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Should this question about seasoning a particular enamel cast iron frying pan be made into a generic question such as: "Should enameled cookware be seasoned?"

My reasons for this is that other questions like this one which, I think, aren't quite duplicate because of the context, but also boil down to the same question.

I see a few ways to go about questions like these:

  • Marking the question as duplicate anyway
  • Creating a new question
  • Editing the original question into a generic one (doesn't seem like a good idea since some answers are specific to the cookware used)
  • Doing nothing as this is an intended behavior
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The beauty of generic questions is also their Achilles heel - they are generic.

In some cases, a generic Q/A serves as catch-all for what is repeatedly asked, especially by new users that don’t research before posting. We all know the “I left [perishable item] in [someplace warmer than a fridge] for [random time]” questions and closing them as duplicate not only protects the sanity of the more involved users but also - and that is often overlooked - gives the asker an immediate solution without having to wait for someone to write an answer (and the community weeding out the “did the same, was ok” or otherwise not helpful ones).

On the other hand, generic Q/As tend to have long, complex answers that need to cover various perspectives. Not all askers are willing to read through a lot of text when they are looking for a simple answer. The nice thing to do when closing especially a new user’s question as a duplicate of a generic Q/A would be to add a comment summing up the crucial bit, but as this isn’t required, it doesn’t always happen.

On the site, we follow the philosophy that we take real problems and suggest solutions tailored for the specific asker. Trying to come up with a generic Q/A whenever we encounter duplicates would contradict that. The existing system of handling duplicates is sufficient for most cases and has actually a few additional benefits - users e.g. tend to use different search terms and some variety in phrasing can help them to find one of the existing Q/As, which are then linked to more.

So in short, of course you are free to post a brand-free question that may get good and complex answers (or self-answer), but there’s no real need.

And yes, whether two questions are duplicates often leaves some room for debate (which can be sometimes seen in the comments), but that’s where the community voting happens. Posts get closed by the community and occasionally reopened after a discussion. You are free to vote as you see fit.

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My perspective is that if it boils down to the same question, it is a duplicate.

  • Me too, until I read this answer by Cindy which is specific to the cookware used. I feel like both those questions should be duplicates of another, more generic, question. If that makes sense. – Halhex Jun 18 at 17:54

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