I've seen this same question being answered over, and over and over. It seems I'm not the only one (see Matt Ball's comment there).

I've seen it get closed sometimes, and that is good, but most times it also gets closed as a duplicate of a question which is also a duplicate. Sometimes people just answer it quickly and badly in order to get easy rep.

This got me thinking that there must be something better we can do.

How about creating some "golden" questions/answers? These would be the definitive answer for these duplicates. I'm really not sure of how it would work, I'm thinking more of a FAQ-something page, were the details between the duplicates would be answered in the same place and everyone would know where to point the users to.

Instead of having 1000 duplicates (some closed, some not, some badly answered) we would have the definite answer, that could get better over time (in this example, the inclusion of delegate method, the differences between live and delegate, a detailed example of how event bubbling works, etc, etc.).

Another thought, to prevent the 'just copy this code' answers that want to get easy rep, we could give a rep bonus to guys who close the question as an exact duplicate of another. I'm not sure if this would cause massive dup closes though, which might do more harm that good...

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    Jeff Atwood has mentioned, on multiple occasions, the idea of a "canonical question". – ale Jun 28 '11 at 22:29
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    The problem here is that the jQuery docs are already quite good. The folks having these problems tend either to not have read them, or just have so little understanding of the fundamental architecture upon which the library is built that they don't get anything from them - I fear a comprehensive Q&A would have the same result. That said, you're welcome to try... We can certainly link to it from the jquery FAQ. – Shog9 Jun 28 '11 at 22:30
  • Related: What can be done about repetitive questions? – Pekka Jun 28 '11 at 22:31
  • I would imagine that the tag wiki excerpt could be tweaked a bit as well, to cover the delegate() and live() methods. – user102937 Jun 28 '11 at 22:36
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    @Robert we can't pretend that the user will read the wiki tag. What we need is an easier way to know there's a cannonical answer to the question that is being asked – Pablo Fernandez Jun 28 '11 at 22:38
  • @Shog9 got a new idea, editing... – Pablo Fernandez Jun 28 '11 at 22:40
  • @Pablo Few people will read the tag wiki, but the tag wiki is a good place to list these “golden” Q&A. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Jun 28 '11 at 23:41



Help us build a great library of canonical answers. If you keep seeing the same form of questions, whether it’s mod_rewrite rules on Server Fault, freezing computers on Super User, or how to use regular expressions to parse HTML, write a great, canonical answer, once and for all. Make it community wiki so that as many other people as possible can make it great. Work really hard on writing something that is clear, concise, and understandable by as wide an audience as possible.

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  • I'm not arguing wether there should be a canonical answer or not. I'm saying how is it possible for people that closes questions as duplicates to find this canonicals easier, and to people asking questions to see there's already a one-to-rule-them-all answer – Pablo Fernandez Jun 29 '11 at 19:57

Closing a question as a duplicate of a closed question should not be possible. The system ought to flag with a warning to lazy mods and make them at least pick an open question as the duplicate target.

Also, I think merging answers into the duplicate target should be possible while still leaving the original question. It's always frustrating to see a couple half-baked answers on a closed questoins knowing there are better answers on the main question. It would be better to merge those answers with the target and let voting take care of itself there. Earlier answers would have an advantage over people who tried to answer the duplicate question before it got closed.

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