3

This seems incredibly obvious to me, but I've been challenged on this before on the site, so I just want to make a post and form a community policy through consensus.

I think that if question B is accused of being a duplicate of question A, and there is at least one answer that is a valid answer to question A that would not be a valid answer to question B, then question B is not a duplicate of question A.

In such a case, not being happy with the answers to question A does not mean the asker of question B needs to put a bounty on question A, it means he has a new question.

Does the community agree with this definition?

4

I'll suggest an alternative:

If it would be reasonable to expect that an ideally complete answer to A would not necessarily address B, then B is not a duplicate of A. If this distinction is not inherently obvious, but B makes an explicit, reasonable case for it, then B is not a duplicate of A.

So:

A: May one eat rabbits?
B: May one eat rabbits on Tuesdays?

B is a duplicate of A because it is not reasonable to expect that an ideally complete answer to A ("No, one categorically may not eat rabbits, as demonstrated in the following sources. ...") would not naturally address B, since there is no reasonable reason to believe that the rules of Kashrut are different on Tuesdays.

But:

C: May one eat rabbits as part of this medical diagnostic test that requires the consumption of rabbits?

C is clearly not a duplicate of A because it is reasonable to expect that the complete answer to A would not address C, since there may indeed be special dispensation for this diagnostic measure as a result of the nature of the case.

And:

D: May one eat rabbits on Tuesdays? It says in Bava Maiseh 37j that all herbivores that chew their cuds are permitted for consumption on Tuesdays.

Assuming that the cited source exists, D is not a duplicate of A, since it has presented, within itself, a reasonable case, even if wrong, that a complete answer to A would not address the special consideration presented in D.

However:

J: Who were the primary mentors of the rabbis who attended the famous Seder in Bnei Brak?
K: Of the rabbis at the famous Seder in Bnei Brak, were any each other's primary mentor?

K is a duplicate of J, since any complete answer to J would naturally resolve K.

One more:

P: Experience-based advice for keeping a sukka from being blown around by the wind, with criteria ...
Q: Experience-based advice for keeping a sukka from being blown around by the wind, with criteria ... on a boat!

An ideally complete answer to P would probably analyze the situation and criteria, describe the author's related experience, and offer a variety of advice that would be useful in pretty much any normal setting for building a sukka. It's not reasonable, however, to expect it to cover the special wind-readiness concerns that affect the nautical sukka-builder. Therefore, Q is not a duplicate of P.

Note that by employing words like "reasonable" and "obvious," this language is subject to subjective interpretation on a case-by-case basis by people who know something about Judaism. Indeed, that's why we pay close-voters and moderators the big bucks.

  • 5
    You better be willing to double my salary, because introducing subjectivity like that will quadruple my complaints received. – Double AA Mar 18 '15 at 4:30
  • Isn't D a duplicate of B (and vice-versa)? So duplicity isn't transitive? Weird. – Double AA Mar 18 '15 at 4:31
  • A should be edited to explicitly limit itself to some set of 'normal circumstances' (perhaps we can say such a limitation is assumed) or to ask about eating rabbit specifically qua prohibitions of kashrut. No need to make up new rules to separate it from C. – Double AA Mar 18 '15 at 4:33
  • 3
    @DoubleAA I'll do better. I'll quadruple your salary – Shmuel Brin Mar 18 '15 at 4:52
  • 2
    @DoubleAA, Yes, D is a higher-quality duplicate of B. If B had already been posted and duped to A, then editing it to be D and voting to re-open would be superior to posting D anew. – Isaac Moses Mar 18 '15 at 12:49
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    @DoubleAA, I think "normal circumstances" is a fair assumption, generally, and that editing a disclaimer to that effect into questions would generally be unnecessary and strange-looking. For the record, I don't think this answer is really presenting a new rule so much as explicating my sense of a common-sense understanding of duplicates. – Isaac Moses Mar 18 '15 at 13:06
  • @IsaacMoses So D is a dupe of B which is a dupe of A, but D is not a dupe of A. That's unintuitive. If A handles B and B handles D, shouldn't A handle D? – Double AA Mar 18 '15 at 14:11
  • 1
    @DoubleAA B is poorly-written and could probably also be closed as "Unclear." When stuff is underspecified, you can have pathologies like the one you've identified. I suspect this is true under practically any definition of "duplicate." – Isaac Moses Mar 18 '15 at 15:10
  • @IsaacMoses What of judaism.stackexchange.com/q/45533/759? Isn't it reasonable to think that a complete treatment of the general question will mention Maran HaRav Ovadia Zichrono Livracha 's opinion? – Double AA Jun 5 '15 at 5:57
  • @DoubleAA, I think that until a reason is given why one might expect ROY to have a distinct position (per my D), it's reasonable to expect that at the very least, his position would be consistent with whatever position[s] is/are given in a complete answer to the other question. – Isaac Moses Jan 20 '16 at 19:01
  • According to this answer, judaism.stackexchange.com/q/70153 and judaism.stackexchange.com/q/34013 are duplicates of judaism.stackexchange.com/q/507 (because the complete answer to the latter should answer the former two also) and should be closed. However, perhaps an exception should be made for mi-yodeya-series? – msh210 Apr 7 '16 at 17:10
  • @msh210, I think it'd be fair to close #507 in particular, along with certain other entries in the series, as "Too Broad." I disagree, though, with those proposed dupes. #70153 asks "why so many 7s in Judaism" and could use the answers to #507 as evidence that there are, in fact, so many. #34013, similarly, asks "why do the holidays have 7s?" I suppose one answer could be "Because there are so many 7s in Judaism; see #507," and another could be "Because 7 is generally significant in Judaism; see this answer to #70153," but there could be other answers, especially holiday-specific ones. – Isaac Moses Apr 7 '16 at 17:52
  • @msh210 I see that my previous comment is in accord with this one by DanF, on #70153 and this one, by ray, on #34013. – Isaac Moses Apr 7 '16 at 17:54
  • @IsaacMoses re your comments: But wouldn't the complete answer to "7 mi yodeya?" also include all the details of "why so many 7s" and "why are the holidays 7 days"? – msh210 Apr 7 '16 at 18:13
  • @msh210 Why would answering a "What?" question completely necessarily also answer "Why?"? – Isaac Moses Apr 7 '16 at 18:23
1

I think that if question B is accused of being a duplicate of question A, and there is at least one answer that is a valid answer to question A that would not be a valid answer to question B, then question B is not a duplicate of question A.

I think it is exactly the reverse. If there is at least one answer to B that would not answer A, then B cannot be a duplicate of A. The reason for this is as follows:

There are three goals involved in the process of closing a question as a duplicate:

  1. Duplicate content should not be reproduced in multiple places.
  2. The same question should not have different answers in different places.
  3. Every question (not every post) should have the possibility of receiving any valid answer.

I think Goal #3 is the most important, because it affects the very purpose of the site, while Goal #1 and Goal #2 are issues of convenience/interface.

Now let's see how these goals would play out in various cases:

  • Every valid answer to A is a valid answer to B, and every valid answer to B is a valid answer to A.

    In such a case Question B is obviously a duplicate (or question A can be considered the duplicate, but that doesn't matter for the purposes of this discussion) because closing as a duplicate upholds all three goals.

  • There are valid answers to A that would not be valid answers to B, and there are valid answers to B that would not be valid answers to A.

    B is not a duplicate, because closing B would violate Goal #3, as there will now be valid answers to B that can never be posted (since they are not valid answers to A). Even though leaving B open might allow some answers from A to be reproduced on B (violation of Goal #1), that needs to be sacrificed in order to uphold Goal #3.

  • There are valid answers to A that would not be valid answers to B, but all valid answers to B would be valid answers to A (the case quoted above).

    In this case B is a duplicate, because leaving B open violates Goal #1 (some of the answers to A might get reproduced on B) while closing B still upholds Goal #3 (because any answer that could have been posted to B can still be posted to A).

  • All answers to A would be valid answers to B, but there are valid answers to B that would not be valid answers to A.

    B is not a duplicate because closing B would prevent some answers to B from being posted at all (violation of Goal #3). Even though leaving B open might allow some answers from A to be reproduced on B (violation of Goal #1), this must be sacrificed in order to uphold Goal #3. (Though B should not be closed as a duplicate of A, A would actually be a duplicate of B in this case, because A in this case is simply the B from the previous case.)

Now let's apply this to the examples created by Isaac Moses and Double AA to see where the conclusions would differ and where they would agree (even if they agree for different reasons):

Isaac's First Example

A: May one eat rabbits?
B: May one eat rabbits on Tuesdays?

B is a duplicate because it falls under my third bullet. While some answers may address eating rabbits without addressing eating rabbits specifically on Tuesdays, no answer can address eating rabbits on Tuesdays without addressing eating rabbits. (Even though addressing only eating rabbits on Tuesdays would not be a complete answer to A, partial answers are still answers, particularly when they are supplementing a more comprehensive answer that just didn't address a specific exception.)

Conclusion: Agrees with Isaac.

Isaac's Second Example

C: May one eat rabbits as part of this medical diagnostic test that requires the consumption of rabbits?

This is still a duplicate because even though, as Isaac points out, it is more likely for this case to be an exception to a general rule, eating rabbits for a medical test is still an example of eating rabbits. While someone answering A would probably not be expected to address C, since the answer to C can still be posted to A it remains a duplicate. If the person who has question C is concerned that no one will think to post the answer to C as an answer to A, there are various methods of requesting such an answer (e.g. bounty, comment, chat, etc.) Alternatively, we can edit A to explicitly exclude C (e.g. "Can one eat rabbits barring medical exigencies?"), which would not invalidate the answers to A, and then C could be reopened as a separate question.

Conclusion: Disagrees with Isaac.

Isaac's Third Example

D: May one eat rabbits on Tuesdays? It says in Bava Maiseh 37j that all herbivores that chew their cuds are permitted for consumption on Tuesdays.

This is still a duplicate because an answer saying that Tuesdays are an exception because of Bava Maiseh 37j can still be posted as a partial answer to A. In this case, if the existing answers to A don't mention any exceptions, you can even post a comment to those answers pointing out that they are not entirely correct because Bava Maiseh 37j proves that there are exceptions.

Conclusion: Disagrees with Isaac.

Isaac's Fourth Example

J: Who were the primary mentors of the rabbis who attended the famous Seder in Bnei Brak?
K: Of the rabbis at the famous Seder in Bnei Brak, were any each other's primary mentor?

K is a duplicate of J because any answer specifying that one of the rabbis at the Seder was the primary mentor of another rabbi at the Seder, by definition tells us the primary mentor of one of the rabbis at the Seder. This falls under my third bullet. (See, however, this comment.)

Conclusion: agrees with Isaac.

Isaac's Fifth Example

P: Experience-based advice for keeping a sukka from being blown around by the wind, with criteria ...
Q: Experience-based advice for keeping a sukka from being blown around by the wind, with criteria ... on a boat!

This is again a duplicate, because even though Q might be specific enough that you wouldn't expect an answer to P to address it, any answer to Q can still be posted as a partial answer to P, so it once again falls under my third bullet.

Conclusion: Disagrees with Isaac.

Double AA's First Example

A: Is there an obligation to wear tefillin on Chol HaMoed?
B: Do tefillin apply on Chol HaMoed Sukkot?

B is a duplicate because any answer discussing the obligation of tefillin on Chol Hamoed Sukkot is necessarily discussing the obligation of tefillin on Chol Hamoed, even if incompletely (since it wouldn't address Chol Hamoed Pesach). Since any answer to B can be posted to A, this falls under my third bullet.

Note that if there truly is a difference in halacha between Chol Hamoed Sukkot and Chol Hamoed Pesach, a better option might be to edit A to specifically refer to Pesach and now have two separate questions. If someone would later come and ask C about Chol Hamoed in general C can be closed as a duplicate of A+B. But the existence of this option does not affect the duplicate status if the option is not utilized.

Conclusion: Agrees with Double AA.

Double AA's Second Example

A: What books of Tanakh start with a ש?
B: What books of Neviim start with a ש?

B is a duplicate because any book of Neviim is also a book of Tanakh. Thus, any answer to B can be posted as a partial answer to A, and this therefore falls under my third bullet.

As in the previous example, we again have the alternative option of editing A to limit it to only books of Torah and Ketuvim, and then leave both questions open. However, here it would be not quite as good of an option, because specifying precisely Torah and Ketuvim but not Neviim would be a bit odd.

Conclusion: Agrees with Double AA.

Double AA's Third Example

A: Should one repeat Shemoneh Esrei if he forgot to say Mashiv HaRuach?
B: Do Ashkenazim repeat the Amida if they forget the insertion of Mashiv...?

This is also a duplicate. Any answer that discusses whether Ashkenazim repeat Shemoneh Esrei addresses A (albeit incompletely). Since any answer to B can be posted as an answer to A, this also falls under my third bullet.

Here the option of editing A is even less desirable than in the previous example, because there might be a lot more than three possible subcategories, so a question specifying everyone except Ashkenazim would be even more odd.

Conclusion: Agrees with Double AA.

Double AA's Fourth Example

A: Is pig kosher?
B: May one consume ham?

Since ham is a part of pig, any answer discussing the kashrut of ham is necessarily discussing the kashrut of pig (albeit incompletely), so any answer to B can be posted to A, and therefore this is also a duplicate as it falls under my third bullet.

Conclusion: Agrees with Double AA.


Note that even though my conclusion agreed with Double AA in all four instances, I don't know that we are agreeing on the underlying rationale.

-3

If I understand your question, your requirement of "at least one valid answer" to question A, is not about question B at all.

It is only about whether a question with no valid answer should be used at all to disqualify the 2nd question as duplicate.

Duplicate question status is about the content of the question, not the answers.

  • 2
    To clarify, I think the question here (and the answers) are using the term "valid answer" to mean a potential answer, not necessarily an existing answer. Are you using it to refer to an existing answer? – Alex Dec 13 '18 at 20:11
-4

I disagree with this proposal. Consider the following sets of questions:

A: Is there an obligation to wear tefillin on Chol HaMoed?
B: Do tefillin apply on Chol HaMoed Sukkot?

A: What books of Tanakh start with a ש?
B: What books of Neviim start with a ש?

A: Should one repeat Shemoneh Esrei if he forgot to say Mashiv HaRuach?
B: Do Ashkenazim repeat the Amida if they forget the insertion of Mashiv...?

A: Is pig kosher?
B: May one consume ham?

or even better:

A: May one eat rabbits?
B: May one eat rabbits on Tuesdays?

According to you, all of these B's should stay open, whereas I believe they should be closed as duplicates given that B is entirely accounted for and hence subsumed in A (question-wise; we don't look at answers when determining duplicity).

If the answers to A don't precisely address B yet, the OP can wait, start a bounty (there's one called "Improve Details"), edit to improve the post and thereby bump it, or perhaps (particularly if A is already quite broad) edit out the B part from A and ask it separately.

  • No because B is a member of A. The problem is when A is closed as a dup of B. – Shmuel Brin Mar 17 '15 at 23:39
  • @shm did I misunderstand the question? – Double AA Mar 17 '15 at 23:58
  • @ShmuelBrin DoubleAA is right. The question was about a case in which "there is at least one answer that is a valid answer to question A that would not be a valid answer to question B" but B is closed. So A can be "eat rabbits?" and B "eat rabbits Tuesdays?" where an answer to A can be "not Saturdays at least". But if A is "eat rabbits Tuesdays?" and B is "eat rabbits?" and an answer to A "no, not allowed on Tuesdays and here's why" -- well, that's an answer to B also. – msh210 Mar 18 '15 at 0:21
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    In your third example, to make it more dramatic, let's replace Ashkenazim with a minority group, say, Belzer Chassidim. If I want to know specifically what the ruling would be for this community, I'd have to first edit the original question to explicitly exclude it there? – Isaac Moses Mar 18 '15 at 2:15
  • @IsaacMoses I made the same point in a now deleted question - if a question asked "Which words in Tanach have a gematria of X," with 800 valid answers none of which were from sefer Shmuel, and someone asked "which words in the first half of sefer Shmuel have a gematria of X" we would have to edit the first question to specifically exclude the first half of sefer Shmuel? – Y     e     z Mar 18 '15 at 2:39
  • @yez you must agree though that your proposal as presented is ludicrous? – Double AA Mar 18 '15 at 4:22
  • This conversation has been moved to chat. – Double AA Mar 19 '15 at 3:16

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