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The whole point of people answering duplicate questions which are duplicates without checking if similar queries exist before are because they will get points if they do so. So, the reason why people do it is because there are more incentives to answer than not to. If we want to incentivize reduce people from answering duplicates and instead flag them, we should add a rep reward associated with flagging dupes.

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    $\begingroup$ I think peoples incentives are much more complicated than merely "reputation points". (I think this is a nice idea though, but I can imagine a new war starting about what counts as a duplicate, with some people saying abstract duplicates do not count etc. etc.) $\endgroup$
    – user1729
    Feb 25 at 10:11
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, one of the (many) big flaws in the SE platform design is that the gamification gives little reward for site organization efforts - which has the effect of encouraging disorganization. $\endgroup$ Feb 25 at 10:26
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    $\begingroup$ There were some discussions concerning rewarding finding duplicates. On this meta: Encouraging duplicate hunters. On Meta Stack Exchange: Give an incentive for finding duplicate questions, Reward finding duplicate questions - +10, +2, -5. (The latter is tagged status-declined.) This is also a bit related, but it is about asking rather than answering duplicates: Why do you get reputation for asking a duplicate question? $\endgroup$ Feb 25 at 11:05
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    $\begingroup$ @BillDubuque Indeed - some curation of material would be useful, but is little incentivised, and sometimes - eg retagging - has unfortunate effects. $\endgroup$ Feb 25 at 15:32
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    $\begingroup$ There can be a difference - not always noticed - between questions with equivalent mathematical material in a sense that different learners can have different issues with the same material. Answering the mathematical question efficiently may not help the learner at all with the point which is troubling them. "Duplicate mathematical content" is not identical with "duplicate question". I answer questions not to get rep, but to help people learn and enjoy mathematics (I hope). $\endgroup$ Feb 25 at 15:37
  • $\begingroup$ We can also de-incentivise users with an abundance of rep who are well know better than to post a knee jerk answer, to be the first to post, etc., by downvoting their answers, by closing the question as it as a dupe, and when the question is poor, deleting the question altogether so its answerers get no rep. It just takes a certain degree of intolerance of the behavior of well-repped users answering a question they be have answered before. Hold such users accountable: comments to them, downvotes on their dupe answers, etc. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Feb 25 at 18:25
  • $\begingroup$ While I agree that rep ought to be granted to those finding dupes, SE operates as a very slow evolutionary pace, which is still stuck in the age of dinosaurs! $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Feb 25 at 18:27
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    $\begingroup$ @user1729 I really do believe that the bottom line issue of most importance to well seasoned answerers is in fact gaining rep. It' really not that complicated. Even disregarding "abstract duplicates", there is, every semester, a student asking pretty much what was asked by students one or two semesters ahead of them. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Feb 25 at 18:31
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    $\begingroup$ And in particularly, SE needs to evolve quickly from the Age of Jeff Atwood and Co. I say this not to denigrate Jeff Atwood... he and Co. were largely the ones to credit for creating Stack Exchange, and to branch out. He was seminal. But he's been gone for quite some time, and SE needs to move beyond Jeff Atwood. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Feb 25 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ Why not a solution to -asking- instead of - answering-, that'd work better, that'd save users time on both sides (asker and audience). $\endgroup$ Feb 25 at 21:16
  • $\begingroup$ Because there technically is, if you get poor reception on many questions/ get dupes deleted, I think you will get a timed ban @veronika $\endgroup$
    – User688539
    Feb 26 at 6:06
  • $\begingroup$ My point was this: instead of trying to fix a consequence, try to fix the problem. To look for something to help on not asking duplicates. Perhaps how to learn to search better. $\endgroup$ Feb 27 at 3:24
  • $\begingroup$ I think the search function does have it problems as in it always can't find you the 'most' related posts, but yes I do think emphasizing on better search skills would help :P $\endgroup$
    – User688539
    Feb 27 at 7:08

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