Please note that this isn't one of the many questions on this site asking "why was my question closed".

I'm just wondering whether it's right to mark a question that is an earlier iteration, such as my first question on my runecaster feat, as a dupe of a later iteration, such as the second iteration of my question on my runecaster feat?

(Note that iteration questions have been defined as ok in this question.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ It seems in this case like the dupe mechanism is just being used to establish a clear chain of connection between your different iterations of the question. I admit that makes the terminology a bit weird, but it doesn't seem inherently troublesome - presumably, now that you've iterated on your homebrew, you need feedback on the newer version, not the older one, so pointing people that way seems sensible. \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Oct 23 '18 at 7:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Carcer would it not be more sensible to put the link in an edit to the question (without changing anything else) rather than risking people getting confused and trying to close the question? \$\endgroup\$ – rpgstar Oct 23 '18 at 8:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tiggerous I didn't want to preempt the user who actually marked the dupe from explaining their logic but you're right, I guess that is an answer in and of itself. \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Oct 23 '18 at 9:03

We should probably not be closing as duplicate this way.

I've checked with a Code Review moderator about how they handle this. (Code review is currently my measuring stick for what makes successful iterative review.) They specifically do not close version 1 as a duplicate of version 2.

They do require version 2 to link back to version 1, which puts version 2 in the links sidebar of version 1. Sometimes a user will also edit version 1 to point forward to version 2.

They don't close as duplicate for two reasons:

  1. Duplicates silently redirect users to the duplicate target, at least for anonymous visitors (which are ≥90% of our site traffic).
  2. They're not actually the same questions, they don't have the same content and responses.

Point 1 there is the main concern. It sounds like it's helpful but it actually presents a problem. The pragmatic usefulness of a homebrew review question comes in two ways:

  1. We help the user improve their homebrew.
  2. We also build up a knowledge base of reference on better understanding how to craft successful homebrew through an accumulation of analysis, deconstruction, and feedback. Speaking as a homebrewer for a different non-TTRPG game, it's this accumulation of analysis that helps me learn how to build better homebrew content because I can learn from what other content did right or wrong.

Duplicates disrupt #2: if users get silently redirected away from earlier versions (without even know it's happened) it shuts away feedback and makes it harder to see and access. Someone clicking a link to version 1 (with tons of useful feedback) gets forwarded on silently to version 2 (which is much improved, but has very little feedback) and doesn't get to see the version 1 that lead to those improvements in version 2. As a user unfamiliar with our site they don't even know how to get back to version 1, and don't even know they were forwarded away from it and that there is a version 1 to reach.

This means the knowledge base we'd be otherwise building up is mostly inaccessible and hidden away. That's a problem we create by closing as duplicate.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I wasn't aware that duplicates automatically redirected anonymous users. That's quite a downside! (I was also going to post another answer saying that this was a misuse of the duplicate system and let my answers fight each other but I had a meeting to go to and you've explained that side of the argument better than I could've now). \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Oct 23 '18 at 10:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Carcer wow. I also had no idea. I was just closing them so they wouldn't be answered with the one close reason that can link to others. I'm going to reopen them. My initial justification doesn't quite work now that I see this answer. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Oct 23 '18 at 15:16

Full disclosure: I was the user who had originally marked them as duplicates.

I was attempting to prevent new answers to outdated questions by directing users to the newest version of the homebrew. Doppel's answer clued me in to a mechanic of the duplicate reason I was unaware of. If marking questions like that essentially hides them from some users, I concur that it is a poor use of that mechanism.

I have since revoked my closure of the old versions.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Remember that posting new answers on old questions is good and encouraged \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Oct 25 '18 at 0:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer New answers to outdated questions*. Although upon reconsideration I could see how an answer could be useful even to an old version of a homebrew \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Oct 25 '18 at 13:59

Marking prior versions of an iterative question as duplicates of the next version seems reasonable, albeit potentially confusingly worded

(note: given a greater understanding of how the site works re: duplicates and time to reflect, I don't personally support this position)

It seems like a reasonable thing to do, though I appreciate that the wording used by the duplicate marking system isn't entirely appropriate in this context. By marking your earlier iteration of the homebrew for review as a duplicate of your next iteration, it clearly links your previous iteration to the new one and closes the older question as it is now obsolete - you would presumably always be wanting feedback on the latest version of your homebrew rather than the old versions, so this makes sure people who stumble on the old questions are pointed to the new one instead.


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