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Today someone inquired about transfer times at Newark airport:

Is 40 minutes enough time to transfer at Newark (EWR)?

An attentive user notes that a similar question has already been asked:

Is 50 minutes enough time to transfer between Terminal A and C at Newark (EWR)?

He is not so wrong on this. However, I have some trouble when the recommendation is to close one of these questions as being a duplicate.

I think a better approach would be to delete both and create a more general question about connections in Newark. This question would allow to cover all the possible scenarios (same/different airline or terminal, domestic and international flights, ...). I see two advantages: The questions is relevant to a larger audience and it can be updated more easily, as these standards can change over time.

What do you think about this alternative approach?

  • You don't have to delete. The site is part forum and part wiki specifically so you everybody can edit and improve average questions into great questions. In fact questions automatically become community wiki questions after enough different editors have contributed I believe. – hippietrail May 26 '13 at 10:44
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Before you start rolling up specific question in favor of more generic inquiries, please consider one of the major tenets behind the creation of this site:

About those tipping questions…

I agree that very specific questions should be preferred to making them too overly generic.

Remember, the lifeblood of this site is search — and if someone is searching for "Tipping in Beijing, China," I sure would like them to find this site.

It seems like a LOT of questions on this site could easily be distilled down to "how do I find out how to …?" — Is that what we really want?

One of the mantras of every Stack Exchange is to ask SPECIFIC questions about problems you actually have. That should go doubly-so for the Travel Stack Exchange.

There are about 200 countries and 1,000's of intermediate destinations. A travel site chock-full of interesting advice tailored specifically to all the fascinating places around the world would be infinitely more interesting than a watered-down list of hackneyed questions that could be asked by anyone.

A stackoverflow-like site with a huge database of fantastically-detailed, long-tailed questions would be a wonderful diversion from generic travel chit-chat sites. That's how we're going to hold the interest of the expert road-warriors we are trying to attract.

There may be a place for a canonical "how to I calculate transfer times in airport {X}", but I'd be really carefully about rolling up and closing very specific, long-tailed questions as part of that process.

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    I can agree with you abou the tipping questions. But here the situation is different – user3470 May 25 '13 at 7:29
  • There's always a balancing act between the long tail on the one hand and "too localized" on the other hand, which is deemed important enough to exist as a specific reason for closing questions. In this case I feel a question about a specific flight of specific date at Newark would be too localized; two questions asking about 40 minutes or 50 minutes transfer time at the same airport appear to be the same question; but a question about a specific pair of terminals at the same airport does indeed look like a good case of the "long tail". – hippietrail May 26 '13 at 10:47

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