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This question already has an answer here:

Do people down vote questions simply because the question is a duplicate of another question?

I've noticed that this seems to be the case as a lot of duplicate questions are always in the negative.

I can understand why people would do this if the title is very similar to the duplicate question, but a lot of the time even if the asker tries to find similar questions it can be difficult if the title is phrased differently.

In the case that the title is different to the duplicated question, are people downvoting the duplicate question solely because it's a duplicate, or is it because of poor grammer, etc.?

I think that it is a problem that (if) this is happening because it leads the asker to delete their question, which in turn makes it difficult to find the original question with the answer, leading to more duplicate questions.

marked as duplicate by random discussion Jul 7 '15 at 1:20

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    Impossible to say for certain, but the downvotes could be due 'lack of research effort' – user289879 Jul 6 '15 at 23:28
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    Only if they mention something about headers already being sent. – Shog9 Jul 6 '15 at 23:35
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    @Shog9 what does "headers already being sent" mean? – Aequitas Jul 7 '15 at 0:05
  • @Aequitas It's a good question, you should go ask it on Stack Overflow, which incidentally will at the same time answer your question here about dupe downvotes :D (It's a question that's been asked to death because, people don't search at all, or believe their issue is different to one of the 6 billion other questions) – James Jul 7 '15 at 0:13
  • @James even if you do search, it's very easy to not find a question. I saw someone in chat see a question posted and knew that it was a duplicate because they remembered the same question, but couldn't find it because the phrasing was different. – Aequitas Jul 7 '15 at 0:18
  • @Aequitas It can be difficult to find previously asked questions, but not with headers already sent which was Shog's point :) – James Jul 7 '15 at 0:33
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Do people down vote questions simply because the question is a duplicate of another question?

I do sometimes, but only if I believe the question is a definite dupe, and it showed absolutely no research effort at all.

If the dupe could easily be found, such as when typing the question title the "Questions that may already have your answer" shows the dupe clearly.
Or their title is so similar that they just haven't tried to search.

All that said, it is rare I downvote "only because dupe", because how do I know they aren't just terrible at searching, and I don't feel it right to penalise people for that, not on a "help" site.

it can be difficult if the title is phrased differently.

I do have sympathy for this, and sometimes have missed a previously asked question myself, even after searching for 20 mins with various keywords.

But, that's fine really. Someone good at searching or remembers a question will flag it and community will close as dupe, downvote, and we all move on.
No-one has been hurt, or lost any real money, etc.

I think that it is a problem that (if) this is happening because it leads the asker to delete their question, which in turn makes it difficult to find the original question with the answer, leading to more duplicate questions.

But this works ok, because if it's a popular problem which would benefit from different question titles and keywords, then other users will also raise a dupe, and not everyone will delete their question, so eventually there will be a searchable dupe, or dupes.

Also there's not much you can do about this. You're not - you're absolutely never ever - going to change why people downvote, and (eg) some will downvote because it's a dupe, and that's their prerogative as it is yours to not downvote.
We all downvote for very personal reasons, and some most certainly will downvote because they're annoyed at something and see a dupe and presume lack of research - They woke up to find their cat prefers their work shoes to the litter tray...

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I do not downvote questions simply because the question is a duplicate of another question.

I downvote duplicates if the duplicate shows up in the sidebar and/or is easily findable by a quick search.

I'm even more likely to downvote duplicates if the question is very brief, thus not demonstrating research effort in that way either.

To avoid such downvotes:

  1. Use the search bar before submitting a question
  2. Look in the sidebar while submitting a question
  3. Say what you have done in the way of research
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Many people do. I don't. Because it is not always easy to find the duplicates. Often they are not even duplicates, but others insist they are.

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    "they often are duplicates, but others insist they aren't." – Kevin B Jul 7 '15 at 15:08

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