Is upvoting duplicate questions really following the guidelines of the all mighty alt text?

The question shows research effort; it is useful and clear

I raise this question after recently receiving this comment on a duplicate question.

@FreshPrinceOfSO Then close-vote on that basis, please. At the same time, there's nothing wrong with up-voting a question that has already been asked. – Jonathan Sampson

I don't believe the question shows research effort because the OP would have discovered the duplicate questions. Further, I don't think it's useful being a duplicate. Given these two criteria, it seems like the question merits a downvote and a close.

In my opinion, upvoting the question just raises the question to be "valid," which I don't feel supports the principle of voting up.

Voting up is how the community indicates which questions and answers are most useful and appropriate.

... and it should be discouraged.

  • 1
    Duplicate questions are one of the many banes of SO, in my opinion. It becomes almost impossible to separate the chaff from the real answers when there are duplicates all over the place. I would VtC any question that I knew was a duplicate. Apr 2, 2013 at 14:34
  • 7
    Well, apart from fraudulent voting, any user is free to do with his votes as he sees fit. Up or down.
    – Bart
    Apr 2, 2013 at 14:35
  • 2
    @Bart If the goal is to improve the community, I think part of that is making sure the question gets closed as duplicate, regardless of the upvotes.
    – Kermit
    Apr 2, 2013 at 14:35
  • 2
    So? Vote to close it. That's what I would do if it's really a duplicate. Other than that I can't be bothered about the voting behaviour of other users, nor do I think there is a need for additional guidelines or measures.
    – Bart
    Apr 2, 2013 at 14:37
  • 1
    I don't have a problem with duplicates in general. The spirit of StackExchange is that you search before posting anything and that should really mean that if you've created a duplicate it's because you searched and didn't find a canonical question, thereby your own question becomes a useful signpost to the actual canonical post. Google results often return the Duplicate ahead of the Original post. It might just be because one was worded better than the other.
    – JonW
    Apr 2, 2013 at 14:37
  • the problem really is on stacks' business rules for creating rich content. and additionally as @JonW pointed out, Google has a sophisticated search engine. Stack is lacking in that area. If someone could find the time to feed both needs, i think the community would grow regardless of which voting style was preferred. everything everyone else said also (||]
    – djones
    Jun 12, 2016 at 0:49

1 Answer 1


Not all duplicates are created equal.

Yes, asking a duplicate question can indicate a lack of research on the part of the asker. If you're asking a PHP question about those headers that've already been sent, it's a pretty good bet you didn't search at all before typing up your question.

But not everything is easy to search for, and some askers may struggle to find the right keywords. A duplicate question that shares few or no keywords with the original may well have been asked at the end of a long and fruitless search. If such a question is well-asked, there's no reason not to up-vote it.


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