This question is the exact duplicate of this question and both were answered by the same user with the exact same answer (Although he has mentioned it as a duplicate in his second answer and the question itself) and both of them were accepted by the questioner.

My problem is that I cannot flag the question as duplicate as I get the below error:

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I read this -How to deal with duplicate bounty questions?

and it quotes:

If you (or anyone else) feel strongly about closing one as the duplicate of the other, you (or anyone else) can just wait until the respective lock (due to the active bounty) expires and vote to close as usual.

How can this be a solution when the exact same answer is accepted both the times by the questioner?

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    @MishaLavrov The problem is that the exact same answer was accepted for the exact same question and probably it might earn both the bounties (because it was accepted in the duplicate question as well though there is a huge chance that it might not get). duplicate was sufficiently hard to find, I disagree with you on this as both the question have the exact same title (with just the number '2' to distinguish them), how can someone not find a question with the exact same title? I cannot understand the questioners logic though. – paulplusx Sep 8 at 16:24
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    Oh - I missed the fact that it was also the same person asking both questions and offering both bounties. – Misha Lavrov Sep 8 at 16:29
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    @MishaLavrov both questions were posted by the same user. There was nothing "hard to find" at all about it. For reasons detailed in my answer, I have not much issue with the answerers actions, but "hard to find" is a complete non-starter in that situation and I am a bit tired of this all the time being used as an excuse. – quid Sep 8 at 16:29
  • Well, quid, I do have an issue with the answerer for answering the second of two identical questions with the identical answer they used for the original. As far as I'm concerned, this could have been handled appropriately earlier, had @Rigel flagged the situation. So Rigel is just as blame-worthy as Mohammed M. Zerrak, I think. – amWhy Sep 8 at 17:26
  • @amWhy I agree they could have flagged it, but I do not agree that it is the same situation. Moreover, neither of questioner nor answerer to me give the impression that they actually tried to "game." The questioner was overzealous in getting an answer (not good, but could be worse) and the answerer tried to do the right thing to a point and then moved on. Either way I don't see it as a big deal. – quid Sep 8 at 17:34
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    @quid I guess, E.g., you're suggesting both the asker and the answerer mutually suffered amnesia, with no recollection of having already asked/answered, they somehow managed to ask/answer the verbatim question/answer of the original, that they must not remember having already done? Rigel has over 10K rep. How can Rigel, a user with over 10K rep, not know that the reposting of the same question one has already answered, not know to flag the question, and not duplicate an answer? – amWhy Sep 8 at 17:41
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    Anyway, thanks, @paulplusx, for posting this on meta. Very good call, methinks! – amWhy Sep 8 at 17:45
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    @amWhy "you're suggesting both the asker and the answerer mutually suffered amnesia, with no recollection of having already asked/answered" I have difficulty to see how you conclude this. I explicitly said that asker was overzealous to get an answer and reposted (which is not good). The answerer left a comment on the second question and a sentence in the second answer indicating that it is a duplicate they did not try to conceal it at all quite the contrary. They did try to signal it. They just did not do it in the best way. Some users are rather oblivious to these aspect of the site. – quid Sep 8 at 17:52
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    @amWhy :-) It's the least I can do to maintain the already well-maintained (thanks to you guys and all those members for keeping the Q&As clean and improving their quality everyday) website. – paulplusx Sep 8 at 17:53
  • @paulplusx You must be on another site. Did you notice the unnecessary lay-out change ? Did you notice the "new-contributor-button" ? And there are other issues : bouny-points are lost even when noone answers , close-votes and/or delete-votes are impossible for some questions because of a high-upvoted answer , or a link , or a bounty, as discussed here. I envy you that you are able to be happy with such a site. – Peter Sep 14 at 21:32
  • @paulplusx Not to speak of questions with scores of more than 100+ barely having to do with mathematics, but this is another story. – Peter Sep 14 at 21:37
  • @Peter I totally agree with you on the limitations of the website you have mentioned here. I feel the same too but there is another thing that makes me feel that this site is probably the best Q&A website on the internet and that is the type of people here giving there time and answering questions. You can easily find professors and PhD candidates spending time and helping others and for me that's a very big thing. I suppose they already have a busy life but still they come here to help others. I don't think you can find such an amazing group of experienced teachers,.. – paulplusx Sep 15 at 4:12
  • professors and other people like them giving away advice and solutions for free. I also agree that in the past we have had questions that have a score of 100+ with barely any maths in them but you need to understand that (I am a newbie so I don't know if I deserve to tell you that or not)those were the times when the website was new and standards were not enforced that aggressively as they are now so you see the website is evolving slowly and I suppose in today's date it's very difficult to garner even 10+ votes let alone 100. – paulplusx Sep 15 at 4:12
up vote 12 down vote accepted

This is an unusual situation. The main problem is the repost of the question by the asker. This is not admissible. Somehow this went unnoticed. That they then got both bounties is an astonishing twist.

Generally it is inappropriate to answer the exact same question twice rather than to mark it as a duplicate. That said, in this unusual case from the answerers perspective it's really not exactly clear what they should have done instead. When they were active on it, both had bounties and were not closable. In some sense to answer both is a quick way to move this toward resolution.

Since the older post has no bounty anymore it can be closed as a duplicate of the newer. I did that. Down the road we can merge the posts. If the bounty on the older would still have been active I would have canceled it. I could cancel the one on the newer, but this would return the points to the questioner that created the unfortunate situation. I think this would be even less fair.

Generally, this is a situation to flag for moderator attention. (Now it is not needed anymore but generally speaking.)

  • Yes, I was about to flag it in sometime. Thank you for your quick response. Can't the bounty system be modified to handle such situations that might occur in the near future? – paulplusx Sep 8 at 16:28
  • In theory it could be modified of course, but to me it is not completely clear how to modify to avoid the current problem. There are restrictions to avoid excessive use of bounties. For repeat-bounties on the same post the size has to increase and the number of bounties a user can have open is also restricted (IIRC). But the bounties were even placed by different users so it is hard to catch automatically. It's not quite clear why the questioner even set the second bounty; it just seems like a waste. – quid Sep 8 at 16:48
  • True and like you said it's not clear how to modify the system to avoid the current problem, the question becomes: How to automatically close exact duplicates? This might be done with some pattern matching AI or some algorithm but would prove to be highly beneficial in such cases. Also, it would close a lot of reposts made by new users and thus save some time for those people who keep on flagging to close them. I couldn't understand the motive of the questioner for these two exact duplicates, it would have been a bit logical (still unacceptable to repost) if he had accepted different answers. – paulplusx Sep 8 at 17:03
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    Ideally the answerer of the first question/bounty recipient should have been the one to come to meta, or flag the situation. @quid, I think your making the answerer out to be a "victim" who was helpless to do what they should have done in the first place. While I'm glad one of the posts is closed, it ought also be deleted; It was wrong to repost it; it yielded a duplicate answer, it earned at least 10 more upvotes, after having received 13+ upvotes on the original. That's gaming if I've ever seen it. Else merge the posts into one, keep the askers yield to the original yield; – amWhy Sep 8 at 17:11
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    ... keep the answers yield from upvotes at the higher of the upvote counts. With respect to the bounty: both asker should not recoup one of the bounties, nor should the duplicate answerer receive double bounties for not doing the right thing, else you reinforce askers to repost, and answerers to repost, duplicates, to gain more rep, and/or earn two bounties. The points offered for the second (or first) bounty should go to a fund of such forfeited bounties, to be used to award bounties by a "sponsor" committee to lower-rep users who've asked a great question, but needs more exposure. – amWhy Sep 8 at 17:17
  • @amWhy down the road I'll merge and delete the dupe-posts. I just do not do it right away since it would make things quite hard to follow. I have difficulty to understand the asker; it seems to me they "burned" some points for no good reason. As I said what they did was not admissible. Regarding the answerer, yes, ideally they should have done that. But there are some users that do not know the site mechanics and customs in detail. It seems to me they did try to do the right thing to a point and then just moved on. – quid Sep 8 at 17:30
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    @amWhy I am posting a comment here with your name to get both of your attention at once :) For me one of the most surprising thing was that no one except the answerer mentioned that the post was duplicate nor did they upvote the answerer's comment that was suggesting that it was a repost. Although upvoting the answerer comment may not be possible if the answerer didn't post it soon enough but it's hard to miss the related-questions view on the right side of the website. Unless they were browsing from their SE mobile app or they were seeing the mobile version of the website, it's hard.. – paulplusx Sep 8 at 18:19
  • ... to believe that all the $11$ upvoters failed to see that (I down-voted it because I felt the questioner was responsible, so it's $10$ now). Assuming that all the $11$ up-voters couldn't see the related-questions on the right side of their screen because they were using mobile related sites or app, we have a new feature request for the app and mobile SE sites: To include related of the related question in the UI of a question. I am saying this because people are migrating very fast to mobile phones and it may become a problem in the future. I myself use the app mostly than the website. – paulplusx Sep 8 at 18:20
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    @paulplusx I agree it is quite surprising that it took so long to be noticed. I hardly ever pay attention to the "related" but it is still surprising. – quid Sep 8 at 18:39
  • It is a system quirk that Questions can be posted with titles that are identical to existing questions, but when a user attempts to submit an edit for the Question, the system balks with a complaint about the title duplication. Although this is what my dad would have called "a rare-squared" situation, it might be worth having a Review Tools-type query to catch these more rapidly. – hardmath Sep 10 at 16:31
  • Apparently, it is time to rethink the bounty-feature. Anyway, it is not a good idea to shield questions from closevotes just because of a bounty or because of some link. Every question should be closeable and deleteable if there are good reasons. An automatic detection of duplicates surely won't solve the problem. – Peter Sep 13 at 9:24
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    I'm sorry for what is happened. Since both questions seem to be active at that time, and since they were not flaggable as duplicate, I just answered both questions writing, the second time, that it was a duplicate. I have no problem in loosing the corresponding bounty. – Rigel Sep 13 at 11:04
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    @Rigel Thank you for the explanation. For situations as unusual as this one for next time you could consider raising a moderator flag: "flag" as "in need of moderator intervention" You then can explain the issue. – quid Sep 13 at 16:12
  • Seems like you could merge it now :) By the way I don't see what is a big deal with this. Bounty has limited time on it, so in similar situation, we can just wait and then mark the newer question as a duplicate, as we would in any other case... – Sil Sep 20 at 6:49

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