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Background

On the main site questions cannot be closed as a duplicate of a question which doesn't have an upvoted or accepted answer. However; that doesn't seem to be the case here on Meta where I've seen feature requests and bug reports closed as duplicates of unanswered questions.

Question

Why can unanswered feature requests and bug reports be used as duplicate targets?

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    This is something I’ve seen asked several times but could never find a Q&A to link to. If this is a duplicate (which it really should be) then I apologise, although it probably needs the link anyway – Richard Tingle Mar 18 '14 at 10:29
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    [faq-proposed]? – michaelb958--Reinstate Monica Mar 18 '14 at 10:30
  • @michaelb958 Could be, I wasn't sure if it was quite frequent enough but I would have no objection to that – Richard Tingle Mar 18 '14 at 10:30
  • @michaelb958 need to be more broad if we want to make it faq, this is talking only about feature requests, but sometimes it's legit to close bug reports and even discussions of other questions that don't have answer yet. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Mar 18 '14 at 11:30
  • @ShadowWizard I didn't even think about bug reports, but very similar arguments apply. Oddly it always seems to be the duplicate marked feature requests that people complain about – Richard Tingle Mar 18 '14 at 11:45
  • Found the duplicate; Why can we flag/vote a question on Meta as duplicate of another question which has no accepted/upvoted answers?. They clearly are duplicates of each other, I leave it to the community to decide which way round to close them (as I'm obviously biased) – Richard Tingle Mar 18 '14 at 13:52
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Feature requests

Feature request 'answers' aren't really answers

While they remain called 'answers' the answers on feature requests aren't really answers. They are reasoned arguments for or against the proposal or suggested modifications to the initial proposal. As such the aim of a feature request is not to acquire answers; in fact a feature request that is obviously a good thing and is well argued in the initial proposal may never get an answers at all (although once implemented it may get a stub answers indicating which build it was implemented in).

It helps the feature request to be closed as a duplicate

Given that the stated aim of a feature request is for the feature to be implemented the greatest thing that can help that aim is to show wide community support for a proposal. This means collecting all the votes for a proposal in a single place; this means voters can be directed to the master feature request - a single feature request with +200 is far more powerful a statement that 20 identical feature requests with +10 each.

The ultimate aim of a feature request is to be implemented not answered

Given that the aim of a feature request isn't to be answered but to be implemented and acquire a tag the requirement for an answered question to be marked as duplicate is removed.

Bug reports

Answers to bug reports don't really make sense

Bug reports need answers even less than feature requests do and have answers even more rarely. The only exception to this is that the build in which the bug is fixed is often posted as an answer; however this is only done after the bug is fixed. Sometimes detailed bug reproduction steps are posted as answers but this is rare and only occurs when the original bug report has failed to include them.

It helps the bug report to be closed as a duplicate

When a bug report is closed as a duplicate of a single master bug report it allows all the votes on that bug to be collected in a single place; allowing it to be quickly observed how important this bug is to the community. It also allows all the relevant information on the bug to be collected in a single place (for example systems effected) rather than being spread around several unconnected reports.

The ultimate aim of a bug report is to be fixed not answered

Again since the aim of a bug report isn't to be answered but to be fixed and acquire a tag the requirement for a bug report to be marked as duplicate is removed.

  • I don't understand your time of post both Q&A, are you trying to explain others or you found the answer with in seconds – Bala Mar 18 '14 at 10:43
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    @Bala This is something I found asked several times but couldn't find a Q&A giving a detailed answer to link to. I'm explaining it to others, Q&A style – Richard Tingle Mar 18 '14 at 10:45

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