There has been some discussion around question closure in general. The discussions always included “marking as duplicate” as a default close reason, which simply links to a list of user-selected posts.
Recently there has been some debate, how duplicate content should be handled. I can conclude two main requirements, which are shared by a lot of people, from these discussions:
- Posts which are duplicating an other one need to be closed (preventing answers) and there’ll need to be a way to say, where the answer/original question is.
- Closing posts as a duplicate may seem unfriendly/RTFM-y to some users, especially to those, who don’t have many experience with the topic of the community or the site.
I am suggesting the following solution to this problem:
- It’s possible to mark a post as “duplicate”. Duplicates cannot be answered and redirect to the original post for anonymous users.
- Marking as duplicate is a vote-based process, which is integrated in the normal closure progress. From the voter-perspective, it’s like a normal close vote.
- Every “mark as duplicate” vote will need to link to an answer on an other question. Exceptions apply for linking to a blog post/canonical from an other category.
- Once someone suggested an answer as a duplicate, a shadow answer is added, which loads its content from the suggested original. This answer contains a notice, that this answer is from an other question and was suggested as a duplicate origin for this question.
- This shadow answer can be voted upon. The asker sees a button “This solved my question.” and one with “This answer is not helpful” on the answer.
- Every “mark as duplicate” vote for an already suggested answer is counted as upvote on that answer
- If the answer has a score of X (can be changed for each community, defaults to 5), it will be
automatically marked as duplicate origin. The question will be marked as duplicate. This also happens, when the asker confirms the answer.
- If the answer has a score of Y (can be changed for each community, defaults to -3), it will be deleted as not helpful.
- If the asker rejects the answer, they are encouraged to edit their question to clarify it.
What do you think of this suggested process?