A question of mine was just declared a duplicate. No problem. I feel frustrated though, because when I got to the question over an hour ago there was a notice asking me to edit the question, with new details, if I didn't think it was a duplicate. Being new here, I don't know how everything works. The issue seemed a bit complex to me so I chose to edit instead of clicking acceptance.

So after about 45 minutes I completed editing the question, and clicked [Save]. It didn't get saved. !?!?? I saw that the question had just been declared a duplicate 43 seconds prior. No further edits were possible.

... 😱 ... 😵 ... Aw, shucks!

Fortunately, my browser let me click back to the intact editing page. I captured my response, which for your viewing pleasure (and my high blood pressure) is pasted below.

(response to "duplicate" notice)

  1. The series Soul Rider is indeed the short answer to both questions.
  2. The original question, however, provides only background information (so far as I could tell) for the first 3 volumes -- written and published as a trilogy. Instead the question apparently concerns itself with volumes 4 and 5, which was/were prequel story(ies) published after the trilogy. From book summaries, they are science fiction telling of an interstellar human civilization and how it eventually came to found a colony on an isolated planet and begin terraforming it. The question describes them losing track of technology.
  3. The events in item 2 probably predate the trilogy by hundreds or thousands of years, with different characters. The first volume of the trilogy, where my question begins, appears as a fantasy story about a medieval civilization with magic. Over the course of the trilogy you learn more about the world, and by the third volume you realize that it has been a science fiction story all along.
  4. The questions are completely different, describing different things. But if it is common practice in SF&F to declare::link as duplicates such questions if they have the same answer, I have no objection. Hopefully the linkage will go both ways though, so people with knowledge only of the trilogy can know about the prequels, and people who know only about the prequels can find the trilogy.

    • Q1: I'm looking for a series of movies about a little boy who rides a flying speed racer. He grows up, makes friends, has adventures, and fights a lot of people. He doesn't like sand. I think he yells near the end, like he was really sad or something. But maybe he didn't.
    • Q2: I'm looking for a series of movies, a trilogy I think, about a teenage boy. He meets some robots and an old guy, and then his parents are killed by some bad guys. He makes more friends, has adventures, and fights a lot of people. One of the bad guys can't breathe very well and wears a big helmet. Now he says he's the kid's father. In the end there is a big fight, and they blow up the really big spaceship of the bad guys. Then they do it again, this time with help from a bunch of teddy bears.
    • Once they have answers, are Q1 and Q2 duplicates?
  • 19
    Being declared a duplicate shouldn't stop a question from being edited. Closed questions can certainly be edited; in fact, it's even encouraged to do so if there's a chance of the question being reopened. So I'm not sure what went wrong with your edit.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 23:20
  • @Randal'Thor see my 2nd comment to Valorum's answer. I see the addendum did actually make it to the post. It just didn't show immediately after editing. I guess it's possible it was there, and I just somehow missed it.
    – RichF
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 23:27
  • 1
    @Rand and to add to that: in fact making an edit once it's been closed/marked as duplicate, automatically places the question in the re-open queue.
    – Möoz
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 0:57
  • 3
    +1 for "aw, shucks!"
    – SQB
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 12:45

1 Answer 1


You've said it right there in your edit

"The series Soul Rider is indeed the short answer to both questions.".

Which makes them duplicates, per our accepted policy

Now, there might be subtle nuance that you'd like to share with future readers (such as that your question relates to parts x and y whereas the duplicate only mentions parts a, b and c) but that doesn't make them not duplicates. Add a comment and move on.

  • 2
    Please don't interpret this as a rant. I'm in no way angry, and I know they are duplicate answers. After seeing that 45 minutes of my time had been defeated by 43 seconds, I thought some folks in meta might find both the situation and my edit to be humorous. So I shared it and have moved on.
    – RichF
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 23:05
  • @RichF - Don't be frustrated. In the words of the Uber-Morlock, "You have your answer, now go!"
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 23:06
  • Actually, I think I need to apologize. The above edit is somehow now part of the original question. It wasn't there right after clicking [Save] though. <sigh> Sorry.
    – RichF
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 23:08
  • 2
    @RichF - The only foolish question is the one you didn't ask for fear of looking foolish.
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 1:25
  • 10
    If short answers are frowned on here, why are two questions duplicates just because they have the same short answer? If the short answer to two questions is "bad writing" does that make them duplicates? If the short answer to both is "yes" are they duplicates? Over on math.SE I don't think they close questions as duplicates because the answer to both is π/4.
    – user14111
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 7:47
  • 2
    @user14111 Thank you for making a case on my behalf. Both questions (mine and the original) had good, helpful answers. By my use of "short answer" in the original post, I mean "summarized answer"; there were other details besides the series' name. Also, I have accepted the classification of my question as a duplicate. If anything, my inner word nerd growls at the terminology duplicate question. The questions are obviously different, it is the answers which are "duplicates".
    – RichF
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 8:14
  • 3
    @RichF - While the answer to "What colour is Bilbo's book?" and "What colour were Gondor's arrows?" are both "Red", they wouldn't be dupes since the fuller answer would be "His book is Red" and "Their arrows were red", followed by a brief quote proving it.
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 12:12
  • Slightly complicating things, a short answer which covered all five books is also marked as a duplicate.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 16:25
  • 5
    The recent Galaxy Quest question illustrates exactly why site policy is so asinine: yes, the movie that both the "aliens believe tv show is real" and the "rock monsters on Mars" questions were looking for is Galaxy Quest, but nevertheless, the responses to each question don't even pretend to address, let alone answer, the other question: The "aliens" answer doesn't even mention rock monsters, and the "Mars" answer doesn't mention a tv show.
    – Martha
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 15:45
  • 1
    @Martha - Yes, but it does mention the property that the OP is trying to locate, and anyone searching for Mars and Rock Monsters will be rapidly shown to the correct answer.
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 15:50
  • @Valorum: it has always been SO policy that answers should be complete and correct, without requiring the user to go elsewhere to find the actual answer. Why do you believe SFF should be an exception to this policy?
    – Martha
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 15:26
  • @Martha - Because SO is a moderation nightmare with review queues that are so lengthy and bloated that even with a couple of dozen mods they regularly hit triple digits and where their dupe reviews are so poor that they need to use auto-policed answers to stop reviewers from making crap decisions? I don't think we should model ourselves on failure. ..
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 18:18
  • @Valorum: I meant SO as in the company, not the programming-specific site. (SE was a better name, but TPTB decided that brand recognition was more important than lack of confusion.) So, to restate: it has always been the policy of the whole Stack[InsertNameHere] network that answers should be complete and correct. Why do you believe that SFF should be an exception to this policy?
    – Martha
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 20:07
  • @Martha - You seem incredibly invested in trying to make this change, and have been (unsuccessfully) pushing it for multiple years now. Almost the only time I ever see your name on the site is in relation to duplicate questions that you feel should remain open. Perhaps you could explain to me why this would be a positive change for the better, aside from "that's how they do it elsewhere".
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 20:22
  • 5
    @Valorum: those should not be closed as duplicates, because not every answer to the "why did Han shoot first" question is guaranteed to even address, let alone answer, the "who's this guy" question. Frankly, it boggles my mind that you would even consider closing such completely different questions as duplicates.
    – Martha
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 22:33

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