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If a question:

  • is an exact duplicate of an existing question, meaning:
  • is also undoubtedly based on the same issue or reason
  • is also meant in the same way

...it seems pretty clear that the question should be marked as a dupe. Additional (alternative) answers can and should be posted on the original question. If OP nevertheless does not like the existing answer(s), or would prefer another solution, we have several tools to draw attention to the question. The bounty system is the most important one no doubt, but OP can also comment on his own question, dupe or not, and there are more ways.

This is the only line of thinking of a dupe that actually makes sense, one would say.

Not if we look at the message someone gets in case a question is marked as a dupe, as I learned from the discussion on a recent question.

"if the answers on the possible duplicate do not answer your question then you should edit your question to explain why."

So: if the question is an exact an undoubted dupe, but OP does not like existing answer(s) or suggested solution(s), it suddenly isn't a dupe anymore?

If that would be the rule, we could ask the very same question over and over again until we get the answer we like, dupe or not.


Exceptions

Reality is always more complicated than theory and rules can describe. You can always discuss how strict certain rules should be applied and when to (possibly) allow exceptions.
If the rules are unclear to begin with however, we can have discussion on each and every dupe. It is for a reason that there are so many different interpretations on what is a dupe, and so many "accidents" in review happen on dupes.

The text of the message isn't helping much then, on the contrary, it gives the impression it is OK to deliberately post or keep a dupe, as long as you don't like existing answers.

So in short

I am not suggesting "iron" practice. It should be clear however why exceptions should be practised, and exceptions to what rule. The current message however suggests that the rule is that the answer defines the question, which makes no sense. Not in real live, not on AU.

So:

Please change the text of the dupe- message into something like:

"if the the possible duplicate is different from your question, please explain why your question is different."

  • 2
    What if OP can't put a bounty? or non of the answers worked for him? In that case, how those answers didn't work also be in the edit. But again, exact dupe is a more subjective. Many can disagree on what I see obvious – Anwar Aug 26 '16 at 20:26
  • See my comnment on Serg's answer. – anon Aug 26 '16 at 20:34
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    I am almost thinking that we need to verify if the answer that we are trying to say that it is a dupe of is still valid. As things progress, things change, and telling OP that theirs is a dupe of the other without verifying I think makes us look more foolish. – Terrance Aug 26 '16 at 20:50
  • @Terrance not the answer defines the dupe, it is the question. Answers can always be updated. Why do I have to explain this here? – anon Aug 26 '16 at 20:52
  • Yeah, I agree with that, but I have seen ones where they say they are dupes of then OP instantly claims that it is not because none of the answers helped them that were originally chosen as the best answer. But I see where you are going with this. =) – Terrance Aug 26 '16 at 20:54
  • @JacobVlijm dupe system works just fine without being tyrannical about it – Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Aug 26 '16 at 23:00
  • @Serg please don't be suggestive, see comment below Mark's answer. – anon Aug 27 '16 at 0:29
  • 1) After the edit , you added is also meant in the same way. Explain what does that mean ? 2) liking existing answers has nothing to do keeping duplicate. You fail to see that answers on duplicated do not always work for OP's specific case, even if question is "exact" duplicate as you interpret. 3) The current message however suggests that the rule is that the answer defines the question We vote to close based on question first, but having same question without working answers is pointless. – Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Aug 29 '16 at 8:05
  • 1) is also meant in the same way was there from version [1]; sometimeas people mean to ask A, but mean to ask B. Not a dupe then, but subject to edit. 2) You fail to see that the additional answer should then be posted on the original, since it is ....surprise.... a dupe, and additional answers also concern the original question, are useful there. Keep the information in one place, remember? 3) see [2]. – anon Aug 29 '16 at 8:10
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TL;DR: nope, the duplicate message is alright. Users can ask duplicate questions under reasonable circumstances and having sufficient argument to do so

In this answer:

  1. Validation for asking new question
  2. Prior Questions on SE Meta
  3. Duplicate message
  4. The linked question and what is wrong with flagging it as duplicate

1. Validation for asking new question:

if the question is an exact an undoubted dupe, but OP does not like existing answer(s), it suddenly isn't a dupe anymore?

While it may be a duplicate, even word for word, users still have right to ask a different question if the answers under original question do not satisfy OP's specific case or the question is outdated. Especially in the last case, new users with only 1 reputation, cannot add bounty to existing question to draw attention , and cannot comment. The consequence of brutally closing all questions as duplicates leads to more users being pissed and having no answer. As Jeff Atwood put it:

Having one "perfect" form of a question that contains every possible answer to every slight variation of that question is a myth at best and actively harmful at worst.

Even the duplicate message suggests that asking a different question is OK

Liking the answer has nothing to do here, and nobody explicitly comes and says "I don't like it, make me something else". People ask those questions because answers on dupe do not work for them. This is legitimate reason to keep question open


2. Prior Questions on SE Meta

Refer to Someone flagged my question as already answered, but it's not . It is a normal and accepted practice to have a duplicate question, which specifically says suggested duplicate did not work for them. Even if confirmed by OP, the OP still has right to request their question being left open because answers on other answers did not work or are not satisfactory for them.

Refer to How to remove duplicate mark from my question?. The answer states:

If your question has been closed as a duplicate, but the answers to the other question don't solve your problem, edit your question to explain exactly why. Be sure to actually try to use the information in the other answers. Don't just write "That obviously is different"; take some time and try to understand why expert users decided to help you by pointing you to an existing post.

Note that even on our own site, our own moderator has explicitly stated that it is alright to edit the question and explain why the question is not a duplicate

The documentation itself states:

duplicate - the fundamental goal of closing duplicate questions is to help people find the right answer by getting all of those answers in one place

"Right answer" is subjective in some cases, and depending on OP's circumstances the "right answer" may not be in the duplicate. ( Mechanic: "Hey, Mr. Customer, I had another person have this car issue" , Customer:"Yeah, but those guys had one brand of car, I have different one, the parts are in different places" )


3. Duplicate message

Prior to 2015 , it appears the duplicate message used to have such clause:

Compare:

enter image description here enter image description here

So while I might agree with you that the message may need to be edited to include that clause again, I strongly disagree that "question defines the duplicate, not the answers". What's the worth of a question, if the answers there don't work ?


4. The linked question and what is wrong with flagging it as duplicate

Referring back to the specific question , OP appropriately responded in the comments:

I agree our questions are the same but the answer on that question does not answer my question. It only offers an unnecessary alternative

And this:

@JacobVlijm I didn't take anything personal. When you flagged it as a possible duplicate askubuntu sent me a notification saying if the answers on the possible duplicate didn't answer my question (they don't) then I should edit my question to explain why.

As per two StackOverflow meta posts, his action is legitimate and his question deserves to be standalone post.

Also, consider both questions: Panda asked How to interact with window behind gnome-terminal on shortcut key press? , while CaldwellYSR I would love to be able to click through the terminal and interact with the browser directly ( they did not ask for shortcut , so it's not exact duplicate in the first place ! )

OP explicitly mentioned that in the comments as well:

It did answer your question, since it is exactly the same question. You even mentioned: "this is a much better answer than the one in the duplicate question". The fact that you don' t like the answer doesn't change that . . .

@JacobVlijm It doesn't... it offers an alternative to alt+tab. alt+tab has nothing to do with the question since the question about about keeping the terminal on top of what you're interacting with. That answer does exactly the opposite. . .

6 down vote To expand further on what Oli said in the comments, I would argue that duplicates should only be used when both:

To quote thomasrutter:

  • Any answer to question "A" would also be a valid answer to question "B"; AND
  • Any answer to question "B" would also be a valid answer to question "A". If either of the above two conditions aren't met it's not a duplicate question.

As you can see, suggested duplicate asked for keyboard shortcut AND both mouse and keyboard interaction, while the original question asks for direct interaction AND mouse action on lower window while keyboard interacts with top window. Answers to either question are not equally applicable

As Jeff Atwood stated in his blog:

There are similar questions, yes, and so-called "exact" duplicates do happen, but they are kind of rare in my experience. It's far more common to have many subtle variations of a question. I think that's OK, because that's how the world works. Trying to shoehorn a bunch of semi-related things into one arbitrary container in service of some Highlander-ish "there can be only one" rule is ultimately harmful.

  • Again, see my suggested text: "if the the possible duplicate is different from your question, you should edit your question to explain why." That excludes the fact that it is not a real dupe. Also read: You can always discuss how strict certain rules should be applied and when to (possibly) allow exceptions. If the rules are unclear to begin with however, we have no reason to mark as a dupe anymore. – Jacob Vlijm Aug 26 '16 at 20:30
  • None of the above can be applied to the linked question though. OP has enough rep, the question is a dupe, confirmed by OP. – Jacob Vlijm Aug 26 '16 at 20:32
  • @JacobVlijm Users typically will say so in the comments. Then you can edit the question for them, or suggest them to do so. You're expecting too much "smart" out of new users. And I think in the comment discussion below that question you linked, OP clearly stated, this doesn't work for him. You still insisted at closing. That's not good, Jacob. You're basically saying , "screw you, user, I don't care if that works for you or not, go to that outdated question form X months ago, which will not get any more attention or new answers, and you have no way of being notified of them anyway" – Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Aug 26 '16 at 20:34
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    @JacobVlijm the question can be marked as a duplicate, but I always interpreted that text to mean the answers in the duplicate didn't work or aren't satisfactory. I thought that was why we tell people to show what they've already tried, and why one of the delete reasons in the review queue suggests asking a new question if the answers didn't work. What you're suggesting seems, to me, like it would also include marking questions as dupes of earlier unanswered questions, because they're the same question, and telling people to answer the original (and that's impossible to do for a reason). – TheWanderer Aug 26 '16 at 20:35
  • What?: ""screw you, user, I don't care if that works for you or not, go to that outdated question form X months ago, which will not get any more attention or new answers, and you have no way of being notified of them anyway"? How can you say that, OP has enough rep, is not a first-time user. Please read (again: again!) my comment #1. – Jacob Vlijm Aug 26 '16 at 20:38
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    @JacobVlijm You're considering only that one specific case. If we change the duplicate message, this will apply to all other questions , and then what I said in my answer will apply to all users , even those who are first-time users. – Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Aug 26 '16 at 20:41
  • @JacobVlijm maybe this specific one could still be closed, but you're speaking in generals in your question. Also, IMO, if the other question has an accepted answer, then there's no point in adding a bounty, since the OP is unlikely to change what worked for them in favor of an answer that works for the other person. They have no motivation to award that bounty to the new answer, since the new answer doesn't work for their problem. It seems to be that you're trying to completely change the rules based on one specific case. – TheWanderer Aug 26 '16 at 20:41
  • @Zacharee1 you obviously don't undrstand the bounty system. – Jacob Vlijm Aug 26 '16 at 20:43
  • @JacobVlijm are you going to be the one to put bounty on behalf of the user ? what about multiple users ? Also, people will ignore bounty on post that has accepted answer, which renders that bounty pointless. Also, I've updated my post, please see it – Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Aug 26 '16 at 21:17
  • @Serg The time users can' t comment is practically none, and (please) again... how strict certain rules should be applied and when to (possibly) allow exceptions. The example in my post (you answered) obviously is not in that category. – Jacob Vlijm Aug 26 '16 at 21:24
  • @JacobVlijm There is a lot of gray areas with rules. This is one of them. As per two linked posts on meta, the user appropriately responded. I agree our questions are the same but the answer on that question does not answer my question. It only offers an unnecessary alternative. New users with 1 rep cannot comment on other posts, or set bounty to draw attention to them to get answers. So telling them "go there" is useless – Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Aug 26 '16 at 21:31
  • @Serg then what is there against posting on the original for OP, closing the dupe as a dupe? For the record: I don't blame the poster in the link anything. It is the message that causes the mess, as always when rules are unclear. – Jacob Vlijm Aug 26 '16 at 21:34
  • @JacobVlijm 1. The dupe , which typically older by months and years, won't receive attention. 2. Setting bounty on questions that already have accepted answer rarely works. That's if they or someone else puts bounty. 3. There is no way OP can accept the answer. They can only comment if they have obtained that privilege. 4. main objection: OP clearly says , those answers didn't work, so why we tell them "your answer is on that post" when they tell us those answers don't work for them ? – Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Aug 26 '16 at 21:42
  • 1. Once a new answer appears, the question is on the front page, and weren' t you mainly helping OP? He will read it anyway. 2. Many of my bounties I got on questions with accepted (but outdated) answers, or bounties, set by someone else than OP. 3. Why should OP accept? there is the voting system. 4. Why do I have to repeat myself: tell OP: I will create the answer on the original. – Jacob Vlijm Aug 26 '16 at 21:50
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    @JacobVlijm we already do that - we close exact duplicates, but OP can still state their case, and they have right to keep their question open if duplicate doesn't satisfy their case or situation. Similarity doesn't imply exactness. – Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Aug 26 '16 at 22:27

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