Reasonable people may differ as to whether a given question is or is not a 'duplicate' in many cases, but is not inconsistent with the Stack Exchange "philosophy" to Both vote to close a question as a duplicate and then provide an answer. This implies that the correct answer to the present question is different from the answer to the duplicate candidate.

As an example of this I direct attention to @moscafj for the question: How to make sorbet from fruit like watermelon?

(This is not intended to 'call out' or belittle, in any way, what @moscafj chose to do, as I have probably actually done the same myself)

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    I don't think you should VTC for any reason and answer. If you are going to answer then give others a chance to answer. – paparazzo Jun 11 at 12:44
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    You can see my reasoning below, but remember, a VTC does not close a question. Questions are not closed until they receive the required number of votes to close. So, as I understand it, anyone is free to answer until a question is ultimately closed. – moscafj Jun 20 at 13:51

It's good to embrace duplication, that's how people type many things to ultimately land on the same question. We should never discourage contribution, so we (as in Stack Exchange) feel that it's a mistake to discourage answers to known duplicates, and it's even worse to 'penalize' people purely for answering something when 'they should have known better'.

To a Googler, a nice answer to a marked duplicate helps them realize that they're on the right path, and that the link at the top probably leads to more relevant information. So it satisfies the case of serving future reader's interests.

It helps the person that asked the question feel like their time was well spent, and that they were well received after getting a human response to their question before being told "now go to window 111-a and look for your answer there"

It helps people that want to answer find some way of contributing. More answers don't hurt.

Since there's many cases where folks answer duplicates (some unaware of a duplicate existing totally, others aware, but not voting to close, others answering and voting to close) - lets' not busy our brains with sorting out some kind of rule the UI is never going to enforce anyway - just answer questions when you feel like you can and should, and respect that it's a little different for everyone.

What matters is everyone involved finds value in their time here.

I only vote to close if it really is an exact duplicate requiring the exact same answer, in which case I can't imagine answering it myself.

I can see a case for answering, then agreeing with a VTC (so casting a vote) because someone else found a duplicate. Your answer may raise points that aren't covered at the older question, which would dissuade me from deleting it.

But to VTC then answer seems like a mistake to me.

I take no offense. ...but let me explain my thought process... I will say that if if a question is a clear duplicate, I would not answer. Rather, I would simply VTC, and have done so many times. In the example shared above, there were two related questions, but neither clearly addressed the OP's question. I voted to close, because I thought at least one addressed the issue...but also felt that it was borderline, and that the community might see it differently. So I commented. In fact, it may be the first time I've voted to close and commented. It wasn't a matter of my answer being "better" than the duplicate, rather, I was attempting to bridge the gap between these questions and answers until the community made a decision. My thought process was that the community might VTC or might not. In the meantime, I offered a response. This is a collective effort, so we offer our 2 cents, then the community reacts. Anyone has a chance to answer until a question is closed, because a question is not closed until it reaches the required votes. There are questions on the exchange that receive fewer close votes than are required, and remain open for comment. If there is insistence that a VTC means one is disqualified from comment, it is probably a relatively easy software tweak to disallow comment from a user who votes to close.

  • Thank you for offering your thoughts. The combined actions seemed a bit of a non-sequitur and thus this question. – Cos Callis Jun 19 at 1:38

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