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Let's say someone is wondering about something, do a quick search and find nothing relevant, so post his question. Then some people point out that the answer already exists on some other question (and they are right!), like in Does a magic item used as an improvised weapon count as a magic weapon? the OP wants to know about whether magic items count as magic weapon too and the answer is in two other questions that wouldn't be found for a search like "improvised magic weapon".

So now the guy who posted the question got his answer, nice! But other people who will look for the same question will find the guy's question, with no answer but links to the duplicates. That's not that bad: they just have to follow the links. In some case however it can become quite bothering when you have to follow a link and then look through all the questions to find the one that is answering your problem. And then you can't really ask for more precision as the answer can be very old and you could even be off-topic.

Of course, on the example I linked the problem is very minor (there are only two answers on each questions), but I remember to have seen on stackoverflow (not rpg.se) links that send you to another question which is also closed as a duplicate, which send you to another one with more than 100 answers... etc. Obviously we are not going to have any problem of that scale, but shouldn't we try to promote new questions that have a better title instead of old ones that won't be stumbled upon by most of people?

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Part of the purpose of duplicates is to help people find a question's answers. We like duplicates because they often have different titles and ways of asking the question — it gives searchers more ways to find the information. (See also this meta.SE FAQ, at the penultimate paragraph.)

So that part is working just as designed. Yes, having to click a link can be a minor bother, but it's built deep into the way SE works, so its not avoidable.

That said, yes, we do have a minor preference for duplicating toward the better question with the better answers. However, merely having a better title is not enough to count as the better question— the duplication process already takes care of differences in title for us. To count as a duplicate worth marking as duplicate forward in time instead of the usual backward, from observation it has to be the clearly superior question and have better answers, in order to get that kind of community support.

As for process, voting for the duplicate to be closed in the other direction is one way to start. However, that can't happen without answers. When it's already been duplicate-closed though, or more attention needs to be drawn to the matter (maybe because to get the desired “main” question answers, it needs to be reopened, or merged, or something similarly drastic), the way to make that happen is to ask a meta question about the , proposing that we handle the duplication in a particular way.

This specific question

Is this question clearly superior? Maybe. I like it, personally: it's clear, the example is unambiguous, it has a good title. I don't think my like of it is enough for the decision to be made though.

To get clarity on that from a broad section of the community, you might want to ask a question specifically proposing what you think we should do and why, without mixing it together with the general question of how duplicates get handled. This meta question might draw clear answers on the specific question instead of the general matter though, so you might still want to wait to see if a clear community consensus on the specific question develops here. If not though, a clear meta question without clutter about a more general issue is a good way to get clear, focused discussion on the specific question's handling.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I am not really worried about this specific question: it was more about how the general problem is handled and I put that as an example since it was the one that made me thought about it. \$\endgroup\$ – Anne Aunyme Apr 26 '17 at 18:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AnneAunyme Cool, then the focus on the general issue is on-point. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 26 '17 at 18:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ It might be worth pointing out that if the body of a question is clear and answerable (and answered) but has a bad title, then there's an easy solution: edit it to have a better title. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Mar 18 at 22:25
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What you describe is the stack working as advertised

Let's say someone is wondering about something, do a quick search and find nothing relevant, so post his question. Then some people point out that the answer already exists on some other question (and they are right!), like in {the linked question}.

People have varying skills with using search terms, when they bother to search before asking a question. This stack's community of users have enough depth of experience, in aggregate, that the community can helpfully alert someone, and all reading the question, to this issue already being addressed by another question and answer. (Or that it probably is, depending on what one writes in comments when raising that alert).

but shouldn't we try to promote new questions that have a better title instead of old ones that won't be stumbled upon by most of people?

As you mentioned already, we don't have the scale of problem you saw on the other stack, so while we can assist with edits as questions are posted and worked into good shape, I don't see a significant problem, in terms of scope. The editing of titles in my view ought to be done as a question arises and the text/title don't match very well. It should be self contained.

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