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I have a question about my Ask Ubuntu post: apt-get upgrade fails

I'm posting about this problem because my question was marked as a duplicate when it clearly isn't a duplicate of the linked question. The problem I had was not solved by the answer in the question linked as a duplicate of my question.

The answer I came up with might be useful for someone who has a problem more similar to mine than to the question linked as a duplicate.

What can I do to engage in conversation about this issue other than posting here about it?

  • I edited your question because apt-get can and does "fail" in many ways & for many reasons. Looks like this post should be added as a duplicate target for your question: dpkg error: "trying to overwrite file, which is also in..." – Zanna Jan 10 '18 at 10:40
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    I also upvoted your specific answer. Thanks for taking the time to document your fix clearly. – Zanna Jan 10 '18 at 10:48
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    @Zanna: you're 100% correct, my question is a duplicate of the question you linked. I hadn't found that in my original search. Is there a way to mark my question as a duplicate of that question instead? Is my question going to be removed because it's a duplicate? – bee Jan 10 '18 at 13:19
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    Duplicate questions are not removed, unless they would be deleted by the system if they were not closed (if they have no answers and a negative score, or zero score and <2 comments and low views), or users with more than 10k reputation vote to delete them. Your upvoted question with upvoted answers is very unlikely to be deleted now. There is certainly a way to mark your question as a duplicate of the correct post. Closed posts can be reopened, and the duplicate-of banner can be edited. I think the easiest way here would be to flag the question for moderator attention linking to this meta post – Zanna Jan 10 '18 at 14:17
  • For too-long-for-comment details on when posts are deleted and how, see this Meta Stack Exchange post – Zanna Jan 10 '18 at 14:25
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It isn't so clear that it's not a duplicate to your question, since you have very similar symptoms to the linked question. You said, in the comments to your question:

See my post (edited) for the output of the commands suggested in that answer.

However, that answer wasn't linked. A question was. It had more than one answer. You're supposed to go through all of the answers to see if any of them solve your problem. Since some of the answers teach how to use the packaging system's tools to identify the source of the problem, it's unlikely there is no answer that would have worked there.

If you still felt your solution wasn't included there in some form or if you think it's easier for future sufferers to see an explicit solution rather than letting them rely on generically learning how to use the packaging system tools, you could add it to the answers there, so that that question becomes even more of a resource that we can use to mark questions duplicates.

It doesn't make sense to have 25 questions that are essentially describing the same symptoms but each with a different solution as an answer, since remembering them all and including them all as possible duplicates each time someone mentions the same symptoms in a new question would be wasteful. If instead there's one question that has 25 potential solutions to some symptoms, it works out better that way, since we can remember and link to just that one question, and sufferers can check all the answers out.


Alternatively, you included a link to an answer from yet another question in your answer to your question. You could have flagged your question as a duplicate of that question.

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    None of the answers in the question marked duplicate worked to fix my problem and my question was different than the question that had the answer that fixed my problem. I guess that's what I'm asking in my meta question here: is my question really a duplicate of another question if there is no answer in that question that resolves my issue? To address your last point: I can't flag my own question as a duplicate because I don't have enough reputation. – bee Jan 10 '18 at 13:21
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This is the appropriate place to discuss such issues. Yes, your question CAN be a duplicate even if none of the answers available solve your issue. Marking such a question as a favorite will insure that you get notified about new answers to it. Adding your own answer there as suggested by this answer might make it more likely that others with the same issue will find your approach and can benefit from your experience. Regardless, duplicates act as signposts to point users toward answers so I wouldn't be too concerned about that flag.

  • I don't think the question is a duplicate on closer inspection. At least, there is a better target – Zanna Jan 11 '18 at 20:24
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    @Zanna Agreed. this seems a better target. I chose to make my answer as general as possible in the hope it will help future readers. – Elder Geek Jan 11 '18 at 23:24

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