Why is the phrase "exact duplicate" used instead of just "duplicate"? Can there be an inexact duplicate? I've actually never seen an exact duplicate of another question (i.e. word for word the same) and sometimes ones marked exact duplicate don't even cover the 'exact' same ground as another but are close enough to be marked duplicate.

Sorry if this nitpicking but it's been niggling at me every time I see it.

  • Because if it's not "exact" it should be allowed? I believe "exact" doesn't mean the words are the same, it means the answers are the same.
    – Nicole
    Feb 18, 2011 at 0:19
  • @Renesis but surely then if it's not "exact" it's also not a duplicate, so would be allowed on that basis?
    – Alb
    Feb 18, 2011 at 0:21
  • If the "exactness" is based on answers being the same, then it could be a "non-exact duplicate" if some answers can apply but others are unique to one question or the other. Example - many career questions could share the same flippant answer, "Quit your job!" and in that sense there is some overlap -- but the detailed answers would be more specific to each question.
    – Nicole
    Feb 18, 2011 at 0:29

1 Answer 1


It's because programmers, unless you tell them to be strict, think every question is a duplicate of some other question if they squint their eyes hard enough.



  • thanks, you make the distinction between exact duplicates and accidental ones in the descriptions of the three classes of duplicate question, but both exact and accidental get closed as exact duplicates. I guess my point is, if questions can only be closed as exact duplicates, why bother having the 'exact' qualifier there.
    – Alb
    Feb 18, 2011 at 1:13
  • OK, so some of the language on the site is for the benefit of programmers. Makes sense.
    – Tom Au
    May 26, 2013 at 22:40

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