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It appears new rules don't allow closing duplicate questions if the earlier question does not have an answer? Perhaps I am just using the close function wrong, if so, my apologies. When I attempted to initiate a close on a question earlier, using a link to the earlier question, a message appeared stating something along the lines (I didn't copy the message) that 'the earlier question does not have an accepted or up-voted answer' and the system did not seem to accept my close vote. I received the same result when trying to flag the question after not being able to vote to close.

This seems to allow users to spam the same question over and over ( and over and over and over, annoying isn't it?)

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    These aren't new rules. – Richard Aug 19 '18 at 18:06
  • I see. Just something I hadn't encountered before... – justCal Aug 19 '18 at 18:42
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As far as I'm aware, the rule that the "duplicate" question has to have an accepted or up-voted answer isn't new. It has been there at least as long as I've been using SE. This is from the Help Centre:

The original question must have an answer; you cannot mark a question as a duplicate of an unanswered one.

If a user is posting the same question over-and-over, just flag it for moderator attention - linking to the question(s) that you think are duplicates, and a moderator will take a look at it.

  • I just must not have run into it before, with a duplicate only 9 hrs old. I did try to flag it, but got the same result, although perhaps the flag went thought afterall, or the user self deleted... – justCal Aug 19 '18 at 18:39
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Like sempaiscuba says, the system has been this way for a while. Specifically, since 2013.

In order to vote to close (or flag, for users that don't have the close vote privilege) a question as a duplicate of another, (at least) one of the following must be true:

  • The other question has an answer with a score of 1 or more
  • The other question has an accepted answer
  • Both questions were asked by the same account
  • It's meta
  • The person closing the question is a moderator

So, if you see someone asking the same question more than once you can vote to close it as a duplicate.

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