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I just posted a second answer to my game identification question: Searching for video game like Xevious but with more interesting bosses —the reason being that I discovered that I had combined elements of two completely different games in my question.

I am adding a second, separate answer here, because I have located a different source for one part of what I was asking about in the original question.

is how I explained what I was doing. However, I realized that I did not really have a clear picture of how we should handle questions like this—particularly with respect to closing duplicates.

This Meta question: How to deal with abandoned potential multiple story identifications? tries to address a specific issue (involving what to do "if the question is abandoned") that could arise when somebody conflates material from two or more stories in a single question. That is not an entirely uncommon occurrence. Here is another question where I identified both stories: 1970's sci-fi short story in 4th grade reading anthology and which was not closed as a duplicate of "The Fun They Had" but has, in fact, been used as a dupe target for The Forgotten Door. The duplicate issue is where I am concerned about a lack of clarity in how to handle things.

It seems like when the querent is asking mainly about a single work, with some details from another work sprinkled in there, we can reasonably treat the question as being answered by the main work. Hence we handle the above question about two different stories that appeared in two volumes of Holt Basic Reading System as essentially a question about The Forgotten Door. Likewise, my video game question is much more about Terra Cresta than Alpha Mission.

However, it is easy to envisage situations where a question is really closer to an equal mixture of two works, which may both be identified in a single accepted answer. How should we adjudicate duplicate status in that case?

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  • Not sure if it’s a route we want to take but good badge holders and mods can edit the dupe list to add multiple targets. We can always close to each remembered work if possible.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Dec 28, 2021 at 9:36
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    @TheLethalCarrot - I think OP is asking about questions where the dupe is singular but relates to a question with multiple answers, not the other way around.
    – Valorum
    Dec 28, 2021 at 9:46
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    @TheLethalCarrot - I like to think that I'm a good badge holder.
    – Valorum
    Dec 28, 2021 at 14:15
  • Another "multiple story-ID" question that I answered: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/65344/… Jan 5 at 16:36
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    If you acknowledge that having some answers that are similar-ish doesn't magically make questions into duplicates, this would be a non-issue... (In particular, a question that doesn't conflate two things should never ever be marked as a duplicate of a question that does conflate things.)
    – Martha
    Jan 7 at 3:17

1 Answer 1

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These cases are very rare indeed. I'd probably mark it as a duplicate of the conflated question, then leave a comment explaining to future readers which of the properties mention is the actual dupe

"Hi, I've marked this as a dupe of Duplicate Target which mentions two novels, Foo and Bar. This one is Foo."

Note that OP must have already indicated which property was the right answer before it gets duped off anyway, since we don't dupe questions that aren't solved.

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  • If you need to point out which of multiple answers may have the castle you're looking for, ahem, sorry, the answer, you're officially Doing It Totally Wrong.
    – Martha
    Jan 7 at 3:20
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    @Martha - "Where do the Queen of England's children live"?
    – Valorum
    Jan 7 at 8:16
  • A complete and correct answer to that question will list all of the children. Any answer that only gives a domicile for one child would be incomplete, and thus incorrect. So your point is...?
    – Martha
    Jan 10 at 15:50
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    @Martha - My point is that that question, while answerable, would be a duplicate of "Where does Prince Charles Live?", "Where does Princess Anne live?", etc. You would need to point to several castles.
    – Valorum
    Jan 10 at 16:00
  • I (rather vehemently and strongly) disagree that "where do these 4 people live" is the same question as "where does this one person live". More to the point, it serves nobody to kill questions with fire just because you vaguely remember seeing a note that might be relevant in that one answer to a completely different question.
    – Martha
    Jan 10 at 17:24
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    @Martha - I think you're making my point for me. It's not a dupe of that one question on its own, but rather a dupe of multiple questions, hence why we now have the ability to mark more than one question as a dupe target
    – Valorum
    Jan 10 at 17:41
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    [resigned sigh] I know you're so entrenched in your beliefs that nobody will ever convince you otherwise, but how do you get from "not the same question" to "making my point for me"? [/ I should just stop, on the "mud-wrestling with a pig" principle]
    – Martha
    Jan 10 at 17:45
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    @Martha - That "Where do bob and sue live?" is a dupe of both "where does bob live?" and "where does sue live" and that pointing that out isn't "doing it wrong"
    – Valorum
    Jan 10 at 18:16

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