We asked whether you wanted to try something new, and the votes say yes.

So, starting today, and running until January 2017, we're going to do things a little differently in regards to duplicate questions.

The broad rule is: Do not close questions as duplicates if the target question does not help the new asker.

What that specifically means is a little bit of a gray area. This site has had gray areas in the past, when we first started out and wanted to figure out what we were all about. We spent that time trying to make this site the best it could be by ironing out the gray areas with more specific rules to cover edge cases.

So that's what we're going to do again.

Please, however, do participate in good faith. Our goal here is to make the new rule the best it can be. If even at its best it still puts us in a bad place, we'll know that as a result of our experiment and fall back to our old ways come the review.

But from now until January, do not argue about whether you think this rule works or not at its core. We're going to try it out, and we're going to see how it plays out practically instead of arguing about it theoretically. It may fail spectacularly, or it may be a great help to new users, or it may mostly go unnoticed. Time will tell. We will have that discussion about how it played out in January.

Instead, make meta posts trying to make this rule the best it can be. We don't want to sacrifice quality content; indeed, this rule's goal is to try to bring more quality content to the site by allowing questions that may not have been allowed, and thus allowing answers to those questions. Clarify the rule, bend the rule if there's a clear fault case, mold the rule so that it fits in with our overall site. But, until January and our final discussion, do not break the rule.

Let's see if we can make Arqade even better.

  • 11
    What are the criteria to indicate that the new asker would not be helped by the dupe target? Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 19:20
  • 6
    @GodEmperorDune Your own common sense.
    – fredley
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 19:24
  • 18
    @fredley Common sense is not very common Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 19:32
  • 13
    I can't support this in any sense at all. I disagree completely with your interpretation of the votes. Guess I'm not dupe voting at all for five months.
    – Frank
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 19:37
  • 11
    @Frank The votes on the post and it's answers pretty clearly show users are in favour of trying this out. The only answers deadset against it are in the negatives, with there being one exception sitting at +2.
    – Wipqozn Mod
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 20:21
  • 4
    There's more to the answers than just straight up support, so just going by votes is disingenuous. Either way, I've said my piece. You want the rule, you got it. But I ain't helping.
    – Frank
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 20:22
  • 8
    To give a specific example of what not to do, I will point you at a recent case in which users were abusing upvotes in order to get a dupe-lock. While my answer there mostly focuses on the specific case of the upvote abuse, the message is that an answer must help the asker in order to be marked as duplicate.
    – Robotnik Mod
    Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 0:34
  • 5
    @galacticninja These kinds of questions actually come up fairly infrequently. If we only went for a month, we would seriously risk not even having to deal with any new questions that are affected by the rule at all. Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 10:23
  • 9
    @galacticninja This rule doesn't apply to the majority of duplicate questions. When a user didn't find or didn't look for a question that already answers his question, closing as a dupe is still the correct course of action. This rule only affects edge case scenarios. If you've found questions that you feel really do invoke this rule already, please highlight them on meta for us to discuss, because there's plenty of discussion to happen on specific implementation. Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 11:27
  • 3
    @galacticninja on top of what Strix covers I don't think a 1-month trial is long enough given the context of the site and the ongoing effort to curate it. We're trialing a potential long-term change to how we do things here, we shouldn't sell ourselves short by only giving ourselves a month to figure out whether it works in practice. How will this go once the site settles back into normality after the Pokemon Go hype? Hell, Pokemon Go is barely a month old, if you'd asked me 1 month ago if it would have become our 7th most popular tag by now (with no signs of slowing down) I would've laughed.
    – Robotnik Mod
    Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 11:48
  • 1
    I'm going to guess that this applies to both voting to close on dupes, and actually closing dupes? I do not yet have the rep to actually close duplicate questions, unless I'm just misinterpreting, which is entirely possible. Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 19:25
  • 4
    How are you going to measure success or failure?
    – Troyen
    Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 19:46
  • 1
    Also, I feel like this is a perfect example of the rule: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/281159/… Was originally closed as a dupe of a question that doesn't even mention seasons (the answers were written before they were implemented).
    – Troyen
    Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 19:48
  • 9
    Having just seen this at random, I wonder how y'all expect anyone to know these new, made-up rules.
    – Zan Lynx
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 19:40
  • 2
    @amaranth Sorry for the delay, but this reply got buried in my message queue. In that case the questions remain as they are. The OP got his answer, which is "Sorry, there's no way to play Pokemon go without wifi and mobile data". Dup or not the answer would be the exact same, and just because the OP doesn't like the (only) answer doesn't mean we need to keep his question open. Basically, if what the person is asking help for is impossible, then "no, you can't do this" is helping the asker. They can disagree all they want, but you can't argue with reality.
    – Wipqozn Mod
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 11:27

5 Answers 5


This sounds like a good idea.

Listening to the community is a good idea. Experimenting is a good idea. Setting a specific time to review the results is a good idea.


A record of questions affected by this meta post:

(I feel it's helpful to record results to evaluate if a change was effective or not.)

  • Great idea. Can't review results unless we have a record of when this meta actually affected something.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 0:46
  • 1
    First one looks like a banging success, just what we're going for. Second one is less clear, but I eventually voted to reopen. Don't feel strongly about that. Third one looks like it is indeed a dupe.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 21:16
  • @DCShannon, that's about how I'd judge them right now too.
    – Ryan
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 21:29

I cannot, in good conscience, support this rule. My arguments have already been made. To that end, I am abstaining from voting on duplicates completely until the time period has passed. I will not hinder the attempt. But I also will not help it.

  • 23
    +1, thank you for your cooperation
    – DCShannon
    Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 0:00
  • 5
    This is a good way of handling the situation for those who can not find it in themselves to agree to the rule. Here, have a +1! (For downvoters: You are voting on the quality of the answer, not on if you agree with the rule or not!) Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 16:58
  • 20
    @00prometheus Not necessarily. Votes on meta are different.
    – Tim Malone
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 8:03

I'm not sure what you mean by if the existing question helps the new asker. (Note this is the first time I've seen anything about this)

Look at this Question for example. It is asking what are all the regional pokemon for pokemon go.

Now another question has arisen asking for the regional pokemon for south america.

This in my opinion is quite clearly a duplicate as the first is asking for all the regional pokemon in the world whereas the latter is asking for a single continent which is quite clearly a subset of the world.

So what do you mean if it helps the new asker? Yes the first question will get outdated as the game is released in more countries. But does that mean a new question should be asked everytime it's released in a new country? Or does it not help the new asker because it doesn't specifically say "there is none in South America"?

  • 1
    Both those questions should remain open under this policy. The old answer didn't specifically address South America, so the new question is warranted since it's asking for new information. Your phrasing "a new question should be asked everytime it's released in a new country" is a little misleading, because a question only should be asked if someone runs into that issue, and because there aren't too many countries left to launch in. But, those caveats aside, yes. There is no harm in that. Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 16:41
  • 2
    The latter, closed question specifically about South America is already covered by the former question, which asks about all regional pokemon. IMO, it should remain closed as a duplicate. There's no need to ask a new question for every continent as the answer in the old question can be edited to include new info anyway, or a new answer can be added. An answer in the older question has already been edited to include info for South America. Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 6:37
  • I'd also like to point out that the +2 answer is almost identical to the answer in the first question
    – Aequitas
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 0:53

I would follow the PDCA cycle for such things.

PLAN - that is done by the OP.

DO - We need to do that experiment in small scale. We are currently not 100% sure how it will end up. (keep a note to link to that question)

CHECK - We will see the results till 2nd week of December. Now the rest of December is to decide whether to make a rule or not to make the rule. here above noted links will influence.

ACT - If the rule is made then we will act at full scale and march on with the new rule that ,"for marking a question as duplicate the target question should have an answer to current trend of games."
If the answer is old and game is likely updated then we should allow new questions.

  • 5
    That's...pretty much what we are doing?
    – user11502
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 17:09
  • 1
    this does not seem like question answer format. what are we (all users) supposed to add answer?
    – Fennekin
    Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 3:49

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