I've seen that Beamer: including items only some slides using a relative syntax has been closed as a duplicate of How to make beamer overlays with Tikz node

Would it be possible for the voters to explain how it is a duplicate?

The "duplicate" question is not about TikZ and is about relative overlay progression into item lists. The "original" question is about TikZ nodes and absolute overlay progression.

If I had posted my answer to the original question it would have made no sense and vice-versa for the answers posted there.

enter image description here

  • I voted to close because the OP echoed that the linked question's answer is also an answer of his/her question.
    – Werner Mod
    Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 18:05
  • 1
    @Werner So is there a rule such that if the OP says it's a duplicate then it is a duplicate? (Which would be the specular of "if the OP says it's not a duplicate then it's not a duplicate", by the way). Do you think those questions are duplicate?
    – d-cmst
    Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 18:07
  • @dcmst Ususally, if the OP finds what they think is a dupe (and so presumably answers their question) then other people are likely to agree with them. (It's entirely possible that the way a question is posed isn't the same as what they actually need to find out.) However, I'd agree that in this case there does seem to be a better dupe candidate: I'll wait to see what people feel and may well then use the mod hammer to change things.
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 18:54
  • Thanks for the clarification, while we wait, could you point me to the right duplicate?
    – d-cmst
    Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 18:57
  • @dcmst tex.stackexchange.com/questions/154521/relative-overlay-specification-in-beamer
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 19:29
  • @JosephWright But your answer there would not have solved the problem in Tarass question as mine would not have answered Yossi Gil question. Again I fail to see how they are duplicate.
    – d-cmst
    Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 19:34
  • @dcmst I see Tarass's question as essential the same as Yossi Gil's 'How do I use relative slide numbers in beamer?' For Tarass's question you need to perhaps make a slight logical development of my current answer to Yossi Gil's question: <+-.(3)> means 'for this slide for three slides (inclusive)'. That's just combining +, . and (n) syntaxes I describe in my answer to Yossi Gil's question.
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 19:47
  • Note that I didn't vote for the dupe here either way: I'm working from the fact Tarass presumably found something helpful in answer question!
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 19:48
  • @JosephWright Please note that \item<+-.(3)> (which as you say is a "slight logical step", so it was not in your answer) would anyway not solve Tarass problem because it would leave a blank line. So you need to use \only for Tarass question, which isn't mentioned in your answer. I'm not questioning the fact that the OP found something useful in other answers, for what I know, he may have changed the approach completely (using TikZ instead of a list). But still, on the base of the question Tarass asked, it is a different question from the proposed dupes and requires a different answer.
    – d-cmst
    Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 19:55
  • @dcmst I wonder if we are talking at cross-purposes. As I see it, Tarass's question currently says 'I look for the syntax of relative overlay for, let say, 3 next slides: \item<+-??> \item appears here and desappears 3 slides later.' I read that as wanting one item in a list to be present only for some of the slides and to disappear as it would if written 'hard coded', e.g. \item<1-3>. We probably need Tarass to clarify.
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 20:06
  • @JosephWright But if you follow the question development, you'll see that Tarass wanted the item to disappear leaving no blank line. \item<+-??> was an hypothesis he made on the syntax of a potential macro to do that, but it turned out that it was not possible with \item<+-[whatever]>. So the question was not the same as the one you answered and it requires a different answer. Do \item<+-.(3)> and \only<+>{#1}\only<+>{#1}\only<+>{#1}\addtocounterblabla look alternative solutions to the same problem? You can't use one for the other.
    – d-cmst
    Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 20:12
  • I would also like to note that this is not about the OP intentions. This is about the actual content of the question. According to what it's written in the question and what was required to answer, the question is not a duplicate of one of the suggested alternative. Thinking about future readers, it would not make any sense to see that question marked as a duplicate of another totally (as in the case of the TikZ answer) or partially (as in the case of JW answer) question.
    – d-cmst
    Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 20:19
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 20:26
  • 1
    Added an image to make the point a bit less wordy. Remove if this doesn't cover it.
    – percusse
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 18:48

2 Answers 2


Based on some discussion in chat and looking at the comments on the answer by dcmst it seems clear that the question isn't a dupe but that the question also wasn't all that clear. I've therefore edited the question to try to make it clearer and also removed the duplicate mark. (I've also added a second answer, but that's a different aspect!)


This is a common concern with the community: Why are certain questions closed as duplicates of others when they ask for different things. It's simple: The answer to both questions lead to the same answer.

But wait... the question is closed as a duplicate of another question, which is completely wrong when the questions don't ask for the same thing. Right? Correct. But also not really. I'll try to explain.

In some instances the question asked may be different from another "duplicate", but *the linked answers best answered the OP's question, or was the most helpful in finding the solution" (taken from the tooltip text when accepting an answer). Viewed differently, consider the following two outrageous questions:

  1. How do I keep the rain off my back?

  2. How do I stay warm at night?

The questions are obviously different. However, if Question 1 was solved by the answer "Build a house." and the poster of Question 2 felt that such an answer also solved their problem, there's no use in duplicating the answer? If the post is marked as a "duplicate", any visitor to question 1 will see the marked duplicate and find an answer.

Okay, but what if the answer doesn't solve the problem to Questioner 3? Well then, they ask a new question with a reference to Question 1 and/or 2 with reasons why the answer didn't solve their problem - we've seen those questions pop up every now-and-again.

I think inherently the problem might just be with the wording of our responses for closures:

enter image description here

We are limited by these. We sometimes close questions as being off-topic because they are minor, yet the question is clearly on-topic (previously this would have been better filed as a "too localized" closure, but we don't have that option anymore). We sometimes close questions that aren't reproducible as being unclear when it's perfectly clear that the OP has a problem.

In closing, there are no hard-and-fast rules in terms of community decisions. Some people make decisions for the greater good. Other people make decisions out of personal gain/interest.

  • The 'Powers' do point out that duplicate answers tend to mean that the questions are likely to be 'fundamentally similar', i.e. can usually be reworded to the same underlying point. It's not always so easy, but I do see what they are getting at.
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 8:10
  • 5
    This is similar to what I tried to explain in the chat with Joseph Wright and I think it has value as a general point. Say that the OP asks how to do XY with mdframed, then he found an answer where XY is done with tcolorbox, changes the approach completely and marks that as duplicate. I think that the fact that the OP problem is now solved is not a sufficient reason to mark the duplicate. For the sake of future readers it's better stick with what questions say and not with the OP specific needs. Users come and go, the site content stays.
    – d-cmst
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 8:56
  • 3
    I raised the same concern long time ago: Two different questions may have the same answer, but that does not mean that the questions are duplicates.
    – Sveinung
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 21:24
  • 1
    @dcmst I agree up to a point. However, in some cases the OP has an XY problem or just misunderstands the scope of a particular package and, in those cases, the only reasonable answers will involve suggesting a change of approach. Suppose that the OP asked how to draw a pulley diagram with mdframed. Since no solution could avoid reframing the terms of the question, it seems to me it would be perfectly reasonable to consider it a duplicate of a question asking how to draw a similar diagram but which did not specify which package to use.
    – cfr
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 13:51
  • @cfr I agree as long as we keep the two scenarios dstinct: "the OP has an XY problem and the original question cannot be answered as it is" ≠ "the OP decided to change his/her approach but his/her question makes sense in its original form and can be answered."
    – d-cmst
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 13:55

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