An assertion that "several users told you that having more questions about the same topic is actually better" caught my eye as a point for meta discussion. My response was a few comments below but viewpoints from much higher-rep users indicate I'm wrong. The thread being discussed also demonstrates that in practice, opening a duplicate post is a better way to get attention and action on an issue (e.g. see useless originals and duplicates).

Given the capricious and conflicting nature of standards and instructions for asking questions in the SE network, I'd at least like to have a meta post to point to on this specific point to help avoid what I feel would be inevitable closure if I try to follow this new instruction. Therefore, I am asking this question.

Is it, in fact, better to open duplicates, and to leave duplicates open instead of officially/formally marking them as duplicates, for meta questions?

This is not intended to duplicate the broader How do I get attention for old, unfixed bug reports and feature requests without official responses here on Meta? or its duplicate How do I draw attention to a meta post? (itself open as of the asking of this question, later closed) but instead focus on the appropriateness of one specific strategy which might be an answer to that question.

  • @SonictheWizardWerehog The other point is that it's not worth it for me to invest effort in SE contributions, because the time & effort will go to waste. Others, able to do the same or very similar and have those contributions well-received, have it covered. The difference between how I and others are treated appear to follow capricous rules that are often unpredictable except for the correlation with past rep accumulation. Even this question, based on direct instruction from a high-rep user and practical observation, is quickly downvoted and closed as another waste of time for all involved.
    – WBT
    Apr 8, 2019 at 17:21
  • 2
    As meta questions go, this one is not at all heavily downvoted. Duplicates help others find the existing info, so it's not really a waste of time. There's an argument to be made for refreshing a discussion from years ago, though. I lean toward marking things as duplicates if they don't bring any new arguments to the table; I suspect others do the same.
    – fbueckert
    Apr 8, 2019 at 17:35
  • 1
    Well, we can't stop you from feeling that way. Curation is curation; maintaining quality is paramount, and it bleeds through to Meta discussions. I notice you don't mention the upvote you got; that's also important signal that you're discarding in favor of focusing on your, "I'm not welcome" point, which...doesn't really help your argument in any sense. At least one person found it useful, or agreed with your premise.
    – fbueckert
    Apr 8, 2019 at 17:57
  • Closure is still the key signal that the question isn't welcome, despite the question being backed by a high-rep user's claim that a "yes" on this question is well backed consensus from other high-rep users. Because this goes contrary to an apparently-consensus answer on another Meta question (and other signals) I thought there might be a need for specific, citeable on-point discussion, but I can see that idea's been rejected. The community just wants to let the conflicting rules and in-practice demonstrations stand without discussion or questioning.
    – WBT
    Apr 8, 2019 at 18:12
  • 3
    Like I said, we can't stop you from feeling that closure is unwelcoming, even though that's not a very fruitful perspective. Especially for duplicate closures. But if you want to construe that as unwelcoming, and use strawmen to ascribe community motivations...well, you can do that. It's wrong, but you can do that.
    – fbueckert
    Apr 8, 2019 at 18:15
  • @fbueckert A legitimate duplicate closure (would be somewhat ironic here), especially where OP just didn't know about the other question, seems helpful rather than unwelcoming. Downvotes on a Meta answer seem to say "I don't agree with this viewpoint" rather than be unwelcoming, especially when the answer seems to be inviting downvotes by clearly disagreeing with express viewpoints of others. However, a closure as duplicate of a question distinguished from in the body of the question being asked, accompanied by net downvotes, seems fairly interpreted as a signal that the question is unwelcome.
    – WBT
    Apr 8, 2019 at 18:19
  • 1
    "Favicon different from Earth Science?" Doesn't nail it IMO, so I agree with Sonic that the title failed to attract the right sort of attention it deserved. If you had said "indistinguishable" or "virtually identical" I am sure the question would have caught the eye of the "too long; didn't read" crowd. Better luck next time. Apr 8, 2019 at 19:20
  • I have seen far far far worse and egregious episodes of downvoting duplicates than this one. And if users disagree they won't hesitate to let you know. I have one question with -30 and it's not a duplicate :) One thing I would recommend though is to search through the archives and if you do find a similar question, reword your post so it cannot be closed as a duplicate. Secondly, keep your eyes open for new questions that you have also asked or posted answers to, and close them as duplicates. Apr 8, 2019 at 19:58
  • @Mari-LouA It's hard follow your second recommendation (close dupes as such), because the current enforced practice rule is that it's more effective to open duplicates and leave them open (e.g. see failed attempt); this question is closed to prevent on-point discussion. It's hard to follow the first (search and reword) because as shown here, it doesn't really matter if the question text distinguishes from related questions. The downvote-and-close response is arbitrary and in my recent experience likely, even when similar and/or related questions are well-received elsewhere on the same site.
    – WBT
    Apr 8, 2019 at 20:23
  • The enforced rule is a question that has received good upvoted answers should be the one that remains open. A question without answers, or with one or more answers that attracted downvotes or one or two upvotes should be closed as duplicate if better answers were posted on a very similar question regardless who was there first. Apr 8, 2019 at 20:57
  • See, this question wasn't closed as a duplicate of the much older (10 years) and more highly upvoted question. The beginning of the titles are identical BUT the two are not duplicates of each other. The newer question has a different angle, and I bet the OP worded the question in such a way as to avoid it being closed. It can be done. Apr 8, 2019 at 21:06
  • The enforced rule is a question that has received good upvoted answers should be the one that remains open. A question without answers...should be closed as duplicate. If that were true, it would seem this question, with no answers would have been closed as a duplicate of this one with multiple good answers. As described in the question, the in-practice enforced rule and explanation was the need to open a duplicate and quash attempts to mark it as such once the duplication was found.
    – WBT
    Apr 9, 2019 at 15:14

1 Answer 1


(Adapted from original response.)

No. If you find you have a duplicate question before asking, instead upvote the original, place a bounty on it, and/or add a clarifying comment/edit as appropriate. You can also try the other strategies noted in How do I draw attention to a meta post?.

If you find a duplicate, formally mark it as such. If you're not sure, flag it for the author's attention so they can clarify any distinction between the questions.

Having a lot of people and efforts organized around a single post is better than distributing the efforts and signals that people care across a larger number of duplicates.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .