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Today, I came across a situation that makes for a very good illustration of the reason for my most recent meta question -- several questions have been asked, answered, and/or accepted about an old TV movie called "The Questor Tapes."

The questions are as follows:

Per apparent broad consensus, the community-desired outcome would be to choose one of the four accepted answers above as the "best" of the lot, and to close the other three questions with accepted answers as duplicates of it. Note that this means that the challenge is to decide which is the best of the group, not simply whether any one is better than any other.

There are pros and cons for each post (taking both Q&A into account), as I see it:

  • Jan 30 2014 - highest votes for Q&A, oldest question with accepted answer, formally accepted, but focuses on very specific scene
  • Nov 21 2016 - distinctive higher-level plot feature (reveal about historical figures being androids), answer has photos, but not formally accepted
  • Aug 20 2017 - clearest overall plot summary, formally accepted, but Q&A are both very terse and potentially confusable with other films
  • Jun 26 2019 - distinctive higher-level plot feature (incompletely programmed android), at least one picture, formally accepted, but Q&A of only basic overall quality

The question that has attracted the most links from others is ironically the only one of the five without an accepted answer.

Since many people seem to have strong opinions about what makes for "better" questions and answers, I'm inviting you all to chime in with an answer below that makes a case for one of the four answers deemed accepted by the rules for closing duplicates. I'm very interested to see what kind of reasoning garners the most support.

As a courtesy, I would request that nobody close any of the answers as duplicates until there has been a chance for a discussion to develop here. These questions have remained open for some time, and there is no pressing reason to close them until an attempt to reach consensus can be made.

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    IMO, neither vote count nor age should really be considered factors. Accepted by comment only isn't ideal for a target. Answers can be improved (applies to last 2). – DavidW Jun 26 at 15:10
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    Can't we have multiple dupe links these days? – Skooba Jun 27 at 13:53
  • @Skooba - We can. Gold badge holders can also add them – Valorum Jun 27 at 16:57
  • @DavidW, can you elaborate on your logic with a formal answer instead of just a comment? I am especially interested in the "answers can be improved" angle, for two reasons. First, in my own experience, any substantive change to an existing answer is frowned upon and likely to be reversed. Second, the nature of "improvement" is really the heart of the matter here, and I would appreciate hearing what that means to you. – Otis Jun 28 at 14:42
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    Alternatively, we should get rid of the policy closing questions as dupes because they have sort-of the same answer. The answers to these questions are all targeted to the features of the movie the questioner remembered, as they should be. Closing any of them to another as a dupe makes no sense, and just causes confusion among people not learned in arcana around how questions get closed. – Shamshiel Jun 30 at 12:58
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    This question is just an illustration of how stupid it is to close questions as duplicates of each other simply because their answers are similar. – Martha Jul 5 at 17:45
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As you are asking for opinions that can apply to any set of questions, I haven't done more than glance at the examples you linked to.

My suggestion is to go with the Q&A pair that best describes the story. That means giving priority to those describing higher level plot features over those that deal only with a specific scene. Questions that are so terse that they could apply to many stories probably do not best describe the story.

While having a formally accepted answer is not a requirement, I think that many people who follow a link to a dupe question expect that the answer they have been promised is the accepted answer to the dupe target. If there is a choice of valid Q&As that could be the dupe target (they all clearly describe the story), I would give preference to a Q&A where there is a formally accepted answer and that answer is the one that clearly identifies the story.

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    Former policy is that it doesn't matter if it is formally or informally accepted. – TheLethalCarrot Jun 27 at 8:04
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    @TheLethalCarrot I'm simply saying that when there are two good Q&A pairs, it makes sense to pick the one where the good answer is the accepted one as that is the one most people will assume they are being pointed to. – Blackwood Jun 27 at 20:20
  • Policy is that accepted for story id just means confirmation that it is the correct work. It doesn't matter how it is accepted so preferring one type of acceptance over another doesn't make much sense. It is highly unlikely that two posts will be the same level of quality so just pick the one with the better quality. In the case where they are exactly the same quality (I highly, highly doubt this will ever be the case) pick either, it doesn't matter. – TheLethalCarrot Jul 1 at 10:11
  • Also see here and here where an answer on the latter even states don't use checkmarks for a measure of quality. – TheLethalCarrot Jul 1 at 10:13

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