There are several questions on Physics S.E. which have been marked as duplicate targets, yet their answers disagree with another. Two such examples would be Is energy conserved in an expanding universe?, and Continuity of the wave function in quantum mechanics.

In the case of the later, about half of the answers are in direct contradiction with another, yet they all stand at zero or positive votes. To make this explicit, one answer writes "Generally, $\Psi$ must always be continuous" while another answer writes "It is not true the wave function has to be continuous".

If a person with no background in the particular field Googles any of these questions, they will have a hard time getting an answer because they will not know which response to trust. Yet if they ask a new question asking for clarification, it will probably be marked as a duplicate of the previous ones. The result is the OP wont learn the correct answer, and new people Googling the question wont either.

What to do in such a situation? Just to clarify, I think the moderators and community have correctly followed the rules by marking the questions as duplicates, but while the form of the policy has been followed, I think the intent has been missed.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ One thing you can do is use your brains: study the sorry mess and sort it out to your own satisfaction. If one answer is clearly superior, upvote it; if none, write one that is. $\endgroup$ Dec 26, 2021 at 13:17
  • $\begingroup$ Why wouldn't you ask clarification in the original question? Why would a new question result in a more definitive outcome? $\endgroup$ Jan 1, 2022 at 15:31

1 Answer 1


There is nothing to do. This is how the system is intended.

  1. A question is asked.

  2. Answers are provided.

  3. Other users have the same question, or one so similar that it has the same answers.

  • These are closed as duplicates, creating a signpost towards the first post with that question and its answers.
  1. Questions and answers are voted according to whatever motivation the voter possesses - learning new information, gaining new insight, finding them funny, agreeing with the political stance, the coin landed heads, and more.

If those answers are the best we've got, repeating them on another page won't suddenly make one answer more correct, more popular, or more worthy of attention. It just spreads out the work required to effectively moderate the content and means that some of it will get missed.

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    $\begingroup$ I can't agree at all. There's an obvious thing that can be done within the system: merge the Answers into one place. That way you don't get different Answers depending on whether your Google search found the original or the duplicate. Also, I disagree with the premise that we are slaves to the system. No, if the system produces an undesirable outcome, fix it. Get the experts together on the topic and have them work out the actual correct answer. $\endgroup$
    – trlkly
    Jan 1, 2022 at 15:15

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