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I refer to this question requesting data on UK bilateral trade.

UK trade with biggest partners, by year

I provided an answer using mostly the search filter (and my memory)

It is a similar question to this one below:

Can anyone recommend a resource for monthly trade data for Mexico from before 2010?

I don't think these questions are duplicates. They are clearly asking for different things. That said, if this user researched their question a little bit more, they would have found the answer.

What should be done here?

I figure either:

  • Answer it, their will be a lot of overlap between the two questions but it is useful to have answered.

  • Remove as duplicate, it is not a literal duplicate but the answer is very similar.

  • Remove for other reasons, perhaps a question with such low effort put into it could be closed. Seems pretty tough though.

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  • $\begingroup$ Did you check out meta.stackexchange.com? This seems like the kind of issue that other sites must have confronted in the past and maybe they came up with a good solution. In any case, I agree that something should be done about this. $\endgroup$ – Ubiquitous Aug 3 '15 at 17:07
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"Remove as duplicate" is exactly the wrong way to see it. It is Closed as duplicate, together with a link to the other question.

If all of the answers would be equivalent to the two questions, and it doesn't just happen that the one answer can answer both (a full / near-ful overlap), that's the right thing to do.

Remember, closed questions are still visible for future visitors, and find-able through google, and will link to the proper answer. If many/all the answer will be identical, it makes more sense to close the newer question and instead update the older question with additional information should it be required so.

If the answers are identical, there is no benefit to copying the old answer again as opposed to closing/linking the old answers. Quite the opposite, it increases maintenance costs.

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