It is clear that having the same question answered on a daily base is harmful. Discouraging to create good answers that take time to create, and making appropriate answers hard to find in a jungle of duplicates.

At the same time, when I see a question and I run into a (collection of) answer(s) from three years ago, it is quite unattractive to post an additional answer between 25 other answers with an inch of dust on them, in many cases not even usable anymore. In practice I don't I must say, because of the lack of feeling of "freshness".

Furthermore, we can be pretty sure that the job to prevent duplicates will increase, as the history of the site will lengthen, and the number of answers in the database will grow. To be honest, I feel I should try to find extensively if a question was asked before, but quite frankly, I don't if the question does not ring a bell. I would spend more time finding duplicates than answering a question.

Altogether it brings me to my question: would it be a suggestion to put an expiration date on the definition of being a duplicate of, let's say, two years? Allowing some duplicates with a few years in between would not harm the findability and would guarantee the answers to stay up to date.

1 Answer 1


I don't think that allowing more duplicates will help.

However here's a trick I use, every time you vote for something as duplicate, go to the original question and give it a once over, on many occasions I find that you can fix those up as well to keep them fresh.

I find that most CLI questions usually don't need much, it's the GUI questions that might need an updated screenshot, etc. This will bump the question and give it a fresh set of eyes.

  • The tip sounds useful and all makes perfect sense. I must say in practice many duplicates do exist nevertheless, and seem to be more or less silently tolerated. I was looking for a formula to make clear in which occasions that should be and when not. As usual, reality is more complicated than you can catch in 100% strict rules, and a 2 year cycle might cause more unclearness than it would create. Thank you for your perfect answer. Commented May 7, 2014 at 14:56

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