This question was asked today, and was shortly flagged as a dupe.

However none of the original question's answers address the specific details highlighted in the second question. I was informed that this doesn't change the fact that the second question is a dupe. Well, if its closed as a dupe, then the asker is basically left with a closed question and a link to a 'different' question that has no answers that help him in any way. I feel this situation brings negative attention to our website, as we're telling people they've already been helped, when they haven't. It makes us look like we're paying more attention to the rules than we are the reality. What should we do about this?

  • 1
    – Amy B
    Jul 31, 2012 at 20:33
  • 1
    this forum is always more about the rules than anything else, so these people (myself included) will simply never be helped. Lovvvvvvve it
    – Tom Prats
    Aug 10, 2012 at 4:11
  • @Tmp I understand your fustration but that comment was unneccesary. There are obviously those of us that care about your dilema or else this post wouldn't excist. Also, this isn't a forum. The sooner you get that idea out your head, the better.
    – Ender
    Aug 10, 2012 at 6:07
  • my bad, this q&a site
    – Tom Prats
    Aug 10, 2012 at 6:12

6 Answers 6


We all want hard and fast rules for this, but it comes down to judgment calls. And we all seem to be afraid of making judgment calls. I don't know much about League of Legends, so I might be off base here, but the original question seems pretty broad. The possible duplicate is pretty narrow. I'm going to try to talk about the general case of narrow vs broad here, and not the LoL question specifically, because as I said, I don't have the LoL knowledge to know where this specific example falls.

I do not believe we should close narrow questions as duplicates of broad questions unless there is a reasonable expectation that a decent answer to the broad question would cover the narrow case.

Note that whether or not an answer already exists to the broad question is irrelevant. It comes down to whether or not you have a reasonable expectation to assume the broad question pretty much requires the other question's info in an acceptable answer. Which is why this comes down to a judgment call, which a lot of people here seem uncomfortable with. We always seem to want a hard and fast rule, even when it is to our detriment.

In this particular case, not knowing much about League of Legends, I don't know what a reasonable expectation would be. For those of you familiar with it, would you have expected an answer to the broad question to have covered the duplicate question? If so, okay, let the duplicate closure stand. If you wouldn't have expected it until you saw the "dupe" asked, though, we're creating a bad situation in which the original question didn't really have a reasonable expectation of covering what was asked until after someone requested more details (via a separate question). Then people look at it, say "Oh, you know what, this broad question over here could kind of cover that, though really there's no expectation that someone will unless a bounty gets posted", and it gets closed as a dupe. What service are we doing to anyone by forcing some narrow details into a broad question? We're creating a situation in which someone is unlikely to get an answer. We're also creating an expectation that answers to broad questions should be all-encompassing, including nitty-gritty details that many people may never care about. That's bad. I mean, if an answer wants to cover that, great! But expecting it turns the Q&A format into a Wiki format.

Lastly, I really disagree with the idea that a user should be required to post a bounty to get their question some initial attention.

  • As for someone familiar with League, no I do not feel the general question should have had the targeted question's answer, especially since the limit the question was concerned with did not exist at the time of the original. Aug 7, 2012 at 16:41
  • @RilgonArcsinh Again, though, for me it comes down to what, right now, you would expect to have seen in an answer to the original question. With the patch now there, would you have expected a decent answer to have covered the 9 runes thing, or is that enough of a corner-case that it's able to stand alone? For me it doesn't really matter what was true at the time the question was asked... it matters what's true at the time the (possible) dupe is asked.
    – Sterno
    Aug 7, 2012 at 16:55
  • 4 years later the broad question STILL DOESN'T ANSWER the narrow question.
    – Oak
    Feb 28, 2016 at 13:20

We are here to make the Internet a better place, specifically in regards to gaming. The way we specifically try to do that is by answering questions related to gaming.

How is it helping a gamer get his answer to a gaming question by disallowing his valid question because a similar question has already been asked, and its answer happens not to cover this specific case?

I get the whole point that the original answer should have been better. It should have been more thorough. I agree; it certainly should have. But it wasn't. If it's already accepted, there's little that you can do to add incentive to write new answers, aside from a bounty.

I shouldn't have to add a bounty to an existing question to get an answer to my question about new information. That's why you can ask questions without even having an account. We primarily want to get you answers to your questions. That's why we exist. Rules should help aid in that, not prevent that.

Once the new question gets its answer, sure, then we can merge the questions together or just link them as related or whatever. Closing the new question as a dupe does a disservice to the person asking the question and to our whole community. It's hostile and unnecessary.


As I stated in the comment that I left here, if the question doesn't answer the second question's particulars, then it does not change the fact that it may be a duplicate. It is not implicit that an answer already should have every single bit of the information you need. For example, games sometimes change and get patched and our solution to that is not to ask another question about updated functionality, but rather, to update the existing answers.

A full and complete answer to How does rune combiner work? should cover the rune combiner's mechanics, which is what When combining runes, can you get runes that you already have 9 of? asks about. If you feel that Raven Dreamer's answer is incomplete, ping him or put a bounty on the rune combining question explaining what the information you are missing is.

  • Maybe its how I'm reading it, but you seem rather agitated\upset, and i'm just voicing my opinion against how this is handled. Isn't that what meta's for? I'm not arguing with you about what the current practice is, I'm suggesting we perhaps change the practice.
    – Ender
    Jul 29, 2012 at 20:50
  • @Ender I'm not upset at all. :) I'm trying to explain the current procedure. Allowing duplicates that cover the scope of existing answers to remain open has problems, such as the splitting of answers across questions, which makes both voting on and adding to quality answers more difficult, in addition to making it more difficult for people to find canonical answers to the questions they have. The disadvantages to leaving them open heavily outweigh the advantages and I'm unsure what there is to gain by overturning a system that helps ensure askers can find what they need in one place.
    – FAE
    Jul 29, 2012 at 20:58
  • @FAE Then do you care to tell me how I should proceed if I still want my question answered? Should I go to another site then? Because that's what I'll do, obviously, if people here agree that my question should not even be considered for answers.
    – Hackworth
    Jul 29, 2012 at 21:15
  • 2
    @Hackworth As I stated in my comment on the question and the answer here, leave a comment on the answer on the first question requesting that the information be added and/or consider adding a bounty to it. It's not that we feel that it shouldn't be considered at all, it's that your question is covered within the scope of the other question, and as such, any full, complete answer to the first one should contain the information you are looking for. Seeing as it doesn't, I'd suggest taking the steps I stated to encourage a more complete answer to be posted. :)
    – FAE
    Jul 29, 2012 at 21:22
  • @Hackworth The suggestion in the second paragraph regarding commenting on Raven's answer, or pinging him to update it would be the correct route. In addition, your question has already received answers, both of which point to Raven's answer.
    – Niro
    Jul 29, 2012 at 21:22
  • Also, if we allow questions on minor variations of already asked questions, we're opening the door to asking lots of questions that are about the very same thing. Such as, "How does skill A work with Mechanic X?" and, "How does skill B work with Mechanic X?" are, by themselves, fine. As soon as you get more than one, unless the answers vary dramatically, the correct question is, "How does Mechanic X work?". An answer that adds two sentences to an existing answer does not require an entirely new question, I feel.
    – Frank
    Jul 29, 2012 at 22:23
  • To wit, it looks like Raven has added a comment to the original answer on the cited-as-dup-of question, though not actually appended it as an edit (presumably to keep it from bubbling back up to the top of the questions). That said, it was added after the asked and then closed question in, well, question. Jul 31, 2012 at 12:43
  • 2
    @fbueckert This is not really in line with the official policy on the SE Blog, as Amy B pointed out. It's not like we're going to run out of Internet ink, and it's just kinda mean. From the user's perspective, we're saying "here's an answer to a different question, good luck".
    – Tacroy
    Aug 7, 2012 at 17:12

There are several cases of linked duplicates where there is a disconnect between the intent of the 'duplicate' and original questions, or the answers therein. Unfortunately I haven't kept track of them (can do so in future on request ;), but I've noticed cases where

  1. a question did not ask for particular info
  2. had an answer buried somewhere in the pile of replies that elaborated on extra details
  3. and then a new question specifically asking for this info is closed as a dup.

Regarding your question and example:

I agree with others that in this particular case, instead of a new question a comment on the original's answer that requested clarification is a good choice. However, if a question is asked and does not already have an answer elsewhere; I'd prefer to see it

  1. stay open with a comment so the asker can change it to a comment & delete, or
  2. stay open until answered, and then be merged with the original

Of course, re. (2) then someone will say 'hey, how can we merge Yes, you can get 10th rune of same type with the more general answer?' -> to which I'd say, if you cannot merge the two questions then they aren't exact duplicates at all right?

Another example of a dup-that-wasn't (imho):

How to farm as an early lvl 60 in Diablo 3?

was closed as a duplicate of

Best farming place to get ready for Inferno

and my upvoted answer was moved to it, where it is quite out of place - I'll just repeat my comment on why I disagree with this:

I disagree with merging the other question into this - my answer is out of place here, it addresses where to farm and not what to do

To elaborate, the other question was asking how the asker would know when he would be ready to try Inferno - he never said anything at all about farming there.


I personally feel that if the 'original' question doesn't answer the second question's particulars, then its not a dupe. If it was, then it would have the neccesary answer now wouldn't it?

I feel just because a question should answer a second question's particulars doesn't neccesarily make the two questions duplicates. I think the duplicate clause should apply to answers to questions, not the questions themselves.

Edit: My final sentence is a bit unclear, allow me to clarify. I think the duplicate clause should apply to questions, but only if there is a current answer that applies to both questions.

  • sad face at all this disagreement. I feel rather strongly on this.
    – Ender
    Jul 29, 2012 at 20:46
  • I know the feeling. I've been disagreed with a lot when it comes to the workings of the site. The problem is, a 1-2 sentence addition to @RavenDreamer's current answer is all that is needed to cover all of the information requested. They tend to prefer going that route rather than having multiple questions.
    – Niro
    Jul 29, 2012 at 20:53
  • I half agree, half disagree with you. The problem is that I don't think the lack of existence of an answer to the question being duped is very good criteria. I could ask the exact same question twice in a row, and one should definitely be closed as a dupe of the other, regardless of answers.
    – Sterno
    Aug 7, 2012 at 16:39
  • @Sterno this solution was written poorly, I dont have time at the moment, but I plan on coming back to this in the next day or so and re-writing it, as I'm rather sure I screwed it up so bad that people are misunderstanding my idea.
    – Ender
    Aug 9, 2012 at 21:43

There is room for more than one question about the rune combiner.

This question is essentially a yes/no question. An answer can shine by providing evidence... such as an anecdote or some dev commentary.

Diablo 3 difficulty levels are a broad and complicated topic. There is room for more than one question on the topic. Followup Edit: question reopened once - that's all I was asking for. Thanks.

  • -1 for the D3 link; what he was asking was specifically addressed in the question that it was closed as a dupe of. There's not enough information in CC reduction to warrant it's own question.
    – Frank
    Aug 9, 2012 at 18:54
  • @fbueckert #1 you don't play d3 and can't really make that call. #2 he's asking about resistance numbers and how they affect crowd control in inferno difficulty, not a difficulty comparison. #3 linked question says "•Monsters have higher level, which means more HP, damage, armor and resistances." which is apparently wrong based on the answer to the question under discussion (which says absolute monster level doesn't matter, only monster level relative to player level). That wrong statement is all the information about resistances present at the link. The question isn't an exact duplicate.
    – Amy B
    Aug 9, 2012 at 19:17
  • @fbueckert reading more carefully, I think you may be right - he may be duping the question he linked (but not the question chosen as dupe by the closers). I guess he should have editted the question he linked, or added a bounty to it or something. Sorry for your toes.
    – Amy B
    Aug 9, 2012 at 19:59

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