I had asked a question on Oct that you can see here. After months, some one asked the same question whereas received better answers that you can also see it here. I flagged the question as a "possible duplicate" but surprisingly, I saw this is my post that is flagged as a duplicate. I had got annoyed and post some comments which were quite argumentative.

I said please remove your flag and I consider this as an insult. However, the corresponding editor, says the duplicate does not necessarily mean "plagiarism". However, as an engineer and researcher, the duplicate has exactly the same meaning as plagiarism (to me). And This can be paraphrased as a very brassy and rude argument depending on the persons.

Therefore, I think it is better to use the words correctly. I suggest to use "Well-Answered Duplicate" to such posts rather to disparage the original question.

  • 4
    I disagree. Your proposed wording is a bit too wordy and "duplicate" has never been interpreted this way in SE.
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 11:47
  • 2
    This is not about your problem, but I find it a bit strange that the accepted answer (of the newer question, which is now merged into your question) is from the same user who posted roughly the same thing in your question. I think if we tried, just a little more, we would find lots of duplicates on our site. Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 11:57
  • @DamkerngT. We definitely have lots of duplicates that aren't closed as such.
    – user230
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 11:59
  • @Ϻ.Λ.Ʀ. No matter what it is, but disparaging the original is not acceptable nor interesting ! What is your suggestion ?
    – Cardinal
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 12:37
  • 2
    Don't worry @Cardinal. Downvotes on meta only indicate disagreement and nothing else.
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 12:38
  • 2
    Well, again, you were downvoted because three users disagreed with your proposal. Voting on meta works differently from the main site. And there's no reputation exchanges for what voting happened on meta.
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 12:41
  • Oh huh. Now I see what you mean. Lemme post an answer.
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 12:45
  • Downvote retracted. Welcome to meta!
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 12:59

3 Answers 3


You are confusing the noun duplicate with the verb duplicate.

The verb duplicate means "to copy."

The noun duplicate means "one that resembles or corresponds to another."

A duplicate question means one that has been asked previously, not necessarily word-for-word, but in essence.

More than 20,000 questions have been asked on ELL. Sooner or later, someone is going to ask something that has been asked before. Rather than get two sets of answers to two very similar questions that essentially ask about the same thing, the Stack Exchange has a mechanism whereby duplicate questions can point to an earlier question that has been satisfactorily answered.

As for this:

I consider this as an insult. As an engineer and researcher, duplicate has exactly the same meaning as plagiarism (to me). And this can be paraphrased as a very brassy and rude argument depending on the persons.

If you consider standard Stack Exchange nomenclature to be "insulting," then chances are you are misinterpreting the words, or taking the commentary too personally (or both).

The term "duplicate" has been used across dozens of Stack Exchanges for years. I think the problem is with you, not with the verbiage.

Learn what it means in context. Do as the Romans do, and be thankful someone is trying to help you get answers to your questions.

  • 1
    If you are a big fan of domains with "solid rules," then English is probably not for you :^)
    – J.R. Mod
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 22:13
  • @Cardinal Language is not mathematics, and cannot be reduced to such. Words do not have unambiguous, universal, and constant meanings. Context is everything. This may particularly be true of English, given its peculiar history and widespread use, but the same can be said of any natural human language.
    – choster
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 22:17
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    One of the biggest mistakes learners make is relying on a single dictionary to provide all the nuances of a word. If I'm not sure of a word's meaning, I usually check at least three dictionaries before I settle the matter in my mind. Wordnik is one of my favorite sites; it lists definitions from three or four different dictionaries on a single web page.
    – J.R. Mod
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 23:38

This use of the word "duplicate" is derived from software bug-tracking.

StackExchange was started by the company that produces FogBugz. FogBugz is a bug-tracking tool. The purpose of a bug-tracking tool is to let testers find problems with software, let programmers know about the problems with the software, and keep track of the programmers' progress in fixing the problems.

In bug-tracking software, "duplicate" is a word that means "this problem has already been pointed out." It does not imply plagiarism. It does not even imply that the testers noticed identical symptoms. It just implies that if the programmers fix one of the reported problems, they will also fix the others at the same time.

Sometimes, a single bug will show up in different ways. For example, a memory leak could cause one feature to be slow, and cause another feature to crash the program. Different testers might find the same problem. One tester might test a feature five different ways, and two of the ways might run into problem(s). Software testers are encouraged to report all of the problems they find.

The same bug might get reported several times. The programmers can figure out that several reports are all talking about the same bug. When this happens, the programmers track their progress on one of the bug reports, and "close" the other (related) bug reports as "duplicates". The programmers link the reports together, so that a person who is worried about any of the bug reports can track the progress on the main report.

In bug-tracking software, it is OK to close a bug report as a "duplicate" of something that was reported later on. Suppose a problem is reported on January 1, and another problem is reported on February 2. Suppose that nobody realizes that both problems are caused by the same bug. Suppose that a programmer starts fixing the problem that was reported in February. Halfway through, he might realize that his fix will also fix the January problem. He might keep writing up his work on the February problem, and close the January problem as a "duplicate".

  • Fine, I said It was my thoughts. I use only Oxford Dictionary and in my field duplicate implies banal thing. However, Thanks for the clarification.
    – Cardinal
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 22:01

From the comments it became clear(er) that the OP's main problem is why their question should be marked as a duplicate of a new one.

The answer lies in the mother meta. Should I vote to close a duplicate question, even though it's much newer, and has more up to date answers? Yes, if the newer question has better answers.

Marking your post as a duplicate doesn't harm you in any way as per Does marking an earlier question as a duplicate of a newer one harm the asker?. But anyway, this is not the case here, as Maulik took the effort to merge the questions. Thanks Maulik! So I think it's case closed for everyone.

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