I have asked Extremals of functional $J = \int_{a}^{b} F(x, y, y^{'})$ question on December 21st 2013..

Now comes another question An MCQ for finding the extremal of the functional $J = \int_{a}^{b} F(x, y, y^{'})$ which was asked in May 22 2015.

My question has been closed as duplicate by marked as duplicate by Normal Human, Harish Chandra Rajpoot, Claude Leibovici, N. F. Taussig, Deutsch Mathematiker yesterday citing that "This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please edit this question to explain how it is different or ask a new question."

It is clear that my question is older. Some user has said that "I picked this as duplicate because the other was older, and had some personal effort show there, which is not there here!" But then even without cross verifying, above mentioned users closed my question as duplicate.

This is not good. I protest this kind of practice. I want that duplicate tag to be out of my question..

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    $\begingroup$ See meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/16417/… and links there for discussion of closing old questions as duplicates of newer ones. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 5:46
  • $\begingroup$ If your intention isto discuss this one particular instance, you should tag this post as (specific-question) (see the tag-info). If the question is only mean an example and you want to discuss closing older question as a duplicate of a newer one, then you should probably make this a bit clearer in your post. (However, this was discussed on meta before, so in such case, it would be probably a duplicate.) $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 6:06
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    $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson : I saw that just now.. Isn't it a better idea to merge those to rather than marking previous question as duplicate? $\endgroup$
    – user87543
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 7:44
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    $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak : I am concerned about this specific question and i have added the tag... Thanks :) $\endgroup$
    – user87543
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 7:45
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    $\begingroup$ @PraphullaKoushik If two questions are duplicates, that does not automatically mean that merging is possible. Main problem might be different notation. For example, "$g\circ f$ is injecitve $\Rightarrow$ $f$ is injective" and "$f\circ g$ is injecitve $\Rightarrow$ $g$ is injective" are clearly duplicates. But if there are answers posted to both of them, merging would cause some of the answers have a completely different notation, which would be rather confusing. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 8:10
  • $\begingroup$ In your specific situation, you could check whether your question and the other one have the same notation. If yes, you can suggest merging. You can do this by flagging the post. Or you can ask for advice from moderators in Mods' Office before you do that. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 8:11
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    $\begingroup$ What is the problem you are trying to solve? Put differently, what is the harm to you in your question being marked as duplicate? $\endgroup$
    – quid
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 13:13
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    $\begingroup$ This also shows how important are descriptive titles. The list of related questions of the newer question show two questions with $J = \int_{a}^{b} F(x, y, y^{'})$ in the title. One is your question, the other one is this one, where $F$ is a different function. If your question had this in the title at the time when the new question was posted, the probability that somebody would notice in the list of related questions that there is an older similar question would be greater. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 18:58

1 Answer 1


I explained my reasoning in a comment:

I think the answer to the present one is better

It's not about you. It's not about the effort shown. It's about directing future readers toward the best available answer.

I have compared the two answers prior to voting. The one from 2013 is just a mechanical calculation, which yields a complicated ODE without offering any way to solve it. The answer from 2015 gets to the point of the matter, using the Beltrami identity to reduce the task to a simple ODE, and gives a complete solution. There was no doubt in my mind regarding which of two answers would serve readers better.

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    $\begingroup$ May be you should compare two questions before closing and not two answers as you are closing a question and not an answer... I do not know how can you cite "This question has been asked before and already has an answer" when it is clear that my question is an older one... $\endgroup$
    – user87543
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 5:25
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    $\begingroup$ Will the future readers think "I need to find the oldest version of this question, I don't really care how good the answers are there"? Unlikely. so. The banner text does not exactly apply, but that's the thing about automatically generated text: it does not always fit perfectly. $\endgroup$
    – user147263
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 5:27
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    $\begingroup$ If you think some answer is good in a question that some one has posted later, it is reasonable to merge those answers to the question that was asked before... Will the future readers think "It does not make any sense to show my effort as after some days some one will post same question with no efforts and if that question has some answer that is good, my post will get closed as DUPLICATE"?? Unlikely. $\endgroup$
    – user87543
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 5:37

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