Give an incentive for finding duplicate questions deals with various ways of rewarding the finding of duplicates, a tough and increasingly necessary janitorial task.

Here's a concrete suggestion:

  1. Reward the finder of a duplicate with +10 points if the question gets closed as a dupe. If multiple duplicates are found, reward all finders whose suggestion was voted for at least once by another user. (The limitation is to avoid gaming by making frivolous suggestions when it's obvious that a question is going to get closed as a duplicate.)

  2. Reward each following closevoter who picks one of the previously suggested dupes with +2 points if the question gets closed.

  3. Punish everyone involved (dupe-finders and dupe-voters) with -5 points, and revoke all rep gained from the dupe-voting, if a question closed as duplicate gets reopened.

A punishment for mis-voting is going to be controversial but in my eyes, it is absolutely essential. Finding a good dupe is a work of love: You need to make sure you understand the OP's question, and you need to scan every potential duplicate for whether it really contains an answer that will help the OP. Everyone dupe-votes carelessly from time to time, so the threat of punishment needs to be present to keep everyone on their toes, just as the threat of downvoting does when you post an answer.

If you think +10 is too high a reward: Consider that finding a duplicate can often be more work than writing an answer, and a correct answer usually nets you at least 10 points, if not much more.

If you think -5 is too much of a punishment: -2 might work as well, although I really think there should be a harsh punishment on an unfair dupe-closing.

  • 30
    That would imply that editing a question to make it more specific (and hence no longer a duplicate), followed by reopening might get others a (little) punishment. Not sure if that happens a lot, if at all, though.
    – Arjan
    Commented May 10, 2011 at 11:12
  • 3
    @Arjan good point; that does happen from time to time, but not often enough to be a problem in my experience. It's like when you correctly answer a question, the OP edits it to say something else, and you get a downvote because your answer is now wrong. It's terribly unfair, but happens very rarely.
    – Pekka
    Commented May 10, 2011 at 11:14
  • 43
    4. -100 rep if you flag it as dupe and it doesn't get closed by the community in ten seconds.
    – user1228
    Commented May 10, 2011 at 13:46
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    @Will I think "punish everyone involved" is cruel enough. Because it refers to everyone - including people who just looked at the question, or saw it on their front page. Muahahahahahaha!
    – Pekka
    Commented May 10, 2011 at 13:52
  • 7
    Call me a contrarian, but are duplicates really such a major problem that finding them needs to be incentivized? blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/11/…
    – user102937
    Commented May 10, 2011 at 15:02
  • 39
    @Robert they absolutely are. Some questions have literally dozens or hundreds of duplicates with answers of extremely varying quality. That can't be healthy even by the relaxed standards established in that blog post.
    – Pekka
    Commented May 10, 2011 at 15:17
  • 5
    Your example requires a writeup question that covers all of the basic PHP date formatting issues (I forget what they call it, a General Reference question, I think). All of the other dupes can then be closed as a duplicate of the reference question. Otherwise, I suspect that many of those dupes are slightly different scenarios, and therefore not dupes at all. Remember, a dupe has to be almost identical to the original question to be considered an actual dupe.
    – user102937
    Commented May 10, 2011 at 15:47
  • 11
    I do think giving away rep is now the only way to solve certain problems. It is my impression that the 10K+ users are getting bored with the tools, and they have become less effective at weeding out the marginal questions and answers. Many of the "meh" questions simply do not get enough views to achieve close velocity.
    – user102937
    Commented May 10, 2011 at 15:53
  • 4
    I don't see the punishment as being a big enough risk. There are already too many duplicates being closed when they aren't really and reopening almost never happens. I like the idea if that issue could be solved (the problem of encouraging sloppy dupe finding)
    – Nicole
    Commented May 10, 2011 at 15:55
  • 8
    @Renesis Good point, but I think it's likely that if dupe-voting starts paying off reputation, there will be much closer scrutiny from the community on whether a closing was justified, and an increased motivation to vote to reopen if people spot a sloppy closing.
    – Pekka
    Commented May 11, 2011 at 22:06
  • 7
    @Josh the bounty is merely for raising awareness for the question. Rep is more or less irrelevant here on Meta, people will frequently spend it on bounties just to get a discussion going. I will award it to whoever agrees with me in the most eloquent way ;) (... or makes the best argument against, of course.)
    – Pekka
    Commented May 13, 2011 at 19:06
  • 9
    Since I'm a big fan of this idea, I thought a bounty might help bring in a few supporters. Maybe Jeff will be tempted by the 500 rep points and will actually implement this :).
    – alex
    Commented May 19, 2011 at 16:39
  • 4
    @NullUser I don't think unjustified closings as duplicate are a rampant problem - I'm happy to be convinced by evidence to the contrary but I don't think there is any. Also, closings that get reverted (either by a mod, or the community) would punish everyone by -2 which should be a pretty strong deterrent to most people. Look how many people refused to downvote stuff because it cost -1.
    – Pekka
    Commented Sep 28, 2011 at 19:22
  • 6
    @Pekka: Kevin Montrose and Nick Larsen commented on this in a discussion on Hacker News, FYI.
    – Jeremy
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 6:16
  • 12
    You know, it would be nice if the team would at least show the courtesy discussing stuff like that in the actual Meta question.
    – Pekka
    Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 0:48

12 Answers 12


Finding a duplicate (especially if it's an old one) can be hard. But if one is found, the other votes are a lot easier. So it's probably better to only reward the first voter and only if the question is closed. For example:

  1. First closing a question that is less than 48 hours old, should receive a small award (+1).
  2. First closing a question that is older (requires more detective work), should receive a bigger award (+5).

This way you reward the actual work.

  • 5
    Maybe even get rid of 1). You can post anything as a dupe and get a point. Then modify 2), to only get a reward if other vote for your dupe and it gets closed.
    – jzd
    Commented May 10, 2011 at 11:04
  • 3
    The first paragraph is an interesting idea. One counter-argument would be that voting (as opposed to finding) on a dupe suggestion is supposed to be work, as you're supposed to verify its correctness. People often vote without verifying at the moment, but the punishment might keep them from doing that. I'm not sure about the age thing though - I don't see why finding a dupe for an older question is necessarily harder than for a young one
    – Pekka
    Commented May 10, 2011 at 11:09
  • 5
    @Pekka's other trolling account, most young duplicate questions are closed while still on the front page. If they disappear from the front page the likelihood to being closed is rapidly decreasing. 48 hours is just an arbitrary time slot just to filter out the easy ones. Commented May 10, 2011 at 11:26
  • 1
    but editing or community bumping will bring them to the top again. I agree that most dupes are closed quickly, but I don't think that should be rewarded less than older ones. Rewarding that specifically would be something for a conscious effort to clean up the existing question base, which might be a good thing but is something separate IMO
    – Pekka
    Commented May 10, 2011 at 11:42
  • 6
    If the old dupe is really hard to find, it's probably really badly worded/tagged and people trying to find the answer won't see it anyway. What if the new question is better and brings more googlers to SO?
    – Flash
    Commented Jun 9, 2011 at 12:41

This has been shot down before IIRC. But it's discussion-worthy in light of all the feature and moderation enhancements over the years. (And the more recent dupehammer of course).

Problems I see with it:

  • Unfairly benefits users which already have >3000 rep over newcomers.
  • The moderation system and reputation feature should stay separate (that was the conclusion from the previous discussions).
  • The interpretation of exact duplicateness is susceptible to moon phases. (And for vague questions only the OP can ever conclude if a duplicate really fits. Or throw a fit if it doesn't.)
  • Being able to propose one's own answers as duplicates is both a recipe for abuse to rep addicts, or worse yet: a deterrent for modest posters.

I believe the potential reward and the penalties are too low in any case. It would certainly spur more closevoting, but won't fix the problems of our nightshift. (Also: not all duplicates are bad duplicates.)

  1. If awarded automatically

    However such a feature change would never go back in the bottle. If implemented, then it should really be slowly. The rewards should be minuscule for a start. Yes! Why not use floats for our virtual internet money? Let a closevote trade for e.g. +0.25 at the NY StackExchange.

  2. Flag-Weight (not a thing anymore, or is it?)

    Obsolete counter-proposal: Keep the reputation system and moderation separated. Instead of rewarding with score, benefit closevoters with flag weight. People are still obsessed with that, right? So give them +1 flag weight for correct closevotes. That's a proper moderation feature after all. And someone who correctly closevotes most of the time will also have a higher probability of correctly flagging. The benefit here is coming closer to obtain the badge thingy that's available (?) for high flag weight.

  3. Upvoting DCs

    Now some time has passed. Changed my mind. Automatisms aren't always workable.

    If we want to reward helpful duplicate suggestions, then it'll likely only work out if it was implemented as UI gimmick.

    • Introduce a subtle ▲ button in the "marked as duplicate by …" box.
    • Next to each user that proposed a link.
    • Hand out a few points (+2 or +0.5 whenever clicked.)
    • Exempt highly/well-known duplicates from being eligible though. To encourage suggesting case-specific or harder-to-find and most-exact duplicates.
    • Let every voting-eligible user have like, dunno, 10 such votes per day. (Not deducted from regular Q&A votes.)

    Putting just a few such rules into place kinda makes penalties redundant, I'd say. And if it's not automatic, the democratic community will is gonna sort it out.

  • 3
    I don't know if boosting flag weight is that great of an incentive, because you can easily max that out as a high reputation user by running some simple queries and flagging the non-answers. Once you hit a 750 flag weight, there's no longer any incentive to keep going, unless you're doing this just to keep things clean (putting us back to where we are now). Commented May 10, 2011 at 17:00
  • That's probably true. (Haven't kept up with the topic, and not seen anyone demand flag-weight graphs on meta yet). If it's maxed out already for the proactive flaggers, then this idea would require more featuritis to provide any incentive: Allow the flag weight to grow beyond 750. But only via closevote +1 points. (I'm assuming people go crazy over aquiring shiny f-w.)
    – mario
    Commented May 10, 2011 at 17:39
  • 5
    This hasn't been shot down before, it's just been casually ignored.
    – Aarobot
    Commented May 24, 2011 at 20:47
  • 22
    I find that argument about closers being repwhores odd. I could easily have 20k more by now if I would simply ignore closevoting and just answer those dups. From my experience, people rarely upvote the close reasons. Maybe 1 in 10.
    – Gordon
    Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 13:19
  • Hasn't flag weight been killed off? Commented Sep 23, 2012 at 23:07
  • I see far, far too many questions closed as dups because they involve the same general issue as some other question, but the question that it's marked a dup of does not actually tell the OP how to solve their specific situation. Personally, I don't want to encourage more dup marking. the #1 goal of the site should be helping users get answers to questions. Minimizing dups in the repository should be a lower priority than getting people really good answers. So, we should not encourage more dup marking at any sacrifice in helping get great answers to the question asked.
    – jfriend00
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 2:21
  • @jfriend00: Of course that also happens. However, if they're low-research and somewhat unspecific inquiries, then duplicate-closing with a broad reference answer is often more helpful still (than just "too broad" or "unclear" closing). And btw, everyone who closevotes can also reopen questions. It just happens less quickly, because detailing edits are also rare. (But I'll admit, I'm more cautious with reopen votes, and even more contritely ever use the goldhammer for reopening.)
    – mario
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 2:55
  • @mario - I think you missed my point. I'm saying that questions get closed as dups when the dup does not provide enough specific info for the user to actually solve their own problem. So, a user's legitimate question has been whacked closed, but the user didn't get their problem solved. That's a bad thing. IMO, that means that question should remain open and attract its own, more specific answer. So, I'm seeing too many questions closed as dups, not too few. I don't want to make more questions get closed as dups by offering rep points for doing it.
    – jfriend00
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 2:59
  • @jfriend00 I think I got what you mean. Not disputing this. It's hard to discuss generalized though. (There surely are enough examples, of course). But anyway, closevoting is IMO easy to avert by showcasing/citing similar questions right away, and explaining what makes a more complex question different. That an asker wants his personal coding issues solved (bugfix questions), or needs a personalized reexplanation, I often find insufficient grounds to dispute dupe-closing. (But perhaps I'm concentrating too much on the tag ghetto I frequent.)
    – mario
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 3:12
  • I often think it comes down to what you prioritize higher (and I'd like to see an official StackOverflow statement on this) - 1) making sure the OP gets an answer that is specific enough to their situation that they can apply it and solve their problem and derive that immediate benefit from SO or 2) trying to keep the historic repository of questions as free from questions that discuss the same general topic even when the second question is not specifically answered by the first question's answers. I guess I should raise this when I next see an example.
    – jfriend00
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 3:17
  • "Being able to propose one's own answers as duplicates is both a recipe for abuse to rep addicts" ... People can already propose their own answers as duplicates. (I admittedly am guilty of that, although not as an attempt to gain rep.) I don't see how this proposal would make that substantially worse.
    – jamesdlin
    Commented Aug 21, 2021 at 12:11
  • Additionally, in a mature system where all common questions are already answered, it's hard for newcomers to gain reputation, which also unfairly benefits established players. Therefore I'd argue that a system that rewards finding duplicates would slightly help level the playing field (particularly if anyone were allowed to propose duplicates).
    – jamesdlin
    Commented Aug 21, 2021 at 12:22

I do not vote to close a question for any reward. I do it because duplicate questions are annoying. Reducing the clutter is enough reward to me, but perhaps it's not for others. I would say it's worth trying it and see what the results are.

The main issue I believe are the scattered answers on all those dupes.

To prevent duplicate answers on duplicate questions, what about punishing those who answer the duplicates even when the "possible duplicate of..." comment is there?

An example is this question: How to delete entry and video file in a listview file browser?. I marked as a dupe of this one: How to delete entries and video files in a listview file browser?, which is an exact copy from the same unregistered user. If you see my comment, I even asked the user to not to post duplicate questions. It can't be more obvious to anyone reading the question. Regardless, this user posted an answer there. I do believe this is the kind of behaviour that should be discouraged. Now, since it's already marked as answered, nobody will take the time to check and vote it (I even flagged it for mod attention).

A possibility is yet another annoying orange popup when you post an answer if the question has been voted or flagged as a dupe.

  • 8
    This is an interesting suggestion, if, as you say, the answerer gets informed that a dupe has been found. I like it; however, the reputation system has done so much good for the site, I'm thinking it would be worth leveraging for the finding of dupes as well. I close-vote dupes for the same reason you do, but one does get tired of it - so why not incentivize it? Anyway, what you suggest would have a similar effect, I would support it.
    – Pekka
    Commented May 14, 2011 at 21:31
  • 4
    @Pekka yes, I would propose that as a complement of your suggestion. As I'm learning now, not everybody is interested: Did you see the response to my comment in the answer? The user "does not have time" to check if it's a dupe. Anyway, as I said above, I think it's worth trying it, maybe some rep will help in this. I would suggest putting a limit, though (i.e., no more than 30 rep daily or so, to avoid overuse of it).
    – Aleadam
    Commented May 14, 2011 at 21:36
  • Just had to update that there are a few more duplicates of that question...
    – M. Tibbits
    Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 1:28
  • 3
    Discouraging posting answers to dupes is fine, but penalizing the answerer is harsh, and may permanently disourage a relatively new user from ever posting again. An alternative would be to just not reward the answer any rep regardless of upvotes. But this should only apply if the suggested dupe is corroborated by the actual eventual closure of the question. Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 18:12

I wouldn't suggest putting reputation on finding duplicates.

I could just track the new questions stream, quickly check for duplicates and thus award myself reputation...

An alternative though is to introduce a new sort of moderation reputation, loose from Q&A reputation.

It shows how much people are interested in moderating the site, we could house the following things in it.


  • Asked/answered a meta question (+1)
  • Accepted question on the meta (+2)


  • Editing questions (+1)
  • Edit gets rolled back (-1)


  • Closing questions (+2)
  • Closed questions gets reopened (-1)


  • A flag was good (+1)
  • A flag was bad (-1)

Tag wikis:

  • Edit on a tag wiki (+1)
  • Rollback on a tag wiki (-1)

This is of course merely an idea, this might need to be worked out so the scoring is right.

a tough and increasingly necessary janitorial task

You might be interested in my script Duplicate Question Suggestion Boxes which makes this more easy.

An example of its effectiveness, where otherwise the link would be hidden somewhere in the side bar:

Of course, we can't enable this for all users.

  • 9
    Re your edit, I don't think your counter-argument holds: Closing new questions as duplicate is exactly what the rep gain would try to encourage. Consider the alternative - answering each duplicate, gaining lots more reputation but adding clutter to the site.
    – Pekka
    Commented May 14, 2011 at 13:47
  • 7
    But I find the idea of "moderation" reputation very interesting.
    – Pekka
    Commented May 14, 2011 at 13:48
  • 1
    @Pekka: Still, I consider it a bad idea being able to use close votes to increase my reputation. It's still easier to find a duplicate than it is to give an answer on something I don't know much about... And why solely for duplicates, there are other types of questions that could escape the eye from the close hammer. We also have to take caution that we don't start to close too much questions that are not a duplicate because the user his question slightly differs... Commented May 14, 2011 at 13:59
  • 9
    @TomWij: Often it's a lot easier to give a simple answer and get a few upvotes than to find a dupe! Commented May 17, 2011 at 12:50
  • 1
    btw, I've mentioned this before but worth repeating, I can't thank @TomWij enough for this script - it's helped me pick & close dupes by the dozens Commented May 19, 2011 at 16:34
  • "closed question gets reopened (-1)" - I don't think it's as simple as that. For example an edit could happen (possibly weeks or months after the close) that does deserve a reopen, but doesn't equally imply the close was wrong.
    – Flexo
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 15:44
  • 2
    @awoodland: "This is of course merely an idea, this might need to be worked out so the scoring is right." implies that they would create a new meta question to discuss that when it gets implemented, or carefully work it out by themselves. The scoring here are to give an idea, they don't have to be correct in this form... Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 16:10
  • everybody wins, you get useless piece of bytes (+2 rep), SO gets saves some bytes by preventing new answers, the OP sees lots of answers that have already voted intensely instantaneously, you save the time of innocent people working on an answer
    – ajax333221
    Commented Apr 29, 2012 at 2:50
  • 1
    the idea of "moderation" reputation should be created as a separate "feature request" Commented Jun 9, 2013 at 17:56

Data collection

A list of questions I've seen in the past few weeks in which users with close vote privileges answered (what seem to be) fairly obvious dupes rather than voting to close. CW so that others can add to the list (these are mostly in my "home" tags).

I'm not trying to specifically call out any of the 3k+ users who answered. I think that there may be other valid reasons besides "lust for rep" that made any one of them choose to answer, such as "lust to help out". This is just to help with the analysis of this question.

  • 4
    This really needs fixing. At my rep level (~400) it can be tough to find questions that haven't already been answered, so +3k users that can close a question but leave an answer, giving him a monopoly on upvotes, is really bad. They need to either protect the question or make their answer a community wiki answer so they cannot abuse this. Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 15:55

3) Punish everyone involved (dupe-finders and dupe-voters) with -5 points, and revoke all rep gained from the dupe-voting, if a question closed as duplicate gets reopened.

This makes it unworkable, IMHO. As you note,

Everyone dupe-votes carelessly from time to time,

Yeah, everyone makes mistakes. Heck, you can turn out to be wrong even when you put careful thought into closing, simply because the asker didn't quite express the problem correctly the first time around and returned to clarify after seeing the duplicate you proposed in good faith...

...Fortunately, questions can be re-opened when closed incorrectly. The last thing we should be doing is discouraging folks from fixing mistakes. And such a penalty would do exactly that.

so the threat of punishment needs to be present to keep everyone on their toes, just as the threat of downvoting does when you post an answer.

Well, you're probably right - this would be a quick (and terribly destructive) way to get some easy rep if there was no cost to it. But I don't think linking the reputation system to the process of question curation will do much to improve the results, with or without penalties. Keep in mind, you can already get reputation by voting to close duplicates... If you answered the original.

I think the solution here lies in tying dup-finding and answering closer together somehow. See: Revamping the Duplicate question System

  • Fair enough, I can accept your arguments, even though I think it would be worth a try - and it would be possible to introduce a painless "reopen without hurting the closers" option for the kind of good faith closings you describe. Anyway. Is what Waffles suggests actively on the team's plate in some way? Because my feeling is something needs to happen here. I'm getting really tired of the endless stream of dupes (and that's even though I'm not "playing the SO game" in any serious way currently!) and I'm not the only one.
    – Pekka
    Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 22:33
  • *(what Waffles suggests and especially what you suggested in reply)
    – Pekka
    Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 22:39
  • 2
    Nothing is in active development there, but those suggestions probably have the least opposition (which isn't to say they're wildly popular, but everything has to start somewhere).
    – Shog9
    Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 22:40

Imho, the main part of the problem is finding a dup question on SO. There's absolutely no point in rewarding/punishing for finding/posting dups if it's hard to find dups in the first place.

I mean seriously, the Search functionality is inadequate to say the least... You're invariably better off searching from Google directly. A newcomer might not necessarily think of doing so -- and even more experienced users might not do so either.

It's like, either you've hung out around enough to have a vague idea of what the dup might be, or you don't bother looking because doing so and finding something relevant breaks down to sheer luck.

Maybe add the option to search SO using Google (site:stackoverflow.com [search terms])? It will yield more relevant results than the current search tools in almost every case.

Maybe leverage Yahoo!'s (or Google's?) content analysis web service to find related content on SO as one types his question or before it gets published?


There was recently some discussion about reputation awarded from questions and some ideas about limiting maximum reputation received by asking questions. So why to introduce another source of reputation?

If you want to make some award for good Close as duplicate calls, create some badges. Many badges are already dependent on the reputation (you cannot upvote if you don't have 15, you cannot downvote if you don't have 125, etc.). To avoid close as duplicate rushing I would introduce some penalty for wrong close calls - let say if you have several bad calls within short period of time you will temporary loose this ability.

Btw. another point for discussion is how to motivate users to upvote linked question / answers. Many users tend to upvote only new answers or answers on their own questions.

Edit: Actually when I think about this little bit more, removing reputation for wrong close as duplicate calls is not a bad idea. Reputation gave as some moderators privileges so if we used them incorrectly there can be some penalty.


There's a corollary to this.

The suggestion is to reward people for finding (correct) duplicates. However, as Josh Caswell noted there are plenty of users, with enough reputation to close a question, who'll answer questions and not bother to find the duplicate. This suggestion does absolutely nothing to address that.

Anyone can easily get 20-30 rep (add another 15 if the user is nice enough to accept) by answering a question that they know should be a duplicate of another. If the goal of participation is reputation a measly 10 rep for doing the decent thing and trying to keep the site clean doesn't stack up1 against the potential gain for an answer.

Effectively, you're trying to reward doing good when most of those involved know that they can obtain a greater reward by being "bad".

Before I continue I think it's very important to note that any suggestion should not detract from each sites main purpose. That is, to make it easy for people on the internets to gain a good, quick, answer to their question. I'm not entirely certain that the following proposal sticks to this purpose absolutely.

Counter Proposal:

I recognise that this might seem a little harsh but something has to be done to stop the larger sites (Stack Overflow in particular) from drowning in a sea of questions.

Rather than trying to reward good why not try to game the system so that people are less likely to do bad? I'm defining bad as asking or answering a duplicate question rather than tracking down the original and voting to close.

Any user who asks or answers a question that subsequently gets closed as a duplicate gets 0 reputation for their post. In order to stop this being too harsh I would add a couple of caveats:

  1. You still get reputation for your answer being accepted. This reduces the risk that people will stop answering obvious duplicates completely.
  2. There should be a time-limit, something reasonable, for instance 30 days. This means that a someone who posts a perfectly decent question or answer won't get punished a year later when the question subsequently gets closed as a duplicate..
  3. It doesn't matter if the reputation gain was limited to some other arbitrary (small) number. The point is to partially disincentivise answering dupes.

I doubt the askers care anywhere near as much but it's unfair to punish the answerers alone when the askers are identically at fault.

The obvious problem with this is that all closing as a duplicate might stop instantly. I doubt it as there will always be some decent people around. However, when combined with an incentive, for instance 5 or 10 reputation for being the first to find a duplicate (as per the feature request) you raise the spectre of the dupe finders being rewarded more than the answerers. That should make finding duplicates more attractive.

There's also the darker side of human nature that can be brought into play. You create the perverse incentive to find the duplicate to stop the person who got there just before you from getting 50 rep for answering an easy question. It's not pretty but I can see it happening. Thinking about it, and because of this, maybe it should be 10 rep and not 0. You don't necessarily want the duplicate finder to be rewarded more than the answerer and it'll stop some of the extra nasty stuff.

1. Forgive the pun.

  • You make a good point about "the greater good," but I'm concerned that this unfairly punishes people at my rep level. If I want to gain rep, I have to find a question that I can answer, and I have to submit that answer fast. I have high quality answers that don't get as many upvotes because someone else got to it first. Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 15:35

I think your rewards are too high, also the punishment is quite high. But both ideas are quite reasonable. A lot of questions by newbies are closed very quickly, even if they aren't really exact duplicates as it is a requirement by the stack exchange sites.

So this might give an incentive to think again if a newbie might just rephrase his question to keep it from being closed...

  • 5
    Re rewards being too high: Consider that finding a duplicate can often be more work than writing an answer, and a correct answer often nets you 20-80 points.
    – Pekka
    Commented May 10, 2011 at 11:41
  • Maybe you're right... It's hard to say, I usually vote for closing obviously duplicate questions, because they're so trivial, it is very likely they had been asked before.
    – Lukas Eder
    Commented May 10, 2011 at 11:44
  • Yeah. But I do agree that -5 may be too harsh a punishment.
    – Pekka
    Commented May 10, 2011 at 12:11

I think the idea of mixing rep with moderation is a bit iffy.

However, if this is implemented:

  • What to do about the granted rewards if the question is subsequenty reopened? Do you revoke those points?
  • Do the reopen voters get rewarded if the question is reopened?
  • Are more rewards granted/revoked if the question is closed again?

It gets messy, so I'd suggest keeping it as simple as possible.

  • Only reward the initial finder of the dupe if and when the question is closed.
  • Revoke the reward if the question is reopened.
  • Rinse lather and repeat for all subsequent close/reopens.

What about:

  • The reward for finding a duplicate is 10 plus all the rep gained on answers to the closed question.

  • All rep gained on the closed questions and it’s answers are removed if the question is closed as a duplicate apart from a max of 2 up votes worth on the question.

  • 29
    The first bullet point encourages people to wait until a duplicate gets answers, then vote to close, rather than close before answers can accumulate. I'm not sure that's a wise move.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented May 10, 2011 at 15:25
  • @Grace, but if you wait then someone else may find the duplicate first...., however it does encourages lot of searching for duplicate of "hot" questions Commented May 10, 2011 at 15:38
  • 8
    Finding a dupe should never give you more rep than writing a very good answer. Do you propose any limit to the "10 plus all the rep gained on answers"?
    – Aleadam
    Commented May 14, 2011 at 19:49

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