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Occasionally (frequently?) I see a question that is closed as a duplicate. Since it's new to me, and I don't know what the original answer was, I follow the link...

...only to find out that that question was also closed as a duplicate — but, sadly, the third question is related to the second in a different way than the first was (don't pull out the pitchforks, I'm not questioning the wording!)

Here is a scientific diagram of this condition: enter image description here

Sometimes the actual open answer has been more than two questions away. The further away it is, the worse the problem gets, like a possible-duplicates game of "Telephone/Chinese Whispers". Sometimes you end up realizing there's not actually an answer to the new question that is now closed.

Is it possible to require questions in the duplicate close-reason to actually be open (or at least closed for a different reason?


I did search for a duplicate of this one, but I realize how ironic it could end up being...

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possible duplicate of Dont close questions as duplicate if the original is closed. –  YOU Apr 13 '11 at 5:44
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@YOU - Ironic indeed, as that question is referring to sort of an inverse case. –  NickC Apr 13 '11 at 5:57
    
Imm, both looks same concept to me. but no worries, if others does not agree, this will not get closed. –  YOU Apr 13 '11 at 6:04
    
@YOU - I'm glad you found the link - but it's a great example of a case where it is similar and could make this a duplicate, but then a future question might be more similar to this one than that one. –  NickC Apr 13 '11 at 6:10
    
@Renesis, if that future question is similar to this question than original question, I would vote to close as possible duplicate to this, instead of original. Any problem with that logic? –  YOU Apr 13 '11 at 6:13
    
@YOU - that's what the question is about. By that time, this question is closed, but the new one is not really answered. –  NickC Apr 13 '11 at 6:25
    
@Renesis, so what will be the solution for that? Isn't that "Dont close questions as duplicate if the original is closed" in my possible duplicate link? –  YOU Apr 13 '11 at 6:29
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There are also questions out there that are closed as duplicates of deleted posts. There were quite a few closed as dupes of the original Eeeek! question (10k only). –  Lance Roberts Apr 13 '11 at 16:05

2 Answers 2

Your diagram implies that some questions are being closed as exact duplicates when they are not exact duplicates. If they were indeed exact duplicates, the circles would all be the same. The solution seems to be for people to understand that the word exact does not mean similar. It frustrates me greatly when I see similar questions that are clearly not exact duplicates closed as such, and this potentially leads to the situation you described.

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Sometimes it's hard to tell what makes a duplicate exact, but my criteria is usually if the two questions have the same answer. This can lead to non-exact duplicate questions being closed, but it avoids duplicate answers. –  Gabe Apr 14 '11 at 7:49

The diagram is nice, but some examples would be a lot better. I don't think this is a problem that's widespread enough to warrant a change. You can already vote to reopen, leave comments on, and flag posts for moderator attention if they're closed incorrectly.

Also...

Is it possible to require questions in the duplicate close-reason to actually be open (or at least closed for a different reason?

Closed for a different reason is enough to break chains, so that's what I'd recommend if this got implemented.

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