Situation — there are two different questions Aq and Bq. Question Aq has a specific answer Aa. Question Bq has a good detailed answer, which includes points Aa, Ba and Ca.

Should Aq be closed as a duplicate of Bq? Or does "duplicate" imply that Bq has to be a duplicate of Aq as well?

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1 Answer 1


We close Question A as a duplicate of Question B only when all of the following is true:

  • It's the same question, or Question A is already covered obviously as a subset of Question B. “Obvious” here means I can tell at a glance that Question A would be covered by Question B.
  • Question B has an obvious answer to Question A. “Obvious” here means I get a straightforward answer without hard searching — a couple of sentences buried in the middle of a post, or an answer which only sort of implies an answer to Question A, doesn't count as obvious.
  • There isn't a strong, compelling reason to cover Question A alone, separately from Question B. (If the above bullet points are met, this rarely happens.)

The idea here is that it's the same question with an obvious answer. Someone redirected from Question A to B should be able to see obviously why they were redirected, and be able to find a satisfactory answer.

I've seen people decide something like “Well, this question about this specific feat is already covered by this other question about combat in the third paragraph of one answer”, which isn't good enough to warrant closing the question as a duplicate.

On timing: We prefer closing newer questions as a dupe of the older question, unless there's a major quality benefit the other way around. Some examples of when there's such a quality benefit:

  • The older one isn't answered (or has bad answers), and the new one has good answers.
  • The newer question is flat-out better written, easier to follow, and generally more useful for anyone interested in that line of inquiry. Answers to it are equal or better ("both have no answers" is equal).

This second scenario typically occurs when we establish a high-quality canonical question to straightforwardly handle a subject that's previously been handled messily in various earlier questions.

  • 13
    \$\begingroup\$ +1, but please, please, please rule dupes like a half-orc barb that dumpstated both INT and WIS. If Groo can't see clearly that they are not dupes, then give the benefit of doubt and let OP explain themselves. Listen first (it is actually reading, but still....) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 22:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mindwin That's a good measure for what "obvious" should look like. If it's not obvious to Groo, it's not obvious enough to be a duplicate. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 23:05
  • 11
    \$\begingroup\$ @Mindwin Keep in mind though that our process for obvious dupes doesn't involve waiting for the OP to explain. We dupe first, and then the OP has an opportunity to edit to explain any difference. (The dupe banner says that even.) We shouldn't start letting clear duplicates slide just to give the OP twice the opportunity to explain. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 1:44

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