shown after the question has been asked. –  Gnome Apr 13 '10 at 12:23
    
@Gnome: Agreed; my main point is "search before you ask". –  balpha Apr 13 '10 at 12:25
    
Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/27566/… –  Gnome Apr 13 '10 at 12:32
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Depends really.

Bad

  • Where if you plug the question title into the Ask a Question page and it brings up a list of valid and matching duplicates in the Related list.
  • Using the same keywords that the site search brings up many duplicate questions.
  • Asking a dupe just because the other person who asked it the first time is no longer there

Okay

  • Using completely different keywords and phrases that in no way match with the dupe.

But they should just be closed as dupes. Otherwise they lead to answers spread out all over the place and beget:

Naughty

  • Answering a duplicate question when the comments list said and valid duplicate(s).

Most heinous

  • Answering dupes with duplicate answers. More so if you have a stock set of answers that you just throw out there on dupe questions.

In short:

 (lazy == bad)

To the people who downvote dupes, you're doing a bang up job!

*valid being where the answers and questions are virtually the same save for users, word ordering and timeframe.

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hmm, I am torn on this. We're asking people who land on the dupe to click through to get the answer, like experts-exchange! That is why I don't mind answers getting added to duplicate questions, as long as they aren't the copy-paste kind. The answer is then right there. –  Jeff Atwood Apr 13 '10 at 7:32
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@Jeff - right there. Or there, at this other question. Or there, at this other one. The problem with that is that you need even more effort to get to an actual pool of answers. If there is a basic, unique answer, sure. But this is rarely like that, and such thing leads to scattering good answers over several questions, and makes it hard to gather all of them. –  Gnoupi Apr 13 '10 at 7:36
    
Can't we think up a better way to show related answers/questions, so that at least it invites users to click through yet another page. Or perhaps the link to the dupe should provide info on whether it has an accepted answer? –  Ivo Flipse Apr 13 '10 at 7:55
    
I was all already to +1 and accept this when I reached "lazy == bad". With that, I disagree. There's nothing wrong with being lazy. Sure, there's nothing good about it sometimes ... so let's call it neutral? –  ripper234 Apr 13 '10 at 9:19
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+1 for "most heinous" ;) –  Axarydax Apr 13 '10 at 11:40
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Answering a duplicate question with an answer tailored to that OP can be helpful. E.g. on SO, beginners are the ones more likely to ask dupes and are the ones that would benefit most from tailoring to their exact situation with variable names and other (mostly non-relevant to the real question) details. I will sometimes take the time to post an answer in that case, knowing full well it will be closed as a duplicate and probably deleted. –  Gnome Apr 13 '10 at 12:46
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(I withdraw this answer.. )

Asking exact duplicates is bad. There is a reason we have a close reason. The obvious difference is with Meta there may be old questions that say "How do you do X and Y?" and now there may be something that rather says "How do you do X and Y now that the Z bug was fixed? " It's a near exact duplicate, but is inheritely different due to time frames and SO changes.

Asking similar questions can be beneficial also such as "How do you do X" and asking a question like "How do you do X if you are doing Y?"

So see, exact duplicates contribute nothing to the site. Near exact duplicates have a chance to contribute something if the original question was so far back that it can be deemed irrelevant(such as bug fixes, or other Trilogy changes). Similar questions usually contribute something.

So yes, exact duplicates are bad behavior.

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Even questions that closed as dups are beneficial in that they instruct SO's "Ajax dup detector". When you ask a new question, (I imagine that) SO uses the fact a question is closed as dup to point you towards the existing question. There is a reason these questions are not deleted. Also, they are searchable on Google. The same question can have different wordings. –  ripper234 Apr 13 '10 at 5:57
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