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I am wondering why we would discourange repeat questions or reffer similar questions to answers that may or may not fully expound the current question.

My though behind this, we should not discourage peolpe from asking questions that are similar in nature or even a duplicate question. The purpose of this would be to build diversity in the answer base. Not all questions are easily answered and not all answers to those questions should be finite. Also, with an ever growing user base; we are allowing the questions to be re-evaluated by new members (hence diffirent outlooks to solving the same issue).

From my understanding we have no method of validating whether or not a question asked a year ago has an answer that is still valid in the present set of standards/evironments/practices. How do we weed out those questions that were answered but are no longer relevant (ie. the answer is no longer correct)?

This would also not push people away from utilizing these services. If we are creating a question and answer based community and we are so worried about community ethics that we belittle the intent or meaning of thier question; the community will not grow? This does not help people grow thier skillset to the point where they can ask well formulated questions. It makes them bitter or not return.

I guess what I am getting at is if diversity is revered in all other aspects of life, why would we ignore it here?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I was also thinking, why could we not merge answered repeat questiosn into community wiki's. \$\endgroup\$ – John Sep 9 '10 at 21:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Moderators already have the ability to merge duplicate questions, when appropriate. Community wikis don't really enter into it. \$\endgroup\$ – Robert Cartaino Sep 10 '10 at 2:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Generally speaking when a question is an exact duplicate the question that is closed gets a link to the "source" questions and are left alone. This is so that if somebody searches for the same topic they can find at least something that points to the original question even if their search leads them to a closed dupe question. \$\endgroup\$ – Tetrad Sep 11 '10 at 21:52
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This site should strive to make every relevant question THE canonical source of information on that subject. The answers are vetted by the community so the best answers appear on the top. That's the entire purpose of the this site. If someone asks a duplicate question, all they are doing is splitting up the information. If you trust this system, then when someone comes across a question, how will they know if the top-voted answer is the best or if a better answer exists on a duplication question on another part of the site? You can't.

The wiki nature of these sites means that each question should remain a living document. If you have more up-to-date information, you're supposed to update and add to the existing questions. If you simply abandon aging questions in favor of just asking again — declaring a do-over rather than improving the original post — how will users know if any given question is still relevant?

You can't; the system would be broken.

The internet is full of outdated and incorrect blog posts and forums. The very purpose of the Stack Exchange way of doing things is to get away from that whole short-coming of the internet… outdated and incorrect information.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The problem, here, and on other Stack sites, is that the answers far out-do the quality of the questions. I think that asking the same thing multiple times in slightly different ways is actually critical to 'getting the question right'. And since no one (NO ONE) ever actually goes back and cleans up/generalizes/merges questions, then having a bunch of similar questions with the same answers is actually the best-working approach to being canonical. \$\endgroup\$ – Ipsquiggle Sep 10 '10 at 16:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ With multiple duplicate questions, someone looking for the answer later has to go through many questions to get the answer, whereas if we force people to focus all the answers on one question it becomes easy to find the answer needed, thus eliminating the need for yet another duplicate because finding the right answer is hard. Also, it's easily abused. If someone posts a duplicate question it would take me a few minutes to find the other dupes, formulate a comprehensive answer, and get mad rep on someone else's work. There are simply too many problems with dupes. \$\endgroup\$ – Adam Davis Oct 21 '10 at 15:30
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"If diversity is revered in all other aspects of life, why would we ignore it here?"

Most technical questions have a best answer, or a small number of good answers (in which case the best answer is the one that enumerates all the good options). For questions that do not have a best answer, the SE platform provides Community Wikis.

Good answers are specific so I don't think they will go out of date nearly as fast as you expect. A corollary is that good questions can be specifically answered, by providing enough concrete information.

Above all, this is not a forum. We're not here to discuss how great our next game is going to be, or shoot the breeze about whether C# or Java is arbitrarily "better". Stack Exchange sites build communities of experts because the experts don't have to constantly answer the same question and can vote down rather than shout down the ignorant and inexperienced.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, but good QUESTIONS are important too, and those are lacking in general on the Stack sites. I would venture to say that most technical answers have one or more 'best questions' as well. And yet the system encourages a 1:M relationship between questions and answers, so we never get to home in on that 'best question'. \$\endgroup\$ – Ipsquiggle Sep 10 '10 at 16:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ The system encourages infinite questions. You can ask as many unique questions as you want in search of the best ones. But if you happen to ask a non-unique one, it should be closed. \$\endgroup\$ – user744 Sep 10 '10 at 17:01
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First off, don't feel offended that your question was closed.

From my understanding we have no method of validating whether or not a question asked a year ago has an answer that is still valid in the present set of standards/evironments/practices. How do we weed out those questions that were answered but are no longer relevant (ie. the answer is no longer correct)?

First off the site is less than 2 months old, this is hardly the case.

Also, the vast majority of the time it's mainly due to the fact that people haven't searched . If somebody posted a question, posted a link to the relevant related question and then said why the answers were no longer relevant or their particular use case had some difference that made the answers not pertinent, then it would be different.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This site is not that old, but I was referring to the SE collection of sites. \$\endgroup\$ – John Sep 10 '10 at 2:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ "If somebody posted a question, posted a link to the relevant related question and then said why the answers were no longer relevant..." That's key for me. If someone can explain why the existing answers are not good, that means they need a new one. If they can't explain why the existing answers are not good, then they need to learn why that is first. \$\endgroup\$ – user744 Sep 10 '10 at 13:41

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