Science Fiction and Fantasy Stack Exchange has bad habit of marking a question as duplicate solely for the reason that it has been asked before. No consideration is taken to the quality of answers.

For example, this question What is Quorra made of in the real world? [duplicate]

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is marked duplicate and states it already has answer, to this question, Is Quorra human now?

No consideration is given to the quality of the answer,

I.e, the accepted answer is this,

enter image description here

However the accepted answer does not give an actual answer to the question being asked. Only an opinion.

So is a question that has been asked before considered a duplicate when the answer is not satisfactory, considering that the accepted answer is not made by the community, but by a single user?


3 Answers 3


Science Fiction and Fantasy Stack Exchange has bad habit of marking a question as duplicate solely for the reason that it has been asked before.


A question is a duplicate exactly and precisely if it has been asked before. That's the entire point of the duplicate system: not to have more than one identical copy of the same question.

It's a bad idea to have exactly the same question posted in two different places, especially if both get answers: some people will find one copy of the question, some will find the other, and neither will have the full range of answers (or exactly the same answers will be redundantly posted in both places). Why would you want to have two identical versions of the same question?

The answers are only to be taken into account as a secondary consideration, e.g. if it's not entirely clear whether the questions are duplicates or if both questions have answers and we need to decide which one to close. (This particular question was that unusual case of a question which was so obviously a duplicate that I was willing to dupehammer it with only one previous VTC.)

If you're not satisfied with the answers on a previous question, don't re-post the question. A better solution would be to start a bounty on the question, offering to reward anyone who posts a better answer. Or you could simply leave a comment on the answer asking for it to be improved.

  • So how do you inspire new content for and old question?
    – KyloRen
    Sep 11, 2016 at 11:24
  • 3
    @KyloRen Like I said, start a bounty on the question. That's what bounties are for. (Or leave a comment asking the existing answerer to improve their answer. Or ask in chat if there are any Tron Legacy experts around who want to write an answer.)
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Sep 11, 2016 at 11:26
  • So you are suggesting that people forfeit their rep so that some else can get that rep. Not very conducive to a site that thrives on users and reputation. Kind of backwards is is not?
    – KyloRen
    Sep 11, 2016 at 11:28
  • 1
    @KyloRen I'm suggesting that if you want a new answer to an existing question, even when an existing answer has been considered worthy of 12 upvotes and an accept by other users, then the best way to do that is by offering some of your own rep as an incentive.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Sep 11, 2016 at 11:34
  • So let me get this straight from a casual user's perspective. I join a site to gain rep, an answer does not answer a question, so I am obliged to give up that rep I joined in the first place to get , so someone else can receive that rep. Do I have that correct? In which case are you suggesting that rep does not matter to stackexchange forum's?
    – KyloRen
    Sep 11, 2016 at 11:39
  • 2
    @KyloRen Ah, but you're not a casual user. You have nearly 5000 rep; you can easily spare 50 or 100 of it to reward someone (perhaps even someone with less rep than you) who provides the answer you wanted. Remember also that the question has been answered, and the top answer has received twelve upvotes and an acceptance. If you are looking for a different answer to the question, even though others are satisfied with the existing one, then yes, you may have to offer up some rep to get it.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Sep 11, 2016 at 11:47
  • So your saying rep does not matter?
    – KyloRen
    Sep 11, 2016 at 11:54
  • 1
    @KyloRen No, I'm not.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Sep 11, 2016 at 13:16
  • So why would you suggest giving up rep for the cause of the web site? Is it not the stack that benifits from the traffic of the users?
    – KyloRen
    Sep 11, 2016 at 13:23
  • @KyloRen To get the answer you want.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Sep 11, 2016 at 13:24
  • So you are saying a company that is now valued at 400 million dollars due to its users does not value reputation, which it has been built on. Interesting point of view.
    – KyloRen
    Sep 11, 2016 at 13:33
  • 1
    @KyloRen No, I'm not saying that.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Sep 11, 2016 at 14:09
  • So why would you suggest giving up your own rep?
    – KyloRen
    Sep 11, 2016 at 14:10
  • @KyloRen If it would really pain you so much to set a bounty and only have 4750 rep instead of 4800 for a few hours, then you can always not do so. It was just a suggestion.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Sep 11, 2016 at 14:11
  • 1
    @KyloRen Bounties exist as a way for you to use your reputation to bring attention to questions you think are good questions with sub-par answers. Your "reputation" as an experienced memory of the site gives the question more weight that it genuinely is interesting. I don't know why you refuse to accept that this is a legitimate feature of the site?
    – KutuluMike
    Sep 11, 2016 at 22:57

The quality of answers is taken into account

There is no requirement to close the newer question. Closing as duplicates should be based on question (and answer) quality. According to a CM in this main meta answer:

If the new question is a better question or has better answers, then vote to close the old one as a duplicate of the new one.

That said, closing the new one as a duplicate of the older one almost always is a good idea.

  • If the duplicate is caught before it has any answers, then the older question will have better answers by default. Thus it should be closed per the advice in the linked meta answer. A possible exception might be when the newer one is much better written.
  • Closing duplicate questions prevents people from trying to get reputation by asking questions that already have answers.

Further, merely having an “unsatisfactory” answer does not mean that a question is a bad dupe target.

If a question is well-written and has multiple answers with sourcing/logical arguments, it has better answers than a new question that has none, by default. If the old question is very poorly written, it might be worth duping the old one to the new one, per the advice given above on question quality, but this is not usually the case.

In the case of What is Quorra made of in the real world?, the question had no answers when it was closed as a duplicate of Is Quorra human now?. The second question was not very poorly written compared to the first, and the second one had many answers. While they may have been somewhat opinion-based, the first question did not have any. Closing the first question as a duplicate of the second seems reasonable under the guidelines discussed above.


So when is a dupe a dupe?

A dupe is almost always a dupe

  • When the question is judged to be essentially identical
  • When the answers on the original question answer the question asked by the dupe without any substantial alteration.
  • When the answers on the original are judged to be 'respected' (as indicated by some level of upvoting by the community).

Note that an acceptance by the OP of either question isn't considered relevant except in the case of questions which have their own rules.

But wait, I don't like the answers on the original!

If you don't like the answers given, your options are always the same. You can

  • Prod people with comments to elicit clarification
  • Upvote/Downvote
  • Add a bounty
  • Research and post your own answer

In this instance, the question was almost identical, the original has upvoted answers and those answers could be copied/pasted onto the dupe without alteration. That makes it a dupe-close candidate.

You may also want to note that it's not down to the original user to judge it as a dupe (through their acceptance of one answer over another), but the community at large, 5 of whom are needed to vote on a dupe before it gets closed.

  • Exactly my point, this site has a bad habit of duping question JUST B/C THEY HAVE BEEN ASKED BEFORE. Nothing more nothing less. The answer to that question , does NOT answer the original question.
    – KyloRen
    Sep 11, 2016 at 11:03
  • 1
    @KyloRen - Actually he offers a range of possibilities, then ranks them by order of what he feels is the probability of each.
    – Valorum
    Sep 11, 2016 at 11:09
  • The accepted answer does not even come close to answering the question.
    – KyloRen
    Sep 11, 2016 at 11:12
  • 2
    @KyloRen - I can see that in your opinion it does not. That's why I've suggested a range of options for you to try to solicit an answer you're happier with.
    – Valorum
    Sep 11, 2016 at 11:13
  • Sorry, I don't follow. What do you mean?
    – KyloRen
    Sep 11, 2016 at 11:13
  • @KyloRen - In my opinion, his answer does answer your question. Not just my opinion though, it needs 5 votes for a close.
    – Valorum
    Sep 11, 2016 at 11:14
  • So what is Quorra made of? Sum it up for me.
    – KyloRen
    Sep 11, 2016 at 11:15
  • @KyloRen - This answer on the duplicate speculates that she's made up of all the normal building blocks of humans; carbon, oxygen, etc.
    – Valorum
    Sep 11, 2016 at 11:41
  • And yet speculating in a question warrants closure. A bit of continuity would go a long way.
    – KyloRen
    Sep 11, 2016 at 11:45

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