I've seen users of various Stack Exchange sites marking a question as duplicate and even closing it. But new users may be unaware that their question already exists and also has an answer. If it were a user who has been on Stack Exchange for a sufficiently longer time, then it's fine. But shouldn't old users show concern for the new users and try to show directions before marking it as a duplicate?
And also shouldn't users provide the new ones chance and prevent down-voting if it is really not required?

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    Cheer up friend, one up-vote from me, because ironically for the type of the persons you mentioned, this could actually be a common question! :) Please also take a look at my answer!
    – AKL
    Commented May 24, 2019 at 14:27
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    I don't quite understand. What "directions" do you mean other than a direct link to the duplicate question that contains their answer? It's fine if they didn't find the duplicate themselves (and they aren't really supposed to get downvotes just for that), that's why the duplicate closure directly links to the existing question. It's not clear what else you expect there to be done in order to "give the users a chance". (Also, let's make sure and all repeat aloud in unison: "a duplicate closure is not a reprimand or an otherwise bad thing in any way!") Commented May 24, 2019 at 16:40
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    Offering duplicate answers, if you know you are answering a question already asked is wrong for a number of reasons. The "duplicate question" close reason exists for a reason, one of which is to keep duplicators of former answers from duplicating their former answers. If you find you have answered a question, only later marked as a dupe, of which you, as an answerer were unaware, and your answer differs significantly from any/all answers to the original question, then you are free to go to the original question and enter your "different" answer, though it may be an older question.
    – amWhy
    Commented May 24, 2019 at 19:43
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    I agree that new askers may be overwhelmed here. But veteran answerers should know better. When they answer a question they should know to be a duplicate I have no tools to fight them other than to delete the whole thing. Commented Dec 7, 2019 at 4:34
  • @JyrkiLahtonen Yeah! Thanks, I understood.
    – 19aksh
    Commented Dec 9, 2019 at 2:07

3 Answers 3


But shouldn't old users show concern for the new users and try to show directions before marking it as a duplicate?

That's exactly what duplicates are doing: showing users that a question has already been asked before and directing them to the original question. There's even special functionality where anonymous users are automatically forwarded to the original when they visit the duplicate (e.g. via a Google search).

Now we do expect some research from users (old and new alike), either via Google, Stack Exchange's own search functionality or the "Questions that may already have your answer" list which appears when asking a question. A duplicate question which clearly lacks research can be downvoted as well, but being a duplicate does not automatically warrant a downvote.

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    @ak19 People get tired of being asked to be web search proxies and do something that they think the OP could have done if only they had bothered to do so. Commented May 24, 2019 at 9:11
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    @Ak19 and even questions that show the user did research before posting, and the older question, which is said to be the original but did not specifically address the user's main point, can still be downvoted. Commented May 24, 2019 at 9:51
  • Yeah I agree with you.
    – 19aksh
    Commented May 24, 2019 at 9:55

Also please note, putting a question on hold or marking it as a duplicate has other benefits for the person who asked/posted it too.
One being giving them the chance of deleting their posts, there for avoiding any reputation loss as a result, before any (up-vote-able) answer is posted.
Why can't you delete duplicate questions with answers?


There's a lot of questions - and its pretty rare that someone's going to always remember that there's another question that covers the same ground and goes looking for it.

Answering the question brings value to the OP - they are looking for an answer. The dupe closure brings value to others who find the duped question.

Posting a dupe is not always a bad thing. It could be but in most cases people are not actively hunting for dupes - they just come across them.

Dupes are helpful too since they provide a broader set of googlable terms.

While content curation is important - we're also generating content for people to find. Dupe closures help consolidate knowledge

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    But, as on Math.se, there are too many answerers who repeatedly post "verbatim" answers to questions they've (themselves) already answered, and hence recognize, time and again, occasionally copying and pasting from their former answers to the same question, instead of closing the question as a dupe, as they ought to do, so aiding and abetting in the flooding a site with both many-times-duplicated questions, and many-times-replicated answers. This serves little in the way of "consolidating knowledge".
    – amWhy
    Commented May 24, 2019 at 19:34
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    Note that the OP of this question is most active on math.se.
    – amWhy
    Commented May 24, 2019 at 19:37

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