3

If a question A is closed as unclear, it means that it is unknown what the asker meant. (Otherwise the question would have been edited rather than closed.)

If some question B is unclear (also if it's written similarly to A), it can be closed as unclear. If question B is clear, it is unknown whether B is a duplicate of A because it is unknown what question A means (see above).

So it should be impossible to mark a question B as a duplicate of an unclear-closed question A. Why is it possible?

Edit: If B is very similar to A, then closing it as unclear or as duplicate both is appropriate. The latter is easier/faster as explained in this comment. And this is a problem. Because if A and B are somewhat dissimilar, this creates an unnecessary dilemma of choosing either speed (closing as duplicate) or clean logic (closing as unclear).

Edit regarding possible duplicate of this question: I'm asking why an action that depending on the situation is either illogical or unnecessary is technically possible. The question you marked as duplicate of mine asks about formulations in the duplicate policy regarding "broad" and "narrow" questions. The other question marked as duplicate is about a bug in the vote calculation. These are all different questions!

  • 1
    Is this purely hypothetical or do you have any instances in mind? – We are Monica. Oct 24 at 11:50
  • @011358smell Any question can be closed as a duplicate of an unclear question. Here I ask why this is technically possible even though it contradicts logic. – root Oct 24 at 11:52
  • Some unclear questions, closed or not, have still good answer(s), which can be used to solve the problem in that clear question marked as the duplicate. Askers need answers, they rarely read other questions when searching an answer to their question and when they are already pointed to a specific post. – Teemu Oct 24 at 18:53
  • @Teemu-callmewhateveryouwant A way to point to relevant info like that is to include a link in a comment or in an answer. Not to mark the question as a duplicate of a question whose content is unclear. – root Oct 24 at 18:56
  • Say, I search for something at SO, I rarely read the questions, since I assume the title describes the question, and answers are related. I read the answers, and usually find a solution to my problem, without reading possibly unclear question. Additionally, I really like "marked as duplicate" questions, since following the dup chain often gives me more information and different aspects to the subject. – Teemu Oct 24 at 18:58
8

Probably because sometimes we can see that it's a duplicate, because it's literally a duplicate. Somebody found their question closed and just copied-pasted their text into a new question.

  • 1
    If it's literally a duplicate of an unclear question, why not close it as unclear rather than as duplicate? Is there an official order of preference of close-reasons, where? – root Oct 24 at 11:50
  • 7
    As a hammer wielder I'd say: I need 4 other people to close it as unclear and only my own vote to close it as duplicate. When it's obvious that it's just a copy/paste from the previous question, the I'll dupe-hammer it. Beats waiting for 4 others. – nvoigt Oct 24 at 11:55
  • The more dissimilar A and B are, the more the trade-off should tend to the "unclear" rather than "duplicate" vote. Your comment identifies a weakness of the system that pressures voters into this unnecessary trade-off between speed and clean logic. – root Oct 24 at 12:01
  • Is closing as unclear not more lickly to get them a question ban, and hence protect the site from them, therefore way not close as unclear? – Ian Ringrose Oct 24 at 12:22

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