Nearly every day, I see a question I suspect of being a duplicate. Sometimes I find a dupe, sometimes not. Common problems are so familiar to many of us that we know whether a given question has been asked before. Nonetheless, it's getting harder to find them. It's clearly easier to answer some of them, the ones with short answers, which others do, some of whom are long-time users. Sometimes the new answer gets more upvotes than the answer to the original question it is virtually identical to. But that's how SE works, and I've been used to it now for years; so it seems more amusing to me than unfair.
I have gold badges in a number of popular tags, so often I can't cast a close vote without closing it. So I leave a comment, thinking either others will support by voting or the OP or someone else will object. It happens sometimes that a user will object on the basis of trivial differences in wording or context, even though the answers to the duplicate solve the problem.
Sometimes I just throw my hands up and hope the question fades away and doesn't come back to my attention. I feel there is not the same support for closing duplicates as there used to be. Maybe that's the way the community wants it. Maybe folks do not want to be involved in such moderation tasks. The tasks take time and they're not very interesting. Some folks seem to think closing as a duplicate gives the OP negative feedback, which they would rather avoid doing. If I remember, I go back to questions I commented on and vote to close, if appropriate.
I'm wondering if it's better to give the OP a specific solution than close as a duplicate and make them figure out how to change the variable
y, or whatever adjustment might be needed. It's more interesting to write an answer, even if it's the same answer I wrote last year, than to search for an old dupe. And sometimes it's less work.
For context, the following prompted this outburst:
A couple questions away there's the same problem:
I suggested they are duplicates of this:
I don't mean to ask about these specific questions. My personal motivation is from wondering whether the effort and closures are appreciated enough that it's worth my time to do it. If the community does not feel that closing as duplicate is valuable to the site -- it's a valid reason, but I'm asking, is it a valued reason? Perhaps some are thinking we should mark duplicate less often. It gives the OP specific help and allows others to earn rep points.
So is closing as a duplicate still a valued close reason?
How exactly like a question should a duplicate be? (I think this is hard to define, and the first question is more important to me. However, I feel this might be part of the issue in some cases.)