7

I just asked a question about Uncharted 3. Another user pointed me toward a question with a different title, but which my question is an exact duplicate of. I've voted to close my question, but I'm not sure if I should do only that (so that future users have a chance to find it using either title) or if I should just delete the question entirely.

Is there a 'proper' way of dealing with your own questions that are exact duplicates except for the title?

14

I'd say, like most things, it depends.

If you searched the site and/or google and didn't find it, and the words you used are likely to be used by others who are searching for that same topic, then you're adding value, and it may as well stay around.

If, after looking at the duplicate you see some or all of the following:

  • You've asked almost exactly the same thing, and just didn't think to search (or made a mistake searching, etc)
  • There are other duplicates already (ie, it's a popular topic that many people are asking about and creating duplicates for)
  • There's nothing "special" that makes your question interesting or new (ie, screenshots or specific details, different language, etc)

... then there's little value in keeping the duplicate around, and you may as well delete it.

I tend to err on the side of keeping duplicates around, since usually there is little to no "cost" to keeping them, and they can sometimes serve as useful signposts. However, in situations where the new duplicate is a repeat of a common question or particularly low quality, I have been known to remove them.

  • 3
    In this particular case, I'd probably opt to keep it - there's different language in the title and the question itself, and it's well written, so there's probably at least some value in the dupe. – agent86 Jun 12 '12 at 15:19
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I would say that you should leave it. If someone searches for the answer using the keywords that you used, your duplicate question will help them find the answer.

-2

I think it should be deleted, and you should also figure out why the other question didn't turn up in your search (is it missing keywords that it should have?) and suggest edits to improve it. Remember that you can also improve questions not just answers!

However, if it has been up for some time and has good answers that are not completely covered by those in the original question - then do not delete it, unless you can get the answerer to cross post his answer.

  • If the new version of the question got a great answer, there's also the option of merging it with the original question. – Adam Lear Jun 24 '12 at 16:09
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    I strongly disagree with this. Shoehorning in keywords to an existing question is just asking for trouble. Duplicates are a good thing! That said, what @AnnaLear notes re: Merging good answers is also important! If you see a good answer on a dupe, flag it for mod attention to ask for it to be merged. Not only does this maximize the number of eyeballs going to a great answer, but clearing out answers from a closed dupe ensures that anonymous visitors from search engines will be automatically redirected to the correct, canonical, open question. – LessPop_MoreFizz Jun 25 '12 at 4:57
  • Not shoehorning - I was thinking about a question I flagged dup sometime back, where the original did not have 'blacksmith plan' anywhere in it to search for and used vague wording instead. I just added those words in so its easier to search for (non-dup earlier post) – Alok Jun 25 '12 at 5:00

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