I've seen more and more questions that are answered in an older question (I'll provide examples tomorrow).

The question itself isn't a duplicate from the original question, however, the answer can be found in the original (most often accepted) answer.

I think of it as a duplicate because there would be no value added to the site. The answer is already on the site. But users that aren't familiar with our site have not seen that answer. I think it's harder to search for it than for a question. The user should really read all the answers of all the related question, and I think that goes a bit too far.

So, what's the proper thing to do with these kinds of questions?

Note: can someone please edit my title? I don't like it, but I don't know how to formulate it better.


2 Answers 2


The text of this close reason is very specific as to its intent:

Exact duplicate

This question covers exactly the same ground as earlier questions on this topic; its answers may be merged with another identical question.

(emphasis mine)

Questions should be closed as duplicates when they are not just similar, but literally identical in substance to another question. Consider that:

  • Slightly different questions may share answers, but also have other potential answers which do not pertain to the other question.

  • Most traffic to the site comes from search engines; an answer is useless unless those visitors are able to find it using their search keywords.

If there is a very large set of questions that all have the same answers, that is an indication that there exists a more canonical question or even a tag wiki which can efficiently capture all of the more specific questions. That canonical question, once created and/or edited into shape, then becomes a good reference for closing sub-questions as duplicates.

Don't vote to close a question solely on the basis that it has the same answer as another question. That does not make it a dupe; I can think of several dozen totally different questions for which "you overcooked it / don't overcook it" is the correct answer, but that does not make them all duplicates of each other.

Do, however, be on the lookout for questions that differ only in subtle ways, and try to see if you can consolidate them somehow, as we did fairly recently with the glut of questions.

  • 1
    Good example of two questions (here and here) about pasta with the same answer but different questions. The important thing to note is that if you have the first question and you see the second question, it's not immediately obvious that your answer will be in the second one.
    – yossarian
    May 11, 2012 at 13:20

As another example of “bad reasons to make it as a duplicate”, I present:

How do I keep hard-boiled eggs from turning green near the yolk?

In this case, there are two possible ‘duplicates’, a question about why this happens, and one about cooking eggs in general.

Knowing why something happens does not necessarily tell you how to ensure that it doesn’t happen, and there may be a number of different ways to achieve a desired result.

And the general case doesn’t ensure that you avoid a given problem, so the accepted answer for a generic question may not be suitable for a more specific case.

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