A question I posed, Why was Prof. Lockhart in Ravenclaw house, has been flagged as a duplicate because of an answer given to the question, Which house was Gilderoy Lockhart in? that really does attempt to address the question of "why" as well as the question of "which."

Given the meta discussion here and the answer to this meta question, I totally get where the flag comes from and understand how a person searching for my question would, in the end, be led to the answer given.

However, in my mind, the accepted answer to the original question does not satisfactorily answer the question I asked. The answer given, simply speculates that Gilderoy asked to be in Ravenclaw and so he was. This speculation is made on the premise that the hat considers the wearer's choice in house. However, the sorting hat let Harry choose, "not Slytherin," which is actually quite different from a kid specifically choosing a house. Also, there was another suitable house for Harry - I don't know that Lockhart had another suitable option as he clearly was not a hard-worker(Hufflepuff), Brave of heart and chivalrous (Gryffindor), or Intelligent (Ravenclaw - where he was sorted). As far as I know, there is no canon evidence that the hat regularly just lets someone choose just because they are choosing.

If the other question had multiple perspectives addressing both questions, I could see where this would work, or if the answer to the question was absolute fact and backed by a clear canon quote so there was no question as to what the answer was, that would be different, but in this case, the answer given within the answer to the first question is NOT clearly the one and only correct answer to the second question - due to its speculative nature.

In any case, there are points about this other answer than can be argued against, and I'd like a little more analysis, using canon than is offered in the original posting. Is it fair to determine two different questions are duplicates just because one of the questions has an answer that happens to address the other question - especially if that answer is speculative?

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    Link the other one in the question and explain (like above) why it isn't sufficient. At the moment, the close-voters probably thought you didn't see the other question.
    – Izkata
    Dec 22, 2013 at 22:59
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    It's called a possible duplicate for a reason ;)
    – Izkata
    Dec 22, 2013 at 23:00
  • I didn't see the other question. I saw the title and didn't connect it as a duplicate as they are two very different questions and wasn't yet aware of the duplicate answers aspect to things. I know it is still in the "possible" status, but I'm asking more generally as well. It stinks to have your question labeled as a possible duplicate as your chances of down votes go up (there seem to be some community members that just down vote anything labled as such) and in my experience, possible duplicates get fewer answers as quickly. I hope others in a similar situation might not have the same. Dec 23, 2013 at 3:29

2 Answers 2


I would say that in an example such as the one given, no, it isn't. If the answer were a clear and definitive answer supported with canon quotes from the author or author's works I can see how the current standard works well and should remain standing.

However, in this instance the answer given is not the only possibile answer out there, is speculative in nature, and uses only one element from the books to form an assumption (that may not be accurate to begin with). Shouldn't the asker of the second question then, as well as the community of voters get some voice or opportunity to offer up opposing viewpoints and choose the best answer for this specific question.

In other words, if the two questions are not in fact duplicates and the answer given in the first question is speculative in nature, the two questions should not be marked as duplicates. Instead a "related" link could be included with the one answer on the other question summarized, while other voices can also offer up alternative answers.


From Deathly Hallows:

‘Albus Severus,’ Harry said quietly, so that nobody but Ginny could hear, and she was tactful enough to pretend to be waving to Rose, who was now on the train, ‘you were named for two headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them was a Slytherin and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew.’

‘But just say –’

‘– then Slytherin house will have gained an excellent student, won’t it? It doesn’t matter to us, Al. But if it matters to you, you’ll be able to choose Gryffindor over Slytherin. The Sorting Hat takes your choice into account.’


‘It did for me,’ said Harry.

Deathly Hallows - page 607 - Bloomsbury - Epilogue, Nineteen Years Later

As I mentioned in my comment to you, I realize this isn't perfect wording, but Harry is quite clear that his son can choose his house placement, and this is the second element in the books to support the premise that a first-year can choose his or her house.

So, were I to find two semi-related questions with the above quote as an answer (using that just as an example) I would VTC as duplicate questions. However, if the questions were totally unrelated except for maybe a few words and there was a call to VTC one or the other, I would not support that.

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