Currently, the (top) duplicate notification says

This question already has an answer here:

and links to the "original" question. I find this, at least, misleading, considering we (at least in RPG.se) close questions as duplicates if the questions are duplicates, not if "This question already has an answer somewhere else".

For me, the current wording implies that

  • If a question was already made and has no answers, it's fine to ask it again, instead of giving a bounty.
  • If Question (1) has a broader/more general answer than what was asked, Question (2) "already has an answer in Question (1)", even if the question themselves are different.

The second case seems frequent enough in RPG.se, where I'm a frequent user, specially from new users. I, myself, flagged wrongly two or three questions because a good answer for another question already answered that, before understanding better the actual concept of duplicate questions.

Should we (and, maybe more importantly, can we?) change it to something more accurate with our policies? My first thoughts were

This question was already asked here:

or, exactly as written in the Flag for duplicate and in the banner that explains why it was closed:

This question has been asked before and already has an answer here:

  • 4
    Do note that if the target question has no answers, the notice changes to "This question is an exact duplicate of". You don't see this very often because the system prevents normal users from closing questions as duplicates of unanswered questions; only moderators can do so (except on meta sites). Jun 7 '18 at 5:03
  • 1
    @SonictheInclusiveHedgehog That is a nice information that I was not aware of, indeed. Nonetheless, it does not change the fact that, when reading that notice, I would think that it's fine for me to open a new question, if the old one has no answers. I'm not completely sure about general policies, but a bounty seems more appropriate in that situation.
    – HellSaint
    Jun 7 '18 at 5:07

The reason that the notice is worded like that is because duplicate questions aren't always completely identical. In fact, sometimes they're a little bit different, but they can be answered with the same answer.

For example...

"Why did I get review-banned for approving everything?"

...already has answers at...

"What is robo-reviewing?"

The "close as duplicate" feature exists so we can keep all of the information about a topic in a consolidated place rather than spread out over multiple questions.

The degree of duplicate-ness that makes a question a duplicate varies from site-to-site. While "Is it 7 days make a week or 7 days makes a week?" could be considered a duplicate of "Is it 12 months make a year or 12 months makes a year?" on EL&U.SE, stuff like that doesn't happen on Interpersonal.SE.

  • 2
    This is especially true on meta sites, where the duplicate closing policy is much broader. Jun 26 '18 at 5:40
  • 3
    In the non-meta sites, two questions that can be answered by the same answer, but are still different questions, are not duplicates, though. At least for RPG.se, that's certainly our policy. Not sure if it's different in other sites from the network, but if it is not, the header is misleading.
    – HellSaint
    Jun 26 '18 at 5:45

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