Within the Stackoverflow community (and probably others) it has become common place for a question to be marked as a duplicate if it has the same or similar answer to another question.

Do people agree with this? In my opinion, the two questions should be compared to ascertain whether it's a duplicate, not the answers.

The duplicate question flag seems to have become more like a signposting/reference flag. If someone has a question, they are highly unlikely to search for the answer, they will search for the question. Is this not therefore promoting the wrong behaviour?

  • 1
    They search for the question, find it, follow the link to the duplicate, find many answers. What is wrong with that?
    – rene
    Commented Dec 30, 2017 at 14:45
  • There's a lot of history on Meta; it would behoove you to look at past discussions before posting.
    – jscs
    Commented Dec 30, 2017 at 14:56
  • @Josh 'behoove' is a nice old English word I haven't seen in a while! It ought to be used more often. (by the way, it appears in sixteen post on Meta, excluding comments)
    – hat
    Commented Dec 30, 2017 at 15:29
  • @JoshCaswell I politely disagree. Questions like this have answers which can change over time. I think it's absolute joke to mark this question as a duplicate to one posted over 5 years ago.
    – John Wheal
    Commented Dec 30, 2017 at 15:34
  • Fine, situations may change over time, but it's on you to educate yourself about the context and account for it in your post.
    – jscs
    Commented Dec 30, 2017 at 15:37
  • @rene I think that there's everything wrong with it. Being marked as a duplicate means "it's identical". This is incorrect. I would have no issue if you could flag a question as related.
    – John Wheal
    Commented Dec 30, 2017 at 15:41
  • 1
    In the language sense maybe, yes. But on SE we really mean that the answers could fit on either question, meaning that the answer you would find on the duplicate apply to the similar question. Why do you think it is better if similar answers are scattered across multiple questions?
    – rene
    Commented Dec 30, 2017 at 15:47
  • 1
    If a question has the same answer of an existing question with a question then it’s a duplicate.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Dec 30, 2017 at 18:45
  • @Whosays It's sort of a strange word to say to a person, given it looks like it's about animal feet, but, yeah, it does have its niche in which there's no better substitute.
    – jscs
    Commented Dec 31, 2017 at 15:07

1 Answer 1


No the duplicate is not being overused, most of the questions that are asked these days have answers to them, except when a new language or service is released.

When a similar question with like 5 answers already exists then its better to go and read the answers there instead of someone answering you the same thing.

Also its not overused, as for a question to be closed as a duplicate it needs 5 people to vote it as a duplicate (so its not like 1 person is choosing).

  • its not like 1 person is choosing ... but this doesn't hold for Gold tag badge holders. They have a binding duplicate close vote.
    – rene
    Commented Dec 30, 2017 at 15:49
  • yes I forgot that when posting, but still it takes someone 1k upvotes to get the gold badge, im pretty sure if someone has a gold badge he/she will be sure that it is a duplicate to a certain question Commented Dec 30, 2017 at 15:55
  • They are still human ...
    – rene
    Commented Dec 30, 2017 at 15:57
  • and thats why we have the reopen votes Commented Dec 30, 2017 at 15:58

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