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This question:

Has just been closed for being a duplicate of this question:

Yes, there is some overlap in both questions, but there's also a very specific need in the closed question that I've since addressed. Despite being specific, it's also useful to everyone. Now the question and answer, which apparently people appreciate (from votes and views numbers), is in danger of deletion.

Not only do I think it's unfair to me and OP, but I also think it won't actually serve the community to delete the latter question. Just the numbers alone should indicate that this is the better question (and yes, those numbers do mean something, or else we wouldn't have reps and badges for them). Even being subjective, one can compare both answers and questions and easily see which one is more useful to the community.

I'm also almost certain that the "original" question can't be the original either. There has to be an earlier question on the same subject, probably in [c++], but hey, maybe that's close enough to be considered "exact duplicate"?

I'd like to think that SO strives to serve the community, and I'd like to think that I'm doing my best to do so, and I hate to see my efforts, appreciated by some in the community, nullified by a select few.

OK guys, my answer has just been merged with the old question (which gave me a Necromancer, which I appreciate), but since the questions were a bit different, now the stuff I said about Horner's Scheme doesn't make sense in the old question. Should I:

  • Remove this useful but now irrelevant information, or should I
  • Edit the old question to sound more like the new question so my answer makes sense?
share|improve this question
If the earlier one is ALSO a duplicate, that would make this question even more redundant. (A redundancy buffer). The fact that other duplicates exist is not a reason to have more. – devinb Apr 20 '10 at 13:17
Leave the Horner stuff in there with an EDIT tag that explains the context. – devinb Apr 21 '10 at 8:54
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Answering based on the merge: you should always edit your answers to make them better, when possible.

share|improve this answer
@Jeff: so since I dug deep with the new question, and it's too deep for the old question, I should just remove the now irrelevant information, right? I'm just making sure that this is what's best for the community. – polygenelubricants Apr 21 '10 at 5:37
@poly possibly, this is the issue with merging -- two questions are rarely "identical" regardless of how vehement certain members of the community insist they are. It's rare. – Jeff Atwood Apr 21 '10 at 8:12
thanks for the supporting words, but I've chosen to follow devinb's advice of simply providing a short note for context for that additional information instead of removing it. Thanks again. – polygenelubricants Apr 21 '10 at 9:46


Both questions are simply asking about what the ^ operator does, therefore they are duplicates. The fact that they used different numbers as examples makes no difference. The fact that you provided an excellent answer also makes no difference, as your answer would be an excellent answer on the earlier question.

They are asking the same thing, which is what "close as duplicate" is for.

share|improve this answer
Math.pow is the only recommendation from the other answer. This question concerns an actual application of exponentiation, and by bringing up Horner's Scheme, I eventually showed how exponentiation isn't even necessary in this particular scenario (which is not rare by any mean). I addressed the question at face value, but then dug deep (admittedly in an effort to "save" the question) by also identifying the underlying issue (which is not present in the other question) and proposed its solution. I think I have an argument in saying that no, the two questions are not exact duplicates. – polygenelubricants Apr 20 '10 at 13:39
As I mentioned in my response, the fact that you did an INCREDIBLE job with your answer, does not make the QUESTION intrinsically better. The only difference is that one user provided context. The context was not what they were asking about. They were asking about the operator, and you answered them very thoroughly. Again, this "duplicate" marker in no way diminishes the strength of your response. It is simply stating that the two questions are asking for the same information, and for that reason, they should be merged. If someone were to search for the ^ operator, we would want them to see – devinb Apr 20 '10 at 18:41
the best of the answer on both questions, because the questions are the same. For this reason, it is bad to separate where the information is stored. It means that anyone searching for the ^ operator now has only a 50% chance of finding your response, which is not what we want. – devinb Apr 20 '10 at 18:42

Many people against on deleting duplicates, so probably its unlikely, but not 100% sure.

in danger of deletion.

But you still can vote to undelete if its happens

or you could try to request merging answers by flagging it to moderator (I am not sure they will accept or not), but merging happens only to answers, so at least your answer will remain on the top (since both question dont have accepted answers), and you will get a necromancer badge :-)

or request to lock the question (might need to discuss with original OP), locked questions could not delete, so might be useful for that case.

share|improve this answer
I think this Q has more to ask than the other Q. If one is to be merged with the other, it should be the older Q merged with the newer one. Otherwise, the Horner's scheme's section of my answer wouldn't make sense for the older Q. – polygenelubricants Apr 20 '10 at 7:37
@polygenelubricants, ok, another option is request to lock the question (you might need to discuss with OP too, because he asked), but deleting wouldn't happen. – YOU Apr 20 '10 at 7:46
but I disagree with older question should merge with newer. I don't think its fair to older question. – YOU Apr 20 '10 at 7:49
@S.Mark: merging will never make both sides happy, I'm just saying that perhaps we should also look at criterions other than chronological advantage. Which question has more votes & views, or is just plain better (subjective) due to having more wealth of knowledge, should be the one that survives. – polygenelubricants Apr 20 '10 at 8:04
@poly, I personally think Weird Java Math in title attracted 100+ views and many votes on Q you've answered. <I agreed with your answer is well explained one though.> But I wanted to mention decisions based on votes and views may not be always correct. – YOU Apr 20 '10 at 8:10
@S.Mark: true, I'm using those numbers not because they're reliable, but because they're there and an integral part of the system. In any case, I'm curious why you seem to imply that the post won't be deleted, because I thought closed questions eventually will. Also, will I be notified if it eventually does get deleted, or do I have to check it every day and protest when it does? – polygenelubricants Apr 20 '10 at 8:43
@poly, wouldn't it be better reqeusting to merge or lock than checking everyday and protesting it? there is lots of 10k people out there, I am afraid protesting hardly works. (no notifications for deletions btw) – YOU Apr 20 '10 at 8:55
@polygenelubricants: Merging older questions with newer ones shouldn't be a problem, if the question is actually an improvement. Personally, I don't feel that is the case, but you could still ask a moderator to do so (or edit the question to improve it... right now, the title sucks and it's a bit hard to read). Regardless, you could include the relevant portion in your answer as an introduction to your final section - then you'd be safe even if the question changed. – Shog9 Apr 20 '10 at 21:17

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