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Recently one of my questions was closed as it was voted as a duplicate of another. Whether or not this is true, if it is generating a large volume of upvotes, favorites, comments and answers, should it really be closed?

There were a lot of people engaging in it and learning a lot from it. It seems a shame that that discussion and learning was severed like that when there is a very low chance users are going to go to the duplicate and continue from there on an older question. There was probably more to learn and more people willing to contribute.

I got a feeling a lot of the vote closers knee jerk vote close as soon as they see something that looks vaguely similar without actually reading both questions and taking into account the possible benefit to the community of a duplicate.

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Flag the question for moderator attention and ask for the two to be merged. Would that be feasible? (Not a definite solution, though) –  malach Aug 27 '10 at 13:40
    
Well my opinion is they are not duplicates so that would create a gigantic mess of questions and answers :) –  Tom Aug 27 '10 at 13:42
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Personally, I'd have been more willing to listen if you'd chosen to open up a debate about whether or not the question is actually a duplicate. This is exactly the wrong way to approach the subject; high activity on a duplicate question is a bad thing, not good! –  Aarobot Aug 27 '10 at 14:15
    
I didn't want to argue if it was a duplicate or not, because democratically it has been decided that it is, although I disagree it's my opinion. –  Tom Aug 27 '10 at 14:20

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

My advice is to link to questions that might look like dupes and articulate why they aren't.

Based on your reference to closers not reading both questions, I'm assuming you're not arguing that duplicates are ok, but rather that your post shouldn't have been viewed as one.

If you care about not posting duplicates, you're searching for possible dupes before you post.

If you identify questions that appear to be dupes, but you believe are not, you should link to them, indicating something like, "I know that a similar issue was raised in this question, but mine is different in that [whatever]."

This achieves two things:

  1. It allows you to frame it in a context that makes the differentiation clear, helping others to see that it's not a dupe.
  2. At a minimum, it shows others, even if they don't agree with your take in point #1, that you understand the system, and respect it enough to make an effort not post dupes.

If #1 is effective, you're covered, but #2 will often be enough, and just linking as described above will always get you to #2.

In my opinion, very few questions are closed as dupes because voters don't accept someone's argument for why their post is different. (This is assuming they included it and a link to the "non-dupe" at the time of posting. You don't get as much credit for your argument after the closing, as it's less credible that you searched up front.)

The general assumption that triggers fast closing tends to be the belief that you didn't even bother to look for dupes, or found them and didn't care. If you simply indicate that you made a genuine effort, and believe that your question is not a dupe based on non-ridiculous differences, you'll likely escape close votes.

As a semi aside, this Meta post is a good example of how linking more can help make the community give you more of the benefit of the doubt. Your post here is, I believe, asking about what happened to this question, which responders will want to see to provide context to help them assess whether your points seem valid, but I had to click your user profile, then go to accounts, then guess which site you had the problem on to find it, all of which makes me slightly more likely to make assumptions like, "this poster doesn't bother to check for dupes". I'm not saying that's fair, but it's human nature.

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What you have described is exactly the reason we have "closed as duplicate" There are two duplicate questions both with good answers, which means we are splitting the information. If I search for that phrase and find "the" question, I won't realize at all that there are possibly better answers elsewhere.

They should be merged so that all the information is in one place.

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Without such a merge feature, is this a fair to the question askers? –  MatthewMartin Aug 27 '10 at 14:02
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@Matthew: We already have merging. And even if we didn't, yes, it's fair; what's the asker's excuse for not searching or even looking at the list of proposed duplicates after typing the title and/or tags? –  Aarobot Aug 27 '10 at 14:12

Why is the new question getting a lot more answers then the old question?

If the new questions ask the something, but in a more interesting (or clear) way, the new questions is of value.

I know some users can edit the old questions to improve it so as to make it more likely to get an answer, but I don’t think an edit should to a total rewrite!

So at times, when the older questions is of a low quality and have no good answers, should we be closing the older questions as a duplicate of the newer question?

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