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Should MSE create canonical posts for common "non-trivial" errors (as in not arithmetic or typographical-esque errors)? One example is freshman's dream, which is an erroneously calculation of $(a + b)^n = a^n + b^n$ which keeps cropping up leaving many duplicate answers. For these types of errors, should we create a canonical or just leave them be?

The way I see it, this creates some clutter and a canonical would allow for close voters to easily mark it as a duplicate and prevent duplicate answers. But I'm not sure if it's worth the hassle.

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    $\begingroup$ A good idea. But most of our users won't bother learning about such improvements to site hygiene. You see, spending time searching for canonicals is away from the time these people could spend rep farming. What's worse, within those few precious seconds another rep farmer will have produced an answer, and an opportunity is lost. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Jun 13 '18 at 4:12
  • $\begingroup$ @JyrkiLahtonen That's something I foresaw. But I think if we have a few good users who are powerful enough and have hammer power (and I've seen many people on MSE who actually believe in quality over quantity) we could reduce the amount of these questions if even just a little. $\endgroup$ – Andrew Li Jun 13 '18 at 4:15
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    $\begingroup$ For example, this canonical has 114 questions linked to it. Should be more... Similarly, there are only 40 calculus questions, yet we have 82000 threads tagged calculus. About 2000:1 duplication ratio. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Jun 13 '18 at 4:17
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    $\begingroup$ The window of getting it closed as a duplicate in time to stop the rep farmers is counted in seconds. Two minutes max (on wee hours of the most active continents). $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Jun 13 '18 at 4:20
  • $\begingroup$ @JyrkiLahtonen Yeah, this problem is even bigger on sites like SO but they have an actual organized community and tools to remove fast & quick (and with a lot more users in general, and IMO a harsher climate for askers). So do we just sit around and give up because we can't really do anything? $\endgroup$ – Andrew Li Jun 13 '18 at 4:22
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    $\begingroup$ We shouldn't give up. But we need to brace ourselves for a larger scale war. I'm sick of this. When I ask for advice at mod-only sites they tell me to be polite and a positive role model. Can you actually find enough regular users to start voting to delete the answers to garbage questions? $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Jun 13 '18 at 4:30
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah, it is sad. At SO, they're constantly trying to "be nicer" to users by making post quality policies more lax, and it degrades the whole site. There are even feature requests to remove rep from users to answer a question with obvious duplicates, which are highly voted yet not implemented. Don't know what to do :/ $\endgroup$ – Andrew Li Jun 13 '18 at 4:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Jyrki: Now that you're a regular user, you can be one of these people! :) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jun 25 '18 at 6:13

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