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A few days ago I posted the question, Revisiting producing structured PDFs from LaTeX. This asked how I could generate a tagged PDF directly from latex. Fairly quickly, the question was flagged as already having an answer here, How can tagged PDFs be created that support Universal Accessibility and reflowing?

In that case, I didn't think that the answer to the original question was actually an answer. The answer didn't contain something that I could use to achieve the goals I set out in my question, and didn't cover the same ground. Unfortunately I think in this case that those reviewers who flagged it as duplicate didn't understand the nuances of the question. I could have done a better job explaining it, maybe?

Flagging new questions as duplicates is particularly problematic when there are new packages that might have come out since the original question was asked, if requirements change with time, or there are fine nuances to a question. (As the aggrieved newbie) I don't think the current process responds to that challenge.

On to the aspect of this. I would appreciate some thoughts on the points below. Partly this is me learning how tex.se works, but partly I think that there are some issues with the 'all answers in the same place' model that we're trying to use.

  1. How do we make it clearer to people posting here that their question is being flagged as duplicate and give them the chance to fix / respond to that before it gets confined to oblivion? Can we get those notifications in our inbox?
  2. If the new question is sufficiently well phrased and differentiated from the original question, surely the new question should remain?
  3. How do we encourage knowledgeable people to look again at old questions? Is a bounty of 50 reputation really enough?
  4. What happens when the OP has vanished, and the 'original' question is no longer being maintained? Does it really make sense to keep the old question as the main source of answers?
  5. Where packages, requirements, or standards, are changing, what about having a back link from the original question to the new question that says

This question was answered in year. A related question was asked here in more recent year which may be helpful.

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    3,2,1,... flagged as possible duplicate. – Andy Clifton Jul 19 '13 at 1:17
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    Nothing is final around here. Users with enough reputation are able to cast votes for virtually everything, including reopening questions and undeleting answers. The same way your question was closed as a duplicate, it was reopened in the very same fashion. I agree that some users try to solve things in a quicker pace than the older residents are used to (like casting votes willy nilly instead of taking some precautions on the subject), but they are just trying to tidy things up and eventually get a little ahead of themselves in the heat of the process. But we can always fix things. :) – Paulo Cereda Jul 19 '13 at 14:31
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    If you have read the "duplicate" before asking, and you know why it doesn't address your problem, why not link it from your question, and explain why it doesn't help? – T. Verron Jul 20 '13 at 19:21
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    I did, I will again... – Andy Clifton Jul 20 '13 at 19:39
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    I flagged it and I still believe it's a duplicate as the old one doesn't have a satisfatory answer. You're basically asking the same question and hoping for new answers. Why don't you update the old question and offer a bounty for new answers? – Martin Schröder Jul 22 '13 at 9:23
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As I understand it, the idea is that a question is a duplicate if it covers the same area as a previous question, however old that previous question. Now, it may be that new answers appear over time to the problem at hand, but they should (normally) be added to the older question. Attracting attention to the 'master' question, to try to get newer answers, can be done by adding a bounty, where you might explicitly say

[This question deserves more attention] I'm looking for an up-to-date (<year>) take on this: the existing answers all cover the situation only up to <older-year>.

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    i don't disagree with the intent of your answer -- avoiding duplicates and having all answers in one place is a good thing -- but maybe a few other things should be considered when the situation has changed: a newbie may well not have enough rep to offer a bounty; some participants look at "newest" questions first, rather than "active" ones, so could miss new info; really active questions tend to get long lists of answers, so anything new starts at the bottom until it gets voted up; a great answer three years ago may no longer be relevant, but won't be downvoted. how to address these concerns? – barbara beeton Jul 19 '13 at 14:32
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    @barbarabeeton “so anything new starts at the bottom until it gets voted up” -- answers can be sorted active, oldest and votes. I forgot what the default is (I guess votes). I have them always sorted active so new answers are always somewhere at the top :) – clemens Jul 19 '13 at 14:38
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    @cgnieder -- thanks for this reminder. how many people know they can re-sort answers? (i suppose i should have, but it didn't occur to me. clearly i need to pay better attention to the fine print.) – barbara beeton Jul 19 '13 at 14:58
  • I've added a bounty to my question. Let's see if that helps... – Andy Clifton Jul 20 '13 at 19:47
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    I think I would prefer the original Q&A to stay in place as being 'right' for when the question was answered. If, say, a couple of years later someone pops up and asks a new but related question, I think it would be fair to allow that new question to stay active so that (as @barbarabeeton mentioned) the new question generates traffic. If people don't have the rep to spare on a bounty, this is pretty much the only way to do it. And, please give the OP the chance to clean up the question (inbox notifications) before clobbering the question as a duplicate. – Andy Clifton Jul 21 '13 at 21:02

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