I am considering a hypothetical situation where the same question, when duplicated across a considerable time gap, will have a totally different answer. For example in Linux, certain features are removed as new bettered ones are added. Like ifconfig was removed in favor of ip and many distros choosing systemd over init.

So, just because the question is identical, will it be flagged duplicate and closed?

If such a question is closed prematurely by a moderator what should I do to reopen the question?

What about the loss of reputation (maybe due to inattention or incompetence of moderators) in such cases?

  • related (possibly a duplicate): Reopen Question incorrectly closed as Duplicate? – gnat Dec 30 '14 at 8:08
  • @gnat Hi, that question is clearly different from what I am asking. This question is about an exact duplicate which could hypothetically have a completely different answer. – One Face Dec 30 '14 at 8:13
  • "exact duplicate having a completely different answer" should be edited to help readers understand why an answer is different in its context (in your example, to explain that there's no ifconfig so that questions assuming its presence are indeed different) – gnat Dec 30 '14 at 8:16
  • Thanks. I got the answer already. I was just commenting on why my question is not a duplicate – One Face Dec 30 '14 at 8:18

When SE communities self-elect moderators, we elect them (partly) thanks to a proven track record of both understanding the subject matter of the site and having a good eye for details. However, you have to accept the fact that moderators are ultimately human, like the rest of us commoners, and humans can make mistakes.

Your half of the job is to make it as clear as possible that your question is a viable question and not a duplicate. If you're aware of a potential question that may be (wrongly) considered as a duplicate, you should note this in your question - e..g., "I've seen question [link], but it doesn't help me because it's about version A and I'm using B".

And in the worst case, even if the question does get wrongly closed, it can always be reopened - with enough rep you can cast a reopen vote. Even if you don't have rep for that, you could always raise a flag for moderator attention or post a request to the specific's site meta.

  • Ok, that makes sense. But say I am a noob and so I didn't know this, then what happens? – One Face Dec 30 '14 at 7:10
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    @CRags provided that your question is essentially different from the existing one, you .. get answers :) – Tim Post Dec 30 '14 at 7:29
  • @CRags I beefed up my answer a bit - I think it will now better address your concerns. – Mureinik Dec 30 '14 at 7:30
  • @Tim Post the questions are considered identical if they are structurally 90% similar, according to some answers in questions related to duplicates – One Face Dec 30 '14 at 7:31
  • Thanks, this classifies the question. – One Face Dec 30 '14 at 7:34

Usually the older answer has already updated answers. If not, someone could add them.

If there is not an updated answer that works with X, and not with the old Y, you could ask a new question referring to the question from Y.

If it is closed when someone forgot to mention why the previous answer didn't work, it can be clarified and reopened.

Note that most questions are closed through community moderation, not by moderators.

  • Ah, I see. In my eyes that is even worse! No one that will shoulder the blame if proved wrong – One Face Dec 30 '14 at 7:33
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    What blame? For what? – Patrick Hofman Dec 30 '14 at 7:38
  • For wrongly closing a question – One Face Dec 30 '14 at 7:38
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    Then the one asking should explain why the duplicates didn't help. – Patrick Hofman Dec 30 '14 at 7:39
  • I get it. Thanks for answers. – One Face Dec 30 '14 at 7:40

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