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It implies that some random answer from the past is the definitive answer. And we all know that questions can be answered many different ways. And the duplicate question usually isn't an exact duplicate. And if someone answers my question now, then I can comment and ask a question, but the person who answered five years ago might not even be here now. I understand linking to "duplicate" questions, but closing down questions and leaving the questioners with less of a resource seems pointless. It really just seems like the mods have nothing better to do than search through old questions and shut down threads. Is there really any good rational reason for closing questions? (And now someone will close this thread because someone asked this before).

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Presumably you can add your answer to the list of the questions being duplicated... Concentrating answers in a single place is usually better than looking at the same basic question scattered all over.

Moreover, you are missing a critical ingredient: the objective here is not to answer your question, it is to answer the question, irrespective of who asks the question. This is not a social network and the objective is not to start anew a never-ending discussion on the same topic every other week: the site would instantly become practically unsearchable because of the enormous number of repetitions.

If you think you have a question similar to one posted, but sufficiently different not to be a duplicate, carefully post this questions indicating how you think it is different from other near-duplicates, and how the answers there do not apply to your variant of the question.

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And we all know that questions can be answered many different ways.

Then new answers can be posted to the other question rather than the duplicate.

And the duplicate question usually isn't an exact duplicate.

If it isn't, then it shouldn't have been closed. If you see a case of a non-duplicate being marked as such, raise a flag, or vote to reopen (if you have enough reputation).

And if someone answers my question now, then I can comment and ask a question, but the person who answered five years ago might not even be here now.

If you have a question that is close to a previous question, but that question doesn't answer the question you have, then your new question should explicitly address this. Link to the similar question and state what the current answers are missing.

An alternative solution would be to raise a bounty on the other question outlining what you think is missing.

I understand linking to "duplicate" questions, but closing down questions and leaving the questioners with less of a resource seems pointless.

The point is that this is a Q&A site. If a question is indeed a duplicate, then we want the answers to that question in as few places as possible. That way other users don't have to look around to multiple different posts to read about the answer(s) to a single question. You might not agree with that, but certainly you can at least see there is a point, right?

It really just seems like the mods have nothing better to do than search through old questions and shut down threads.

  1. Oftentimes, questions are closed by regular users without moderator involvement

  2. It's pretty simple to find duplicate questions. The search system does a decent job at suggesting questions automatically. With minimal effort if it's not suggesting the right thing, a duplicate is pretty easy to find.

  3. I've talked with some of the moderators in the chat. They are really nice, and they definitely have lives beyond this site. So I can reassure you that they do have better things to do than to look for duplicate questions (which, as I mention above, isn't too much of a hassle). I'm sure they would rather do other things than look for duplicates though, so we all win when users don't post duplicate questions.

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