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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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 it's there.
  • 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 is not some strong compelling reason to covering Question A alone, separately from Question B. (If the above bullet points are met this rarely happens.)

The idea here is it's the same question with an obvious answer. Someone redirected from Question A to B can see obviously why they were redirected and 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.

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 typically occurs when we establish a high-quality canonical question to handle a subject straightforwardly that's previously been handled messily in various earlier questions.
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    \$\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\$ – Mindwin Oct 17 '17 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\$ – doppelgreener Oct 17 '17 at 23:05
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    \$\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\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 18 '17 at 1:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ How can you have duplicate something that wasn't made first? \$\endgroup\$ – Eternallord66 Jan 7 at 14:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Eternallord66 What do you mean? Given any 2 questions, either one can be made a duplicate of the other. Timestamp isn't a restriction. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jan 7 at 14:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener It's common sense. A question cannot be a duplicate of a question that hasn't been asked yet. Duplicate is making a copy of. How can you copy something that doesn't exist? The older question could never be a duplicate no matter what the answers are. The older question just needs a better answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Eternallord66 Jan 7 at 14:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Eternallord66 That's taking it a bit too literally. Duplicating just means setting up a signpost that says "see this other question instead, since they both cover the same thing". I use the last half of this answer to explain when we'll close as duplicates of newer questions. I also make it clear it is not the norm. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jan 7 at 14:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener If it is just a signpost then it should have the related tag somewhere and not a closed as duplicate on it. \$\endgroup\$ – Eternallord66 Jan 7 at 14:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's not how this works, and this is not the place to take up beef with the duplicate feature. We can, and sometimes do, close forwards. We've found it makes tons of sense and can be very helpful. I suggest spending time investigating why instead of arguing it makes no sense at all. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jan 7 at 15:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener I did read it. Just because you and 23 people agree with you doesn't make you right. You may be right but also could not be right. If you had hundreds of upvotes then maybe. \$\endgroup\$ – Eternallord66 Jan 7 at 15:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Eternallord66 I am not saying "23 people agree with me therefore I'm right". I'm saying this is something we've done a lot of times already and something that is normal to do, here and elsewhere on the network. You're spending energy fighting that it makes no sense, instead of seeking to understand. Explaining that it makes no sense at all isn't a good way to move forward here... because obviously it does and can, or we would have stopped doing it. The situation is you personally don't understand why and when that makes sense yet, but the way to address that is to investigate and learn. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jan 7 at 15:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Bear in mind we've been doing it this way for ten years. We have had ten years of opportunities to find problems with this, and found no problems yet that indicate it's unworkable such that we must never do it this way again. Many other practices have shown major problems in less than one year and we've assessed and stopped doing them. This particular practice has been tried and found to be fine, and helpful in the limited circumstances in which we do it. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jan 7 at 15:13

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