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Possible Duplicate:
Give an incentive for finding duplicate questions

It may be possible duplicate question, but I believe that this very site is dedicated not to questions but to stackoveflow problems.
So, here is one, still unresolved.

Is it good to close duplicate questions or not? Do Stackoverflow have certain policy to follow?

If so - how to make it work?
Is there is any solution not considering participants being some sort of boy-scouts crazy after some virtual badges, signs, bells and whistles?

If not - why not to get rid of this button at all?

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@Michael without looking into the link you provided, I assume it should have an answer says either "close as exact duplicate feature is useless, get rid of it" or "sure, it should be closed, not answered, if you have a link to good answer". Otherwise I see no point in giving me this link. –  user145842 Apr 9 '11 at 9:22
    
You know what they say about assumptions, Colonel. –  Michael Petrotta Apr 9 '11 at 9:23
    
@Michael the latter link is way more relevant. However, despite of duplicate question, the problem is still persists. –  user145842 Apr 9 '11 at 9:30
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Yes, it does, Colonel. What's your point? Do you want to keep reposting this question until it's answered to your satisfaction? I think I've heard someone say recently that dupes were bad. –  Michael Petrotta Apr 9 '11 at 9:32
    
@Michael I am not that certain. Quite contrary, that's what exactly I want to know - are they bad or not? And if SO have certain policy to follow? –  user145842 Apr 9 '11 at 9:36
    
Your question doesn't communicate that at all. If that's truly what you meant, I suggest you rewrite your question. –  Michael Petrotta Apr 9 '11 at 9:37
    
@Michael good point, done –  user145842 Apr 9 '11 at 9:44
    
    
Remove the button then. –  user145842 Apr 11 '11 at 14:03
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marked as duplicate by YOU, Jeff Atwood Apr 9 '11 at 11:39

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.

1 Answer

Do Stackoverflow have certain policy to follow?

No, I don't think so. But here is a recent blog post of Jeff's on the issue which has quite a relaxed stance and I think can be viewed as the somewhat official policy. Final paragraph:

"So, as always, use your good judgment and please continue to close and merge duplicates as you see fit. However, bear in mind that cultivating and supporting a moderate amount of natural duplication actively helps the community. I wasn’t kidding when I said learn to stop worrying and love (some) duplication. Use the above guidelines and try to find a happy, reasonable medium somewhere in the middle there."

Is there any solution not considering participants being some sort of boy-scouts crazy after some virtual badges, signs, bells and whistles?

There are no bells and whistles for pointing out duplicates. It takes active effort and thinking to find a good original question that really answers the new OP's problem. Sometimes, the OP will even hate you because they don't want to read through some other question, but would like to have custom-tailored answers.

It's still a good thing to do, like picking up litter in the park. The only reward is a good feeling inside. I don't see a way to make this work without using "Boy Scout" tactics.

If not - why not to get rid of this button at all?

Getting rid of the "close as duplicate" button would be getting rid of the last barrier against an endless stream of the same questions, every time getting the same copy+pasted answers. If anything, the process needs to be further improved, maybe even gain reputation so more people do it. I don't think getting rid of it would do any good.

How to make “exact duplicate” close reason to work?

Give more incentive to find good duplicates - either through reputation points, badges, a list of the users with the most successful duplicate votes. Take away reputation earned from duplicate questions. That's all I can think of.

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