Why are people so eager to close questions as duplicates? I can give only two examples and only because I answered the questions, so I believe there must be a lot of such duplicates, but in what universe are the linked duplicate questions really duplicates?

Sometimes I have a feeling that somebody who doesn't understand the question but read something similar will just post the link and hit flag...

And just as related reading, this blog entry.

  • \$\begingroup\$ My two cents - the first question does not appear to be a duplicate to me since one is around bypassing the market place so that the testers can play the game and the other (closed) question to me appears to be about services for getting users (Betalize.com is "WORLD'S MARKETPLACE TO FIND BETA TESTERS"). The Android question needs improvement but isn't necessarily a duplicate either. The reason I feel this way is because AndEngine, as shown by the answer posted, has its own set of answers that aren't specific to Android. Where would these AndEngine specific answers go? \$\endgroup\$ – SpartanDonut Jun 21 '13 at 17:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ Possible duplicate: meta.gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/542/… \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Mod Jun 21 '13 at 22:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Byte56 Hahahaha, that made my morning. But that question should be closed as "Too Localized" as it clearly states "The moderation lately has been getting harsh" \$\endgroup\$ – MartinTeeVarga Jun 22 '13 at 3:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @sm4 Heh, yeah I thought you might enjoy that. Though, this question could fall under the same "too localized" category since it doesn't have much evidence supporting it as a trend. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Mod Jun 22 '13 at 4:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also rant is a meta tag and should be obliterated. \$\endgroup\$ – Tetrad Jun 22 '13 at 18:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tetrad All meta posts are rants ;) \$\endgroup\$ – bobobobo Jun 24 '13 at 15:55

The general criterion I would think is this:

Does having this question remain open add anything that's not already covered by the other question?

It's possible to have countless minor variations on essentially the same question, and arguments could be made that they are in fact different questions, but are they really? If the original question contains information in it's answers that also answers the new question, then - IMO - it's a clear case of "close as duplicate".

The point I'm making here is that if question A was "what's 2+2?" and question B was "what's 2+3?", yes they are different questions which do have different answers, but if question A was answered in a way that explained how addition worked, then question B is clearly a duplicate.

This all depends on perspective. For me, close as duplicate is not a slap-down and it's not harsh moderation. It's actually something very different to those - it's actually a valid way of providing an answer to a question. So when I vote to close as duplicate, I'm most definitely not saying "you stupid person, that's been asked before, ha ha"; what I am saying is "here, read this other question, it contains the answer you're looking for".

So although it might not seem so on the surface, closing as a duplicate is really just another tool to help someone find the answer they want. That's a key distinction, and maybe it needs to come across more clearly in the stock text used for closing duplicates.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Closing questions as duplicates also allows more people to vote on the original question and answers, or submit different answers, or edit the questions or answers. A process of gradual refinement. \$\endgroup\$ – DanBeale Jun 24 '13 at 21:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ Plus it keeps the info in one place rather than scattered around the site in many different questions. \$\endgroup\$ – Maximus Minimus Jun 24 '13 at 23:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ WHat you are saying would work better, if you were to just post the link there. "Here, someone already answered that". \$\endgroup\$ – Rishav Sharan Jun 25 '13 at 14:07

My two cents are that both of those example questions are really broad and asking for discussion points. People don't like the question so they'd prefer to close it. But they also see that some smaller aspect of the question has been answered by somewhere else, so they close the question as a dupe because they feel it's better than saying "not constructive".

The first question is a good question but a bit on the broad side. In particular, asking for "is there a good platform to do this" is begging for a list of links which doesn't make for a good answer. Even though the title of the "duplicate" question doesn't really match the question in the one you're pointing out, if you read it the guy is asking for the same thing, namely " I would like to release a partially complete, unpolished game on my website so people can try it out and give me feedback." Which makes it a dupe in spirit at least.

The second question doesn't pass the "what have you tried" smell test. So I think it's also too broad. "Give some link or example so that i can understand easily..." just shows lack of research/understanding on the issues. Also it seems like one could easily copy/paste the answer from the linked duplicate question and it would still work.

  • \$\begingroup\$ First question: "I would like to release a partially complete, unpolished game on my website so people can try it out and give me feedback." - I don't agree that this is what the asker is looking for. Second question: what about answers that aren't specific to Android since the asker has (poorly) called out AndEngine. Where would those answers go? \$\endgroup\$ – SpartanDonut Jun 21 '13 at 17:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Tetrad, you answers always have a perfect form. That confuses me :) And my form will never be as good, but I will try: 1) First question is too broad, how else would you ask if you want to know, where/how to get beta testers? (this is a hint that the question should have been edited and not closed). 2) well, that is AndEngine, a lot of young programmers, not enough good sources. I knew the answer because I went through the one specific tutorial, where it is used. \$\endgroup\$ – MartinTeeVarga Jun 21 '13 at 17:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ To add to that, because its "broad" isn't a reason to close as duplicate because another question kind of sort of not really touches on the same question. Close it for its real reason if the "duplicate" answer doesn't actually answer the question. \$\endgroup\$ – SpartanDonut Jun 21 '13 at 17:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @sm4 My comment on the second question leads to: Do we want young and inexperienced programmers here? How do we teach them to ask good questions? \$\endgroup\$ – MartinTeeVarga Jun 21 '13 at 17:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ToddersLegrande what would you say the first question is asking for? How to find testers? If so, then it's kind of a dupe of this question: gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/957/finding-testers As for the second, the person called out AndEngine since that's what they're using. If somebody else has a question about how to store level data then they're free to ask that. Specificity isn't necessarily a bad thing in questions. \$\endgroup\$ – Tetrad Jun 21 '13 at 19:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ And to be clear, I don't necessarily agree with the idea of closing a "bad" question as a dupe. Close it as a bad question or edit it to be a good question and leave comments saying "you might find relevant stuff here". \$\endgroup\$ – Tetrad Jun 21 '13 at 19:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @sm4 That's the million dollar question now isn't it. meta.gamedev.stackexchange.com/a/1170/51 \$\endgroup\$ – Tetrad Jun 21 '13 at 19:06

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