So, I've noticed a couple questions in the last few hours that have a few votes for close because they are "exact duplicates", but in reality, they are not exactly the same. I know my opinion on these, but I am asking this question simply to find out yours. I am fine if the community disagrees with me. I want to learn from your wisdom.

This question is supposedly an exact duplicate of this one. I absolutely agree that the answer to the second one completely contains the answer to the first. However, what if someone has the first question sometime in the future. Is that user supposed to know that they should just look at the second question to get their answer? If not, then does it really make sense to close the first question?

Another example is this one which is an exact duplicate of this one. In this case, a change of variables will change the first question into the second. But, if someone comes to this site wanting to ask that question, are they going to know that? If so, would they ask the question? If not, then isn't the question valuable itself?

What are your opinions? Do you think questions like these should be closed?

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    $\begingroup$ I recall this being discussed on meta in the past. Some consensus that close-enough abstract duplicates (or if the answer appears on another thread, say as an example) then it's fine to close. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Oct 21, 2012 at 1:43
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    $\begingroup$ Closed doesn't mean deleted (does it?). If Question X is closed, the future questioner will find it, along with the note that it has been closed as a duplicate of Question Y --- then all said questioner need do is click the link to Y. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 21, 2012 at 5:00
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    $\begingroup$ I'm in favor of closing in many situations like these, but I think it's good to make sure that there's a comment explaining how the two questions are related. In your first example, Hans left a great comment saying which answer to look at. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 21, 2012 at 15:13

1 Answer 1


My answer is "close the question, but leave a friendly comment and an upvote".

Reasoning: Closing is not solely a vote on the quality of the question, but also makes the site run more efficiently. When a question has been closed, I don't need to spend time thinking about whether to answer it. When a question is an effective duplicate, as in these cases, it is better to get all of the answers onto one question, so that the same points don't get made twice.

However, question askers often perceive closing as an indication that their question was bad. In these cases, the question is not bad, so we should try to counteract that impression.


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