What counts and does not count as a duplicate?

From what I have read (mainly the answers to this question), essentially a question is a duplicate if it can't be answered in a way unique from other questions

Yet based on my own questions, it seems like another set of rules is being followed. For example, this question is on its way to being closed as a duplicate of a question that, while similar, is so different in the specifics that almost no answer works across both questions. Furthermore, this question has been closed as a duplicate of a question where the only similarity I can see is that they're both about centaur biology, which doesn't seem like much of a reason to close

So, what is a duplicate? And what am I missing about all this?

  • $\begingroup$ A lot of the time questions get closed (for many reasons) only to be reopened or have close votes retracted if the question can be sufficiently improves. In this case pictures and references to the other question would help (I see you already done some of that.) $\endgroup$ Sep 17 '21 at 9:39
  • $\begingroup$ For instance you could add "although <mermaid question> covers the upper body rope harness, and bagging the tail, this <explanation> isn't covered for my snake people." But you'll need to fill in the gaps. $\endgroup$ Sep 17 '21 at 9:42
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    $\begingroup$ You don't really help your case by constantly alluding to your mermaid's question, you know... ? "Their tail starts at thigh not waist" implying a case for another species, comparisons with fishes, etc... $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Sep 17 '21 at 9:44
  • $\begingroup$ Should either not compare at all, or! Compare on what you think the other question doesn't answer for this species and only that part. $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Sep 17 '21 at 9:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Tortliena I was told before that edit that the differences weren't clear. What precisely am I supposed to do? $\endgroup$ Sep 17 '21 at 9:49
  • $\begingroup$ @IchthysKing Focusing only on the species differences only closen (and close) up the two questions. What you should do is to explain why this question is different, Or told another way why you cannot get your answer from the mermaid's one. Stuff like "This question is different than this one because tails are much more flexible, so this suggested method of bagging doesn't work." And "They live on land, not sea, so you don't have to rope them on a boat or in water" and so on. As I read it, you never quite reached to the conclusions of the differences you found between the two questions. $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Sep 17 '21 at 9:56
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    $\begingroup$ That's what's important if you reverse the board : Why should I answer this question if, from my point of view, this other one already does the same good job? And now I've realised I've told enough for an answer x_x. $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Sep 17 '21 at 9:58


Since you linked to a Meta question, I'd like you to take a look at JHB's answer.

The Generalities

Essentially, duplication of a question occurs when two questions are similar enough in scope, material and focus that good answers for one question will also be good answers for the other.

  • Sometimes duplicates are actual copies. A long time ago someone asked about the feasibility of using boars as cavalry animals. And then recently someone else asked the same question about the feasibility of boars as cavalry animals. Obviously this is a duplicate.
  • Sometimes the duplicates ask for the same information, but in a slightly different way. Maybe a question was asked 8 years ago about the nutritional content of blood in the context of vampires. For whatever reason, somebody asking about whether a vampire can survive on a diet of blood didn't find that earlier question. It is clear that the question is not precisely identical; but it is also the case that a break-down of the nutrients found in blood will also answer whether a person can survive on a diet consisting solely of that nutrient profile.

It would be within the community's rights to close these questions.

  • Now, for a third kind of duplicate, let's consider another pair. Let's say someone asks how a primitive society can rig up a way of dragging stuff using a sled with ski-runners. Now let's say someone asks how a primitive society can rig up a way of dragging stuff using a travois.

You might think, well, skis slide along the ground while travoy sticks drag one end on the ground: two entirely different kinds of vehicles, therefore no answer to one can possibly be applicable to the other.

Yet, dragging stuff with either vehicle is simply a matter of managing the harness that connects the motive power with the vehicle. The motive power could be a horse, a dog, a person or even a motorised vehicle -- all the same, therefore the questions are duplicates.

The Specifics

So where does this leave your two questions? Obviously, the weresnake question -- Q2 -- is not an exact copy of the werefish question -- Q1. There are two different kinds of creatures after all! Nor do your questions ask for the same information in two different ways.

What's going on in your case, I believe, is that you've got the third kind of duplicate, the one that seems on the surface to not be a duplicate, because two entirely different creatures are being discussed, but in fact are the same fundamental question because the answers for one work with the other. In other words, it doesn't matter which creature you ask about, all the answer apply to both equally well.

I understand that your argument is that none of the answers carry over from one to the other. I've read both questions and all the answers and don't come to that conclusion. This puts the ball back in your court as it falls to you to convince me that these aren't actually the same question.

Your questions are a pair of duplicates simply because they not only ask the same question --- How do I tie up a humanoid person with some kind of animal hindquarters --- but thus far all the answers apply to both questions and many more possibilities besides.

The Missing Link

I suggested before that, just perhaps, you're missing this because you're somehow stuck in the minor details. You seem to be saying that a fish tail and snake tail are so radically different that there is no way whatsoever that one method for tying up can possibly work for both, simply because that one is shaped like a fish and that one is shaped like a snake.

I could be wrong in that assessment! In all of our discussion, you haven't actually pinpointed how the two are "so different in specifics" that "almost no answer works across both questions."


In reading the obracentaur question, I can only hazard at two rationales for closure:

  1. It is such a trivial question that it really doesn't rise to minimal expectations. Basically, what you're asking there is "what would a mix between a donkey and a zebra look like" and after an agonizing 1.32 seconds of googling, discovered that the answer is a zonkey. Just stick a humanoid torso on a zonkey and you've got your answer.

To be honest, that kind of question is a time waster for this forum. There are hundreds of really excellent questions you could ask about obracentaurs and ono- & zebracentaur cultures, but you didn't! I'm not surprised that it was closed, I'm not surprised that it's gotten a neg. 4 vote and I'm not surprised that no one has voted to reopen.

  1. The question you asked, about what what a centauroid would "realistically look like" is addressed in the Anatomically Correct Series.

In my opinion, I don't think the specified ACS actually addresses what I think you're asking, so I agree with you that that is probably not the best closure rationale that could have been chosen. It could just as easily have been nominated for closure for being too opinion based or tagged for deletion for being of too low quality.

What's Sauce for the Goose is Sauce for the Scorpion

I voted to close your werescorpion question --- Q3 --- because the same kinds of answers that you got for the other two will apply here as well. This is a duplicate. And not only that, but it's a tiresome duplicate!

And I see you've tried again with a humanoid squidopus --- Q4 --- and that it's been closed. Maybe it's time to stop, take stock of what you're doing wrong and change that behaviour? Especially in light of two really excellent worldbuilding questions that you've asked recently!

  • $\begingroup$ 1. I have told you the differences between the snake-legs and fish-tail, and why exactly said differences make the answers different. To reiterate, the snake-legs are so long and flexible that they could easily be extended into loops that could be used to attack or crawl away $\endgroup$ Sep 18 '21 at 6:25
  • $\begingroup$ 2. I don't think you've understood the obracentaur question. This question was roughly about what an even hybrid of a centauroid and quadruped would look like. It is ridiculously incorrect to just link to a question about regular centaurss $\endgroup$ Sep 18 '21 at 6:28
  • $\begingroup$ 3. So are all questions about tying something up duplicates? Because that is literally the only similarity that the scorpion question has to the others $\endgroup$ Sep 18 '21 at 6:30
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    $\begingroup$ @IchtysKing I am inclined to say yes, by far most questions about tying something up would be duplicates. It is an elementary action that is well understood by anyone with eyesight and basic spatial reasoning. When your creatures exist in 5 spatial dimensions and the rope can pass through itself, then you have a truly new question (do do some research before asking it). $\endgroup$
    – KeizerHarm
    Sep 18 '21 at 12:20
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    $\begingroup$ @IchthysKing - 1. You can make the snake legs a mile long if you want, but a hook & rope will still work (or even just a rope). The fact that the snake legs can be made into loops makes typing them up even easier! 2. I understood the question perfectly well; I actually agreed with you that the ACS didn't address what you were asking. 3. Yes, they're all duplicates, because they're all asking the same essential question and the answers (so far as I've seen and considered) apply equally well to all the creatures you've asked about, and many more besides.. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Sep 19 '21 at 4:25
  • $\begingroup$ @elemtilas How does binding the tail prevent the scorpion-person from moving? Please think about your points before you make them $\endgroup$ Sep 19 '21 at 6:58
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    $\begingroup$ @IchthysKing -- Why are you assuming the legs won't be tied up as well? Remember? We bound the weresnake's legs? You can move the goalposts all you want! I've got enough rope to securely bind anything you want bound! $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Sep 19 '21 at 16:00
  • $\begingroup$ @elemtilas But how do you tie up the legs? or the wings for that matter? These are completely unique from both the other questions and from reality $\endgroup$ Sep 19 '21 at 16:22
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    $\begingroup$ @IchthysKing -- I get that you're pressing the point that these are somehow "unique" and that one answer can't serve for more than one. Without writing your story for you, you obtain a tool that binds, usually something fibrous, and you bind that which you wish to be bound. All you need is long strands of fibrous matter and a little narrative imagination! These creatures are just not as unique as you think they are! $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Sep 19 '21 at 20:52

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