I am concerned about marking questions from new users as duplicate, without enough knowledge of a particular subject (or tag). New users may not even know how to ask. By marking a unique question from a new user as duplicate, we are basically discouraging them from asking more questions (or to answer other questions). New users post questions here to get answers. Not to educate, explain or confront with users who marked the question as duplicate. Let's have an encouraging environment for questions from new users. I am not asking to never mark a question from new user as duplicate. Let's be friendly and more cautious when marking a question from new user as duplicate. Let's ask question/s to clarify the original question. Let's ask the new user to re-write the question to better suit his / her use-case.

For example, please see the question at nginx location host without www . It is marked as duplicate of Nginx redirect all old domain subdomains to new one . Of course, I voted to "reopen" it. I answered it about 24 hours ago and it was upvoted by two users and it was marked as the correct answer. After a few hours, the question was marked as duplicate, even though, there is no duplication in the question or in the answer/s.

About this particular question... there are numerous reasons why someone wants to redirect in Nginx.

  1. Some sites redirect based on "search engines".
  2. Some sites redirect for "mobile visitors".
  3. Some sites redirect based on certain cookies.

Not all the questions related to redirection can be marked as duplicate just because the end result is a simple redirection. The condition for redirection may vary. In the above question, the user wants to extract a portion of the hostname / URL, and use it for redirection. How can it be a duplicate of a question that only answers how to redirect (and never mentions anything about fetching a portion of hostname / URL)?!

From my understanding, in the aforementioned particular question, the users who marked it as duplicate may not have had the necessary skill or knowledge to decide if the question is duplicate or not. My apologies, if I am wrong. Of course, everyone of us is a new-bie on any subject when we start to learn it. So, nothing wrong in not knowing something.

By marking unique questions as duplicate, we are discouraging all users to see the actual question and the unique answer, thus eliminating users to learn something new from both the actual question and the answer/s provided. Hardly anyone would take time to read a question marked as duplicate.

Can we please revise the conditions for marking a question as duplicate? Something like... the ability to mark a question as duplicate only for those who answered at least 10 questions with one of the tags in the question? Or something similar?

Or something entirely different like... the ability to reopen the question for those who have got bronze badge?

Or never mark a question as duplicate if the question is answered and one of the answers is marked as correct and the correct answer isn't a duplicate of the answer from the other question (that was supposedly the original / unique question).

I'd appreciate a healthy discussion on this topic.

2 Answers 2


New users may not even know how to ask. By marking a unique question from a new user as duplicate, we are basically discouraging them from asking more questions (or to answer other questions).

Here at SF, we expect that people should take some time to write a question. There's no clear agreement about how long, though I think SA1138's estimate of half an hour is a good starting point; but we don't expect them to arrive with a question, spend three minutes banging it into the box, then hit "Ask". We expect some local research by anyone with a question, before they post it.

So I'm all in favour of marking duplicates asked by anyone - new users or otherwise - as duplicates. Avoiding umpteen nearly-identical answers is an important part of site curation, because it keeps knowledge on a particular subject concentrated in one place to better serve those users who can be bothered to search before posting.

There's other utility to the duplicate VTC. Sometimes I find that a question isn't, actually, a duplicate, but the author has spent so little time writing it that (s)he forgot to mention some important information that sets that query apart, and without which it cannot be answered; the author's response to the comment that appears on first duplicate VTC can provide, or at least hint at the existence of, this information.

I'm no nginx expert, but I agree that in this case it doesn't look like a duplicate within our definition of the term (which includes "has the same answer"), so this one shouldn't've been closed. But a general policy against closing dupes posted by new users? No. I'm against that.


I've been using nginx since 2008 and the marking of this question as a duplicate (of the question indicated) makes absolutely no sense to me. I don't see how these are even related, let alone similar enough to mark as a duplicate. I don't see how the person who asked the new question would have gotten anything useful out of the duplicate. Perhaps one or more of the people who did mark it would explain their reasoning. It's possible I missed something, but in that case, wouldn't someone with even less experience with nginx also miss it? In the meantime I've reopened the question.

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