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I often add a comment to questions which is probably an answer. Usually I do this if there is already a very similar question or there is tonnes of information on the topic that a cursory search would find.

I don't really think it is constructive content to add to Stack Overflow; I only intend to help them with their issue, and hope the question gets closed. Should I always provide an answer when requested? What else is there to do? Usually, I just ignore them and think I will search for the duplicate when I have the time.

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If you think a question should be closed then vote/flag to close, rather than answering it (either in an answer or in a comment).

If/when the question is improved enough to be up to the site's quality standards then it can be reopened and answered.

The entire reason for having a close process in the first place is because trying to answer these types of questions does more harm than good. If answering closed questions weren't problematic then there wouldn't be a need to close them to begin with.

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  • If the duplicate is obvious, then I close vote. If I know we have a similar question but I am unsure if it is significantly different; as per SeanWM's same search terms, rational. For instance, in this question the poster admitted to finding the answer shortly after posting the question. In this question, direct cause is explained by another question, but is more an XY issue. – artless noise Oct 2 '13 at 14:22
  • In this question, I think it belongs on another site. But also, I intended the comments to focus the OP's question; who is a higher rep user than me. Sorry, for the examples, but I think that maybe my question is not adequately describing the situation; I am really unsure if the question should be close; that is subjective, isn't it? – artless noise Oct 2 '13 at 14:24
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If you know the question has been asked before then flag it as a duplicate. That's what its there for. It's really not a bad thing that the same question has been asked but just asked a different way. This allows for more ways to find the question because people won't always hit the same search terms. If the duplicate vote passes then everyone gets directed to the original post anyways.

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