This concerns a specific example of a more general procedural issue that bothers me.
A recent question is headed Idioms for a 'obvious' or 'needs no explanation'. Its well-stated core is a matter of professional discourse: ‘For [Human Resources] the relevant facts are very obvious or need no explanation but for me they are completely new.’
OP is asking about appropriate professional comportment in trying to help HR colleagues understand the difficulties that some of us might have in interpreting policies that HR discusses and applies as if they are totally transparent to everyone. The professional thrust of this Question is very obvious indeed, as OP dutifully and efficiently unpacks it.
A number of Answers addressed this question at a surprisingly naive level of terminology, many suggestions being inappropriate (some of them dangerously insulting) in the professional context that OP came here to explore.
And then the Question was suddenly branded a duplicate of the basically unrelated Question What is the idiom for “as anyone can see” or “clearly”?. This was summarily achieved by the momentary twitches of five people, not one of whom has made a stroke of effort to do any of the research that ELU purports to venerate, and to require of tentative users like OP. OP was just swatted.
For one thing, then, it is clear that in this case the statement, ‘This question has been asked before and already has an answer,’ is simply false and should not be delivered to OP in the unexamined way that currently occurs. The earlier Question was clearly about synonyms for ‘obvious’. The recent one is about respectful professional discourse, and the minefield of linguistic protocol or register of conveying that something that might seem obvious in one domain might not be so evident in another. That is: usage.
Actually applying any of the earlier Question’s answers to the recent one would be disastrous in the professional community about which OP was sufficiently clear. The earlier Question very obviously does not Answer this one.
Nevertheless, it takes only a few people’s presumably hasty assessment to result in OP being slapped with this automatically-worded and inaccurate rejection of a perfectly sensible Question.
In this case, OP has not been served well or respectfully.
Connected to that, even having explored SE (as a recent and excited convert) I am perplexed by this cult of priority. Even if the earlier Question had been similar to this new one (which it was not), how do we get so immediately and uncritically to the judgement that the earlier Question automatically leapfrogs any possible activity on the new one?
Any earlier Question might have been asked with vengeful manipulation, Answered by a fascist, and Accepted after a bottle of whisky. Why should some similarity in the heading mean that a new Question just gets batted over the hedge, and people automatically get herded towards the final (i.e. earlier) solution, whatever it was?
I could see sense in imposing some kind of moratorium, perhaps in an informed and critical way inviting the new Questioner to examine specified earlier Questions for a day or two, and to come back with the results of this ‘research’ as adjustments, extensions or exclusions within the present Question. Such a process could benefit individual Questioners, and ELU in general, by giving them guided and helpful access to the archive, rather than (as here) blindsiding someone with a swift and unjustified gotcha.
As it stands, however, this process can simply work to exclude, as in this case. Not only do we seem to have a fallacious bias towards anteriority-and-seniority, but we also appear to assume tacitly and communally that no modern input can be valued if we have any sort of vaguely-similar ancient text at all.
That can’t be right. That overall dynamic encourages the slow creation of a community quite keen on encouraging old people to assure us all that we have probably heard whatever this is before, and that we should therefore ignore it. It doesn't matter how mistaken the old people could be: we just muck about until they say that they reckon something sounds familiar, and then we proceed to mucking about with something else instead.
As a result, this trusting OP has just been smacked in the face with a shovel, for no reason at all.