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On Science Fiction, we have this well-agreed on policy on closing story-identification questions as duplicates:

questions should only be closed as duplicates where both answers are accepted, regardless of the similarity between them. (If the OP posts a "yes this is it" comment, that's as good as an acceptance.)
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Does Literature have an equivalent policy on story-identification questions? Is the policy different here?

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    Does the policy, in either place, distinguish between questions that are duplicates and questions with duplicate answers? If for eg there was an ID request where the querent recalled Death working as a farmhand and racing a combine harvester, and another person sought help IDing a book where a bunch of wizards kill a shopping mall, the answer to each would be Pratchett's Reaper Man. However, a reader who had forgotten one of the story threads may well not find or recognize a question addressing the other thread as relevant. Would one of those risk being closed as a duplicate? – Spagirl May 16 at 15:29
  • @Spagirl both would be closed on Sci-Fi. – Stormblessed May 16 at 17:34
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    I'm sure I'm missing something obvious, but why? To be clear I only used Pratchett as an example of the fact that two questions might have no overlap in terms of the things they remember abut a book, yet still be about the same book. – Spagirl May 17 at 9:31
  • Since @Stormblessed hasn’t offered any answer, can anyone else. – Spagirl Jun 16 at 18:00
  • @Spagirl any story-ID question that has the same answer as another one gets closed there, if the answer is accepted, even if they are very different questions. See this and this, which while being quite different one is closed as a dupe of the other. – Stormblessed Jun 29 at 18:54
  • yes, but you said that in my example they would both be closed, leaving no answer at all... – Spagirl Jun 30 at 16:40
  • @Spagirl oh that was bad, nonsensical wording on my part, sorry. – Stormblessed Jun 30 at 17:36
  • Ah, that's not so bad, but I still think that if a book can be identified from two different questions with no overlapping content, both questions should stand, or perhaps the content of the later question incorporated in the first. – Spagirl Jul 1 at 9:18
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We don't currently have an explicit policy on closing story identification questions as duplicates. However, I don't see a clear reason why we have to rely on acceptance to close as duplicate.

Answer acceptance is a mechanical feature of the site that's optional, and doesn't line up with an indicator that a specific answer Is Correct. Most frequently, new users ignore this part of the site altogether. I also don't see us having serious problems with incorrectly closing story ID questions as duplicates, so I'm reluctant to put a rule in place when there is no problem to fix. (Even if we did have that problem, my gut says education would be a more effective first step.)

In short, if they're obvious duplicates, close 'em as duplicates, and this covers probably 90%+ of cases. If they're not obvious duplicates, it's okay to either hold off for a while, or not VTC at all.

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    +1 for "reluctant to put a rule in place when there is no problem to fix". Maybe in a few years when the site is much bigger and has hundreds of potential ID duplicates, we might think about creating a concrete policy on it, but for now, meh. – Rand al'Thor May 16 at 14:24
  • So you'll only be wrong in circa 10% of cases? That sounds like an awful lot of annoyed users, which is precisely why we went for the 'only if both are accepted' rule on SFF – Valorum Jun 29 at 18:14
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questions should only be closed as duplicates where both answers are accepted, regardless of the similarity between them. (If the OP posts a "yes this is it" comment, that's as good as an acceptance.)

Simple, easy to administer.

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