In this (now deleted) question a user asked about a homework problem (I assume), asking whether a particular approach to it would be valid.

Almost immediately, someone voted to close as a duplicate of this question, which states the same problem, but without any work shown. The older question had already closed as "missing context" for some days.

Is that really fair -- just because someone has asked about the problem without doing work, everyone else should have their questions about the same problem where they do work closed as duplicates?

In the present case the asker of the supposed duplicate self-deleted it shortly after -- apparently being satisfied with the answers to the PSQ. However, those other answers didn't tell him what he actually needed to know, namely that the approach he was proposing for the problem wouldn't have worked and why.

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    I thought duplicate closure needs an upvoted answer on target and thus do not understand the "nobody get any answer"? – quid Dec 1 '14 at 19:01
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    @quid: Hmm, yes. In this case the closed PSQ does have answers, but they don't answer what the new question asked about, namely whether a specific approach would work. (I'll edit to scale back the shrillness a bit :-) – Henning Makholm Dec 1 '14 at 19:02
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    It was deleted by the author. It never received enough votes to be closed. – robjohn Dec 1 '14 at 19:02
  • @robjohn: Yes, I noticed that -- but without the close votes, the author might not have felt compelled to delete it. – Henning Makholm Dec 1 '14 at 19:03
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    Thanks for the edit. I agree there can be issue with too aggressive/careless dupe-clsoing. I do no see the current case so this is a general remark. – quid Dec 1 '14 at 19:04

If answers to Question B do not provide an answer to Question A, that is a sure sign that A should not be closed as a duplicate of B. So, I think in this case the duplicate vote was unwarranted, regardless of the state of B.


As an aside, it'd be nice to have at least one copy of this often-asked question open on the site, as a reference resource. Closed questions have the habit of getting deleted. In this case, I edited Question B and voted to reopen. (I also note that the author of question B was not content to be simply given the solutions, as is seen from the comment exchanges under the answers.)

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