After reading former SE co-founder Jeff Atwood's blog post Dr. Strangedupe I came to this problem. If I post a wonderful description about the features of a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro, do we want users to find this post easily with different search terms? For example, is it desirable to find this answer with
What is the first Chevrolet muscle car?
What was the pace car in the 1967 Daytona 500?
Did the Camaro ever have window vents?
What was the black car in Better Off Dead?
What was the Chevy II Nova frame based on?
These five questions may have the same answer, but certainly the site works better if there are 5 different ways to find a description of a 1967 camaro. Are more questions better? Shouldn't we reward users who improve the validity and usefulness of an answer rather than down-vote them?
Instead it appears SE policy stifles search engine effectiveness by reducing reputation when a presumed answer is already posted under a different question. Currently we treat search-engine augmenting questions as such:
OP presents a question.
An arbitrary user with 3K+ reputation guesses what the answer is then searches SE for it.
Using their judgement, they vote to close the OP question as duplicate and link the answered question (related or not) to it.
The OP begins receiving downvotes for the duplicate question and is denied reputation which answers and views would have brought.
The end result is that users who broaden the search terms which can arrive at a good answer are stigmatized and in fact punished with loss of reputation because a duplicate answer was confused with a duplicate question.
There is a logic to connecting certain questions which ask the same thing, but there is no logic to associating several uniquely asked questions together only because they happen to arrive at the same answer. This also hurts the site.
Someone tell me I am missing something, this is my experience.
HOW MANY DIFFERENT questions are ideal for any single answer?