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I recently read a question that goes hand-in-hand with one of my previous questions, and I was going to provide a link in a comment when I realized that some of the relevant requirements were different (to be clear, the question was not a duplicate).

Here's a scenario that I imagined:

  • Question 1 asks for a recommendation of a [piece of hardware] that costs [$X] and has [capabilities a-f].
  • Question 2 asks for a recommendation of a [same piece of hardware] that costs [$Y] and has [capabilities g-l].

If the requirements of the products are similar enough but not identical (i.e. there is some non-negligible variation), should Question 2 be marked as a duplicate of Question 1, or should it remain open as its own question?

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I think these shouldn't count as duplicates. I really want to say they should, but we'd run into problems.

  • First, two questions might only differ by price range and maybe one requirement. These would be very similar, but a different price and an extra requirement might change the available selection of hardware by a lot.
    Example: One question asks for a CPU under $150 and another asks for one around $500 (both with the same requirements). These will render very different answers.
  • Second, let's say there will eventually be 50 different CPU questions all with slightly varying price ranges and requirements. If we don't allow slight variations, at what point do we draw the line where a question is different enough to not be a duplicate? It would be a huge pain to decide this (let alone probably having to decide for each instance).
  • Third, if we don't allow similar questions, how would we decide which one to remove? The more complete one? The better-written one? This is similar to my last point in that we'd probably have to decide this for each instance.

The pros outweigh the cons to me. Allowing similar questions would make community upkeep easier and it would give people more room to ask very specific questions.

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Leave it open as its own question. They're not duplicates.

If question A, posted first, says this:

I want a foo that does [x], [y], and [z], for $900

It's not a duplicate of a question that says this:

I want a foo that does [x], but not necessarily [y] or [z], and my budget is $9.


If we say that these are duplicates, why make people write requirements at all? If we're closing other questions that ask for foos into a central question, that question must allow all foos, whether they meet a specific budget or not.

There are different audiences, different usages, and different budgets for the same type of product. They exist, and we shouldn't ignore that. I'd rather have answered tailored to the requirements of a question than try to make answers predict all possible scenarios - which isn't going to happen and would be a moderation nightmare.

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