Following that question, which was marked as a duplicate by a some users (including myself), and the discussion in the comments, the OP expressed his feeling that his/her question differ enough not to be considered a duplicate.

This prompt me to ask whether there are/have been some discussion here about which policy should be taken?

I just came upon a similar discussion in the meta of scifi.SE.

Do we want to have clearer rules? Or just leave it to every user to decided for themselves? Do we want to have a strict duplicate policy (which could frustrate some users, or at least seem to)? Or we'd rather have a more relax policy (which might spread a lot the relevant answers)?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Generally speaking, question A is a duplicate of question B if and only if any valid answer to question B is an equally valid answer to question A, and question A does not introduce relevant answer-constraining criteria for answers not covered by question B. (This is why it is possible to close as duplicate of a canonical question but also have situations like "this is not a duplicate of X because Y".) $\endgroup$
    – user
    Jun 9 '15 at 19:54

Closing questions requires 5 users to agree precisely to solve this problem of subjectivity. The principle is that if 5 people can agree that a question is a duplicate, it's a pretty good indication that it is, and the question should therefore be closed.

The reopen process is also designed to combat this problem: if, by some chance, those 5 users were wrong and the question should remain open, another 5 users can get the question reopened.

The problem we do have is swarm-voting: when there are already close votes on a question and other close voters visiting the question vote to close solely based on that (as opposed to judging the question on its merits by themselves first). We do encourage people to judge the question first, but unfortunately there's not a lot that can be done about this from a site perspective. If you think a question has been wrongfully closed, vote to reopen it and if others agree it will be reopened.

Thus, I think no policy shift is required. The processes in place are sufficient to ensure questions that should be closed are, and those tat should be one remain so.

  • $\begingroup$ Also, if your attempt to reopen a question isn't getting enough attention, bring it up in meta (this is one reason we have the specific-question tag). Discussion in comments will only be seen by people who happen to visit that question; those people are already involved. Meta gets more eyes on it. $\endgroup$ Jun 9 '15 at 13:06
  • $\begingroup$ You can also bring it up in chat, though Meta does tend to be more highly trafficked. (cc @MonicaCellio) $\endgroup$
    – ArtOfCode
    Jun 9 '15 at 13:10

I don't think we need to have a rule for when to close and not.

The problem with worldbuilding compared to other parts of SE is that is very unclear when something is not.

If you look at Superusers or Stackoverflow, it is pretty clear when a question is belonging to somewhere or not.

But on worldbuilding the gray zone is pretty large, i have seen posts been pretty onspot voted for close because idea generation, and other questions where the question was clearly about idea generation left open for the sake of the question being interesting.

This means the quality of the votes relies totally on someones gut feeling. And as ArtOfCode mentioned Swarm mentality. And as long as the guidelines for voting is in such a large gray area. One might expect arguments about if it should be closed or not, since there is no solid ground to use as reference.


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