A recent question was closed because it already has an answer at another question. I cast the final vote because I believe that the following test is a reliable guide for casting "duplicate" close votes:

Consider two questions, A and B. Question A precedes question B in time. Questions A and B need not be related in what they ask. If any answer to Question A contains a statement which reasonably answers Question B (whether or not it is a good answer to either of A or B), then there is a rebuttable presumption that Question B is a duplicate of Question A. The presumption is rebutted only if Question A fails to generate five close votes. The people who vote to close need not be knowledgeable as to whether the answer to question A is actually also a good answer to question B.

Did I act within community guidelines by casting a close vote?

A proposed duplicate to this post (both the question and its answer) treats as equivalent two types of "duplicates": (i) pairs of questions which are similar, and (ii) pairs of questions which have attracted similar answers. This post calls for a more nuanced approach to duplicates, and I wouldn't click the check mark for the answer that the proposed duplicate got.

  • 1
    I've no idea what "community guidelines" are for this issue (are you quoting them above, or is that just what you think?). But I think the question was correctly closed (I closevoted first, and stand by that decision). I do not think there is any point in having two questions where one is How did [X] come about?, and the other is What's another name for [X]? Given the second one now has good answers (specifically including OP's), I think a mod should merge those answers into the first question. Jul 16, 2013 at 4:05
  • The question asked was not "What's another name for [X]". It was "What is the term for [X]." where [X] is the description of a pattern. "How did [X] come about" never specifically named an acceptable term for [X]. This is as if someone asks the question "Why do we have they're, there and their?" and not one answer uses the word Homonym, and there is another question asking "What's the term used to refer to they're, their and there?". Two completely different questions; no merge needed.
    – JoshDM
    Jul 16, 2013 at 23:33
  • @FumbleFingers if no community guidelines exist, then they should be determined. I put up what I think are the implicit guidelines. When a question gets closed, a banner says "There's already an answer to this question." (or something like that), which is different from saying "There's already a question asking the same thing as this question."
    – user31341
    Jul 17, 2013 at 0:01
  • @JoshDM: Two of the three answers to the original question supplied names, both of which were repeated in one of the answers to what I consider a duplicate. It just so happens you preferred a third name which only seems to have been used in the last decade or so, and which was only given in that one later answer. Jul 17, 2013 at 0:19
  • @ jlovegren: My closevote against the dup has expired, so I guess the point is moot. No-one else agrees with me (I'm not sure what it means to say you agree the question was a dup, since you actually answered it), and this meta question isn't exactly attracting a lot of attention. I shan't be changing my opinion, but clearly most users here are either indifferent or actually approve of maximising the number of "different" questions. Jul 17, 2013 at 0:28
  • @FumbleFingers - none of the supplied names applied to the pattern, except CR. All other submissions were prefaced with "maybe"; CR was definitive. As regards jlovegren's close vote, he was asked to do so by the moderator to fully close the duplicate request so the mod could then back it out; the mod was unable to back out a partial.
    – JoshDM
    Jul 17, 2013 at 4:35
  • 3
    possible duplicate of Etiquette on duplicate questions
    – Mitch
    Jul 17, 2013 at 17:38
  • @Mitch this is getting too meta! I am asking a more precise question than is asked in the proposed duplicate. The proposed duplicate, however, has a detailed answer that has gotten a number of upvotes, and could have just as well been posted here. But the question I am asking is different: do we close duplicate questions, or do we close pairs of questions with duplicate answers?
    – user31341
    Jul 17, 2013 at 20:55
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers in my objective opinion my answer was better than the ones with grecian terms of art.
    – user31341
    Jul 17, 2013 at 20:57
  • @ jlovegren: If grecian terms are to be disparaged, presumably you won't approve of me saying your "objective opinion" is ὀξύμωρον (an oxymoron! :). I never voted on either of the questions, or any of the answers, and I've no opinion on which term is "better" in any general sense. But I would have thought the second OP's example (hungry hungry) was actually "intensive" reduplication. The archetypal "contrastive" version (salad salad) uses one word with two different senses, but hungry hungry just appears to mean very hungry. Jul 17, 2013 at 23:40
  • I did think it was a duplicate (but also it was hard to resists the meta nature); I thought that whatever you were asking here, even if it is intended to be different, should be answered by the other question. With your explanation, though there is room for further ideas.
    – Mitch
    Jul 18, 2013 at 0:41
  • "Duplicity" does not mean being a duplicate - it means being deceptive: en.wiktionary.org/wiki/duplicity .
    – Golden Cuy
    Aug 9, 2013 at 14:50
  • @AndrewGrimm it was to be a pun, but feel free to change the title to Duplicacy
    – user31341
    Aug 12, 2013 at 23:35

2 Answers 2


If the actual answer to a question is hidden in an incidental remark in an answer to a completely different question, then how is it making the internet a better place to close the question as a duplicate?

(You can't even use the number of upvotes/downvotes to come to any conclusion about the validity of the answer, since it's likely that the voters were judging the answer by a totally different set of criteria, namely the actual question it's supposed to answer.)

The reason we want to reduce duplicate questions (not answers!) is to make it easier for future visitors to find the answer they need. If we send those future visitors to a page that seems totally irrelevant, they're likely to just throw up their hands in despair and go search elsewhere.

In short, I think your guidelines are a Very Bad Idea.

  • You have it slightly backwards. One question asks about the origin of the use of a pattern and receives a selected answer. A follow-up comment to the selected answer asks for the name/term of the pattern, but no additional answers or comments satisfy the follow-up comment; all are rejected by the OP. A second, unrelated question is asked requesting the name/term of the pattern and receives both a version of the rejected answers and a new correct answer. The second question is flagged as a duplicate. There may be more to it if you look at the deleted comments of the second question.
    – JoshDM
    Jul 17, 2013 at 20:45
  • I agree with you!
    – user31341
    Jul 17, 2013 at 20:53

The answer to this question, Etiquette on duplicate questions provides very specific procedures when there are duplicate question. The type of duplication is placed in one of three categories, as defined in an earlier StackExchange blog post:

  1. cut and paste
  2. borderline
  3. accidental

Once categorized, there is a set of criteria describing how to proceed. The answer to the meta EL&U question extends that further so as to make sense for EL&U SE in particular.

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