I often see a question that is a duplicate, but the question is well-stated and good in general.

So I ask: is it correct/encouraged/frowned-upon/... to up-vote a question at the same time you vote for closure as a duplicate?


2 Answers 2

up vote 21 down vote accepted

I frequently do this. The two decisions are almost completely independent for me. The only time that the presence of the duplicate would mean that I didn't vote would be if the original question was blatantly easy to find (something like the "How do I look up a symbol?"). If someone's put some effort into their question, they probably did a cursory search of the site and didn't find the original. I know how hard it can be to find questions here - even my own questions/answers that I know exist! - so I'm generally very lenient on others not doing so.

Lastly, if it is a duplicate - and with the exception of classics like "How do I look up a symbol" - the implication is that it is on-topic for the site and a question that is worth having, just that we had it before. So if I see it's been voted as a duplicate, my bayesian prior is already weighted to the upward vote.

I don't think "How do I look up a symbol" is very easy to find; for a user new to the Stack Exchange system, it's not really intuitive to step away from the concrete problem so far as to ask: How can I solve this problem for any symbol I might be looking for? I'd also be lenient on others not finding a dupe, but for me this means not downvoting the question as not to punish them, but not rewarding them for failing at an (admittedly hard) task. So overall, it's a -1, but just because downvoting is different on meta. –  doncherry Oct 2 '12 at 19:46
Maybe I chose a bad example with that one. My point was that the fact that it is a duplicate is rarely a consideration in deciding whether or not to vote. Often duplicates are by new users which also adds an epsilon to my inclination to vote upwards. It's a complicated formula! Being a duplicate is almost always swamped by other factors. –  Loop Space Oct 3 '12 at 9:09
+5 for Bayesian prior –  Shashank Sawant Oct 13 '12 at 1:33

I have simultaneously upvoted and voted to close questions on a few occasions, but I only did so when the duplicate question was either exceptionally well-stated or when it turned out that the matching original question was hard to discover, usually because of improper tags.

I agree. The criterion for upvoting stated in the tooltip of the upvote button is "This question shows research effort; it is useful and clear". I usually assume that a decent amount of research effort would bring up existing questions on the same subject matter. This might be a simplistic and somewhat extreme stance on the subject, but I'm generally really wary of questions that ought to be closed. (I've actually been meaning to discuss some policies of closing and deleting on meta for some time. Will do that once I've familiarized myself with the 10k-tools.) –  doncherry Oct 2 '12 at 19:40

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