I'm a bit confused really. I noticed if said question is similar to another, mind you I'm saying similar, people mark it as "Exact Duplicate". I'm confused, so I ask: in as much detail as humanly possible, what's the policy on marking questions as duplicates? Or asking features as duplicates? or asking a question about something similar to another question?

It seems that when a user posts a similar question but asks it in a completely different way, the question and answers should be linked. However if someone asks a similar question but asks for more detail, or more information than a previous question has supplied that either its a valid question, or a "Jump-Off" question.

However, I do think it is rather silly to link similar questions by their title. Especially when pertaining to asking a feature. One feature may be declined for a reason the new proposal solves. Makes sense. Anyone participating in Meta has made a conscious choice to share their opinion and each opinion should be valued. If it's in Meta, there is a reason someone is asking for it. I want to know the policy to avoid any problems, before I get turned off for helping Stack Exchange in general.


3 Answers 3


Related: At what point does a question become a duplicate?

Without examples of what you're talking about it's hard to address this, but if you are referring to the actual "Linked" section on the right-hand side of a question, those questions are literally just the questions that have been linked in that post.

As far as asking similar questions, it's a bit of a gray area that's up to the discretion of the community. If a question is similar enough that the community feels that the same answers that apply to one will apply to the other, they will likely flag as a duplicate question and have it closed as an exact duplicate. One way to avoid this is to cut them off at the pass by pointing out that you've already read through question X and question Y (preferably linked) and state that your question is different in several key ways (and then list those ways).

  • Sounds helpful... a bit. I'm still greatly confused but I'm doing my research. Thanks!
    – JustinKaz
    Apr 22, 2011 at 18:12
  • Choose your answer because of the general approach and it will help other like users. Those like myself who are greatly confused on such policies.
    – JustinKaz
    Apr 25, 2011 at 12:27

Just to address this point:

One feature may be declined for a reason the new proposal solves.

Then you'd do well to make a note of that in the new proposal. Actually, any time you post something similar to an existing question/discussion/proposal, you're better off explicitly calling out the earlier posts, noting why yours is different, and how it addresses the problems or otherwise fails to be answered by the answers posted previously.

For instance, in this case the author would have done well to address concerns raised on previous proposals, namely: that multiple accepted answers reduces the motivation for authors to compete for the best, most comprehensive answer, and that the system already allows answers to be merged via editing (a feature which is now available to any user). By not doing so, the author of this proposal opened himself up to the very same criticisms, and this resulted in closing.


You should stop worrying and love dupes.. Only flag as dupe if exact dupe word for word, which indicates something else is going on. You can vote to close as dupe as much as you want. Just don't bother mods about it mkay?

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