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This is a followup on my previous meta question.

This (my) question has been marked as a duplicate and closed: "This question has been asked before and already has an answer." And of course, a different question was linked. Which is essentially is fine by itself.

My "problem" is, that the liked question/answer does not answer my question. I wanted to know HOW I can activate WinXP not IF MS will allow a future activation in general. I found a solution but I would very much like to know if there are other once, besides the ones that were posted. This is no longer possible for this question since it's closed. (Re)Reading through the help center about the reasons to use the duplicate/close tags I thought I understand them, they not applied correctly (which, granted, is doubtful but still a possibility). So whats the way to go in order to "solve my problem"?

1) I could argue the case that the questions might be similar but they are not asking about the same thing:

  • my question is much more specific: First The linked question actually consists of two independent topics (which would be better asked as two separate questions). Secondly, the linked question is very general it doesn't ask how to solve a problem only asks if there will be a problem. Thirdly, I'm looking for (all sorts of) methods to activate WinXP offline (for several reasons)

  • the context/circumstances changed. 5 years ago you could still use the phone number that was supplied within the activation dialogue or use the online activation. This is no longer the case. The German phone number doesn't work anymore and a lot of users seem to have trouble (as I have) to use the online activation (which in itself poses a problem since you don't want to connect an insecure OS to the internet).

2) If the questions are similar and there is no way of editing mine in order to differentiate it enough. I could raise the point if it makes sense to mark the linked question as a duplicate and not mine. First of all the linked question does not provide an answer to my question (solutions offline activation for Windows in 2019), secondly, the linked question has much lower activity, it doesn't have an accepted answer etc. It's "only" older, and as far as I remember correctly, the date of the question is not the relevant criteria (although I'm not sure where I read that).

Essentially I have two questions:

A) What would be the best approach here (1 or 2)? If I need to, how should I rephrase the question that emphasizes the difference? Should I just add that I'm specifically looking for an offline solution including any "unofficial" workarounds? Would that be enough?

B) What is the reason behind the "rule" of closing duplicate questions (how exactly does it benefit the site) and how do they apply in this case? Is there something I completely missed here?

I would be grateful for some advice and or explanation. I hope it's clear that my main goal is not a certain outcome but to get a better understand the procedures (or the general accepted way of doing things). And that I'm using my WinXP question as a working example so this is not just a hypothetical meta question.

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What would be the best approach here (1 or 2)?

What if I disagree with the closure of a question? How can I reopen it?

Stack Exchange is collaboratively built, maintained, and moderated by the community. If you see a question and you disagree with the stated reason of its closure, you should first try to edit the question to improve it as much as possible. Read the close notice and any comments carefully to address concerns raised there. Closed questions that receive edits within the first 5 days of closure are automatically put into a review queue to be considered for reopening.

Source What if I disagree with the closure of a question? How can I reopen it? - Help Center - Super User

The standard approach is to edit (your closed question) and explain clearly why it is not a duplicate.

This will put your revised question in the reopen queue where the community will vote on whether to reopen it or not.

In your case the community closed it yesterday and it has not been edited since.

I could raise the point if it makes sense to mark the linked question as a duplicate and not mine.

Duplicates can be either direction. It is more usual to close the newer as a duplicate of the older but it can be the other way around for the reasons you have suggested.

If the new question is a better question or has better answers, then vote to close the old one as a duplicate of the new one.

You can flag and ask a moderator to merge after closure if they're exactly the same.

If they differ based on the versions of the relevant systems, then they're not really exact duplicates - make sure this is indicated in the questions themselves, and provide cross-links so folks looking for one but finding the other have a path to the correct answers.

Source Should I vote to close a duplicate question, even though it's much newer, and has more up to date answers?, answer by Shog9

In any case it makes no difference as the whole point is to be able to find one question from the other and that is possible in both cases.

Should I just add that I'm specifically looking for an offline solution including any "unofficial" workarounds? Would that be enough?

Maybe. Having said that, you have already answered the question yourself and the second part of your answer is an offline solution.


What is the reason behind the "rule" of closing duplicate questions?

Why are some questions marked as duplicate?

The fundamental goal of closing duplicate questions is to help people find the right answer by getting all of those answers in one place. This does not mean that every duplicate will immediately be closed; we love (some) dupes. There are many ways to ask the same question, and a user might not be able to find the answer if they're asking it a different way.

Source Why are some questions marked as duplicate? - Help Center - Super User

  • Thanks for you thorough answer. You raised some good points, I will take them under advisement. By now the question was reopend again without my intervention. Some final thoughts: If one of the question has to be closed, the reason behind the closure would be the most compelling reason not to close my question, since it leads exactly to the opposite (it will force further answers on specific activation methods to be written in a different place from where most of them are) – Albin Nov 21 at 13:09
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    Just want to add a link about how to decide which one of similar questions to close - keep one with the best answers. The date is not essential. See meta.stackexchange.com/questions/147643/… – MiFreidgeim SO-stop being evil Nov 24 at 12:32
  • @MiFreidgeimSO-stopbeingevil Thanks. I've update the answer with your link. – DavidPostill Nov 24 at 13:30

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