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I was looking at the comments for Does transforming keyrunes count towards Evolve? and was curious about when questions actually become similar to warrant a close vote. corsiKa's comment and link point to the idea that the question and the possible duplicate (If a permanent turns into a(nother) creature, has it entered the battlefield?) are distinct questions.

This caused me to go back and take a look at some older duplicate closings. I noticed one that was closed but probably could have had a similar argument made to stay open. https://boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/8020/globals-and-protection-from-that-color asks about both global destroy effects and global -/- counters, but was closed as an exact duplicate of of What does protection from [quality] do?, which asks only about global destroy. This would make them appear to be distinct questions even though the answers will be the same; "destroy" is not the same as adding -/- counters to creatures, but the result is the same when you're talking about color protections.

The questions about evolve are in the same situation. They could be distinct questions and have the same answer; lands are not artifacts, but the interaction with evolve is the same when you animate either.

So my question is: where is the line on whether a question is close enough to another to warrant closing? I feel like this is at least sort of common on B&GC since we deal with rules questions. Small changes in the object or game state may actually change the way rules are applied, and either of my examples could (although they don't) have different answers because the event is slightly different (destroy or -/- counters; land or artifact). It seems important to find this line to be consistent in closing questions as exact duplicates.

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I believe that the key attribute for being a duplicate are when the keywords that might be picked up by a search engine are the same in both questions, and the answers are the same.

Clearly the second condition is necessary. However, it is useful to have some near-duplicates that reference each other, when it broadens the base of keywords that will attract future visitors needing the same answer. These question should link to each other, and in future may be worth merging, but it is not necessary to duplicate them zealously when they are phrased in dissimilar ways that assist more OP's to find a good answer here on Board & Card Games.

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I think all questions about specific cards are not as useful as questions about general concepts. They should then be rewritten in generic terms, only using the specific cards in an example. All questions should be considered duplicates or at a minimum, should link to the generic answer first if the same answer would be sufficient to answer the question.

In the two examples that you gave:

Do global spells with [quality] affect creatures with protection from [quality]?

Can creatures with protection from [quality] be blocked by creatures with [quality]?

These are both different questions, but they both can be answered by the same answer, "How does protection from [quality] work?" You can see how they were both originally written, they were about specific cards, and I am sure how you can see if we allowed questions about specific cards to be considered unique what trouble that would cause. So, in general I think questions about game concepts are most useful, questions about generic cards are slightly worse, and specific card questions are worst. If we don't close them, we should at least link to the same answer first, and then comment on the specific cards.

  • How does protection from [quality] work?
  • Does protection from [quality] prevent [targeting¬¶blocking¬¶damage¬¶enchantment]?
  • Is[specific card] affected by [specific card]?

What happens to a creature with protection from green when I cast Hurricane, What happens to a creature with protection from red when I cast Earthquake, What happens when I cast Wildfire when my opponent has protection from red? [...]

What is important is understanding what "protection from [quality]" does." Once someone understands that, all questions regarding protection are duplicates.

The same goes for your other questions:

  • Does animating an artifact trigger Evolve?

  • Does animating a land trigger "Enters the Battlefield" triggers?

I personally think that both of these questions are duplicates of, "What does it mean for a creature to "Enter the Battlefield?" or "Does changing an object into a creature cause it to Enter the Battlefield?" or some similar variation.

I made this point ages ago when we were getting what I would consider duplicate questions like, how does lifelink and first strike intetact? How does lifelink and double strike interact? How does lifelink and double strike interact if a creature has trample? How does trample interact with protection? [...] Ad Nausium.

If we don't close these as duplicates, I will rue the day people start asking:

  • I attack with a 1/1 and my opponent blocks with a 1/1, what happens?

    • I attack with a 2/1 and my opponent blocks with a 1/1, what happens?

    • I attack with a 1/1 and my opponent blocks with a 2/1, what happens?

    • I attack with a 2/1 and my opponent blocks with a 2/1, what happens?

    • I attack with a 1/2 and my opponent blocks with a 1/1, what happens?

    • I attack with a 1/1 and my opponent blocks with a 1/2, what happens?

    • I attack with a 1/2 and my opponent blocks with a 1/2, what happens?

    • I attack with a 2/2 and my opponent blocks with a 2/2, what happens?

  • [...]

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  • Not that I necessarily disagree with the general theme, but it seems too broad to close all cards about specific questions. For example, how would you deal with boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/11794/…? Since the question is specifically about Valakut, would it be practical to turn it into a question about lands entering the battlefield to trigger abilities? – SocioMatt Apr 23 '13 at 12:10
  • So I meant to say "questions about specific cards." Yay for proofreading. – SocioMatt Apr 23 '13 at 12:53
  • @SocioMatt, Valakut is about "intervening if clauses" and EtB triggers. I have modified my answer, because I do believe that closing questions about specific cards is overkill. Some cards are complicated enough that they deserve specific answers [mtg:Chaos Moon] (what happens when you Lightning Bolt a creature to make the count odd/even then during the main phase a red creature/mountain EtB (-1/-1 or not ... RR/colorless?) – user1873 Apr 23 '13 at 14:00

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