ETA: Superseded by Meta Question When I flag as dupe, can the system put the link to the answer and not the question?

This might be a little bit confusing, please bear with me.

As per this discussion: Should questions tagged as duplicates because of an answer be treated different?

What essentially happened is that I flagged the question as dupe, but when I did, I flagged with a link to an answer and not the question.
A very subtle difference, but it could help the OP and any mods / reviewers seeing the flag understand why I've made the flag, or where the duplication lies.

To clarify:
Could we please change the flagging process to accept links to answers and not just the question which contains the answer?

So when the users click on the link in

This question already has an answer here:
Link to Question x answers

they should, in these cases be taken to the answer, and not the question.

  • 4
    Why? The questions are usually subtly different so it makes sense to read the answers in the context of the question they were written to answer. – curiousdannii Jun 12 '14 at 10:32
  • 2
    @curiousdannii Sometimes the questions aren't subtly different but totally. Still there might be an answer to the dupe-question. All the more it makes sense to link to the answer and not the question. – Einer Jun 12 '14 at 13:17
  • 3
    if the questions are totally different, should it still be tagged as a dupe? – sigber Jun 14 '14 at 17:20
  • 4
    @sigber Intuitively I'd say no. But there is a certain consensus that the answer is yes. There are pros and cons regarding that, but the matter of fact is that that's the way it's dealt with. Given that, I support the idea of linking answers and not questions. – Einer Jun 15 '14 at 5:46
  • 1
    No, it cannot :) – user3459110 Jun 17 '14 at 9:24
  • 2
    @sigber: If the questions are totally different, they emphatically must not be marked as duplicate. Unfortunately, that has never stopped the users of this site. – Martha Feb 28 '16 at 2:52


That is the long and the short of it. The fact that many high-rep users of SFF (including the moderators) get this wrong doesn't change the fact that they're wrong.

As Robert Harvey answered to your Meta question,

Questions are duplicates only when the questions themselves are duplicates. In other words, you can't close a question as a duplicate of another question just because "you can find your answer over here."

The only exception to this are canonical questions; these are questions that are asked and answered specifically to address a category of questions that are always answered the same way.

If you're sick and tired of questions about Horcruxes, write a canonical question and answer about Horcruxes and refer people to it. If you can't actually write a canonical q&a (which I suspect is likely, given that it's not actually a clear-cut subject and new information does still crop up courtesy of Pottermore), then don't close new questions about Horcruxes as duplicates of other questions that happen to have a mention of Horcruxes in an aside in one of the 14 wordy answers.

To put it another way, if you find yourself wanting to point your "duplicate of" link to an answer instead of a question, stop: the questions are not duplicates.

  • 2
    I've actually spent a considerable amount of time de-duping all the Star Wars canon questions. It's such a shame all that effort was wasted... :-) – Valorum Jun 12 '15 at 18:52
  • 3
    In your first paragraph, what do you mean by "wrong"? Consensus in the SFF.SE community for as long as I've been here has been that answers do make questions duplicates - if question A is answered by one of the answers to question B, then A is a dupe of B (this is even supported by the text in the dupe-banner, "This question already has an answer here") - so by what definition is it "wrong" to follow this rule? – Rand al'Thor Mod Feb 27 '16 at 15:54
  • 9
    @randal'thor: I mean exactly what I said. SFF gets this wrong, and the fact that you've been getting it wrong for many years doesn't change the fact that it's wrong. Conceptually, the practice is no better than pointing an asker at a lengthy journal article and saying "your answer's in there somewhere", which is why most other SE sites have explicit guidance against it. That, plus it's singularly unfriendly to askers. – Martha Feb 28 '16 at 2:47
  • I think the way we enforce this is more nuanced than your summary judgment makes this seem. We generally close as duplicate for questions where the answer is the same because they're really the same question in a different dress, or one question encompasses the other (and it does indeed also answer the question). – user31178 Feb 28 '16 at 3:50
  • 2
    Also, see How should duplicate questions be handled?: "When are two questions considered duplicates? Basically, questions are duplicates if they have the same (potential) answers. This includes not only word-for-word duplicates, but also the same idea expressed in different words." – user31178 Feb 28 '16 at 3:51
  • 8
    @CreationEdge: I agree that two questions that are essentially asking the same thing could be worded very differently. However, this feature request is only possible because people have an incorrect idea about what "close as duplicate" means. To put it another way, if the questions are so different that you have to resort to pointing at one particular answer in order for the "duplication" to be evident, that means that there is no duplication. – Martha Feb 28 '16 at 5:49
  • 4
    I don't feel this feature request is necessary, either, but your bold (yelling) intro paints a black and white picture that I disagreed with. (And calling our stack wrong, when I don't think we normally do things as you've ascribed). It's a very combative way of addressing the issue, and really introduces a new issue (when closing for dupe is abused). I think that other issue definitely needs to be addressed, with links to existing problem questions if possible, so we can reopen them. – user31178 Feb 28 '16 at 6:05
  • 6
    @CreationEdge: Some people but their headers in caps, others put them in proper case. I've never treated a header as "yelling" before. But to play devil's advocate here: if we have a question of what is 3+3 that has an accepted answer of 6, and someone else comes in and asks what is 54/9, is the logical outcome here really that they're duplicate questions? Because that doesn't really make sense. – Ellesedil Mar 1 '16 at 18:25
  • @Ellesedil That's not really a comparable scenario. Say someone asks what 54/9 is, it'd be a dupe of "How do I perform division?" – user31178 Mar 1 '16 at 18:34
  • 3
    @CreationEdge: sigh Then I guess every question about horcruxes is really, "How do I read a book, a website, or a twitter feed?" – Ellesedil Mar 1 '16 at 18:38
  • 1
    @Ellesedil That's needlessly obtuse. The Horcrux example is not a logical leap from the "How do I do a basic math problem." They're not at all analogous. There are plenty of same answer == dupe question cases on both SO and SE.Meta. Perfect example is these 691 null pointer exception questions and 303 null reference exceptions many of which with quite distinct issues leading to the problem. – user31178 Mar 1 '16 at 20:26
  • @CreationEdge: And I thought you were needlessly obtuse as well. I tried to use a stripped-down, basic example to illustrate my point, which you promptly ignored and then re-branded. In any case, I don't find your example relevant either because just about all of those are pretty much "How do I fix this exception?" They are all asking the same thing with the only difference being some details on how they arrived to that point. We don't really have questions like that here. – Ellesedil Mar 1 '16 at 20:51
  • @Ellesedil Yes, we do, and those are the ones that should be dupes, not others – user31178 Mar 1 '16 at 21:21
  • @CreationEdge: Sorry, what I mean by "we don't have questions like that", is that we don't really have questions that are full of user-generated content that then ask a question about the content they've written. The questions we get here aren't really the same as the ones asked on StackOverflow. Programmers would be closer, since asking about tools/practices/etc would be more similar to asking about books/movies/etc. – Ellesedil Mar 1 '16 at 21:24

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .