The question In a question like, "Who hears a noise?" Is the subject of the sentence who? was put on hold, I believe correctly, because OP had not given the slightest sign of any research, and in all probability just wanted a yes/no answer (this borne out by the answer they accepted, and the manner of acceptance). However, the underlying question is an important one worthy of debate (as another contributor was quick to point out). To make the question 'acceptable', some quoted material (arguing both for and against subject-realisation) would really be necessary, showing that this is a far deeper question than one might suppose. This would need major editing, which I feel really swamps the OP. On the other hand, it is a shame to throw out the baby with the bathwater. What is the best way to facilitate the deeper debate?

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I agree that having someone spend a lot of time on editing and making a proper question out of it, only for all the reputation of that work to go to someone who was likely only ever a one-off asker and will not visit the site again, is less than ideal. (Plus, if the asker does turn out to revisit their question, they may not appreciate someone having fundamentally reshaped it.)

My suggestion would be that someone who has the time and the inclination asks a new question with the full spectrum and all the details, and then notes in the question itself that the current question is more or less a duplicate of the new question—but that the difference in usefulness and discussion means that the old should be made a duplicate of the new, rather than the other way around.

I’m not sure if that’s playing entirely by the book, but I do feel it is likely the best solution to the problem, and also in the SE spirit of making the most useful question with the best answer the ‘base’ question as far as duplicate-marking goes.

  • 8
    Good call. I always thought that if a duplicate question is better formulated and shows more relevant arguments than the "base" question, the latter should be considered the duplicate, especially when the answers also display better caliber. There have been several instances of this.
    – Centaurus
    Apr 5, 2015 at 22:01
  • 10
    I agree. Too many questions are marked as a "duplicate" of a poorer question that has only an answer or two that don't even answer the question.
    – Nicole
    Apr 7, 2015 at 1:40

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