Judging by the score, it seems a sizable number of users appear to disagree with the request. The downvotes don't bother me, they don't, but I would like to be sure that everyone is on the same page and some users are not downvoting this as a knee jerk reaction.
Duplicate on-topic questions whose titles differ substantially from the original should be preserved even if no answer is posted. Why? Because it will stop future duplicates. How? 1. It will appear in the similar questions window. For example,
Note that the first result is quite helpful, if nothing else its title tells me that my question has been asked before. It is not the official response, but I'll be motivated to read that post.
- Downvoting an unanswered duplicate post whose title is significantly unique, means condemning it to deletion.
On MSE there are hundreds of duplicate questions with scores lower than -20 and yet they will never be deleted by the system because they have one or more upvoted answers. See the screenshot above for an example.
In fact, here is the first similar question that the system provided in the box:
why don't add a comment when downvoting?. It has a score of -8 but as it has an upvoted answer, the question will not be deleted. Did it stop me from posting a very similar = identical question? Yes, it did!. Of course we are all aware that AI is not infallible, and some users will stubbornly ignore the list of similar questions but not everyone. Some users will find their answer and either not post a dupe or come up with ways to argue why the official response does not answer their query, which in turn will make the question more useful and helpful.
Back in September 2014, the following was posted: Turn off the roomba for child meta sites. The accepted and only answer posted, explained why this was not such a great request
There are a seemingly-endless number of bad ideas; we don't really need to archive them.
Of course... If someone writes up a really good explanation for why an idea is bad, that can be worth keeping around.
So if you see a meta question you don't want lost, write a good answer to it.
@shog9 ( Dec 5 '14)
I would argue there is one exception that should be made. Unanswered questions that are duplicates.
It's my understanding that these posts can be deleted even when the correct answer supplied is closing it as a duplicate of an older, usually highly upvoted, question.
(Note that abandoned questions that are duplicate targets are still subject to automatic deletion by the Community user if any of the criteria apply.) Source
There's an advantage in protecting dupes from deletion when their titles are significantly different from the older question. Take for example the recently closed question
- "Could someone help me understand why I can't post on Stack Overflow?"
The title above is vastly different from the original older post, which is the site's official response. Yesterday, if you typed the key words why "can't I post" using the site's search box, you would not have found the original question.
Nonetheless, it's easy to see why veteran users would downvote the former; the request has been asked many times before, the OP doesn't seem to have done any research, and the original probably shows up in the sidebar. However, downvoting a duplicate into oblivion is detrimental to the health of the entire network for two main reasons.
First, it leaves a nasty impression of the community. It suggests that its most valuable members hold a painfully low opinion of the querent ("..., reposts of the same question by the same user? Sure, why not. Punish the wicked, I say." as one user said). It informs the OP that experienced users view them as time wasters and/or slackers, if not worse. Secondly, but equally as important, protecting a dupe from deletion will stop future duplicates.
In Defense of Dupes
only off-topic or unintelligible questions should be deleted; duplicates are quite useful to keep around. @mmyers (Dec 8 '09)
Leave duplicate questions that are significantly different in wording. @Shog9♦ (Dec 8 '09)
"There’s often benefit to having multiple subtle variants of a question around, as people tend to ask and search using completely different words, and the better our coverage, the better odds people can find the answer they’re looking for." [...] "Having one “perfect” form of a question that contains every possible answer to every slight variation of that question is a myth at best and actively harmful at worst." @JeffAtwood (November 16, 2010)
Duplicate questions are not necessarily bad; different descriptions of the same problem help future visitors to find the answers they're looking for.
Try to remember that beginners are still learning terminology, and even the simplest of answers might be eluding them simply because they did not know what to search for. There could also be language barriers at play. Tim Post♦ (Aug 14 '18)
Downvoting to oblivion duplicate Qs does nothing to help dispel the urban myth [Stack Overflow's poor reputation] @Mari-Lou A (July 26 '19) source
When should a duplicate be deleted?
There is a duplicate post with a score of -80. Objectively, it is a hugely unpopular Feature Request, it has been soundly rejected by the community. It survives by virtue of it receiving five answers. Let's compare its title with the older canonical title.
- Anti-Badges for trolling/ridiculous behavior [duplicate] (-80)
- temporal Anti-badges with negative side effects to discourage bad behaviour (-16)
The only significant term that the duplicate question has over the original is "trolling" other than that it is a perfect duplicate.
- I propose that heavily downvoted questions or requests with almost IDENTICAL titles to that of older posts should continue to be closed as duplicates and then deleted. If there are any answers posted, these can be migrated to the older question.
Comments below have alerted me that some users believe this request is extended to every site on the network. It could well do, but initially I was thinking of child meta sites and in particular, MSE (Meta), hence that first link. Apologies for any possible confusion created.
Do not delete good duplicates!
Do people downvote duplicates?
How should duplicate questions be handled?
Should we downvote duplicates?
Should I downvote a duplicate question?
Why are heavily downvoted questions not deleted? (my explanation: because the answers posted were upvoted.)
Duplicate question etiquette: to delete or not to delete?
Dr. Strangedupe: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love Duplication
Why do users downvote duplicates, but not origins?
People MUST be rewarded for finding duplicates An interesting post, well worth the read, that currently has a score of 202.