This is a good set of questions; perhaps many people, especially our newer users, are wondering about these things.
I need to point out that the policy about closing duplicates isn't a matter of "what some moderators feel:" it's part of the very structure of StackExchange. When you consult an encyclopedia or dictionary or even Amazon.com for information, for instance, you don't want to have to look in multiple places: you expect, and deserve, that what you're looking up will be in one place and it will be cross-referenced to any related (but different) places, so that you don't have to go skipping around to find what you're looking for.
Our site provides great tools to help the asker of questions identify similar threads. In principle, this should resolve many such issues before they ever appear, and everybody is happy. But many askers cannot recognize the similarities because they do not know the terminology or they are not knowledgeable or imaginative enough to see them. That's where the community comes in. We hope and expect that when experienced members first read a new question, they will reflect about whether they have encountered something similar and whether something similar should have been encountered by now that more than ten thousand questions have appeared. For instance, a question that asks how to do a t-test should already have been asked and answered, so a quick search for that answer is in order before going any further. Just as we ask of questioners that they do some research before posting a question, we ask of answerers that they do some research too. Think before you post!
When you find a clear duplicate question, then immediately closing the new one is the best thing you can do all around: it directs the asker to an existing solution; it prevents unnecessary duplication of threads; and it prevents unwary newcomers from investing time in formulating answers that have already appeared elsewhere. (Please note, too, that duplicate material complicates all future searches, actually making it harder for new users to ask questions and harder for experienced users to make connections among questions.) If you find a "perhaps" duplicate, then a quick discussion with the OP (using the comment mechanism) will determine whether they have a new question or not. Once again, if you ascertain that their question is a duplicate, then closing it and directing the asker to the existing thread is the fastest way to serve them and usually gives them more information then most people can hope to produce in a single quick reply.
This community has more objectives than merely dishing out answers to all and sundry. The "tidiness of the site" is intimately connected to its usability and value far into the future. Moreover, as one who has done a heck of a lot of it, I can attest that cleaning up "clutter and repetition" is time consuming, complicated, sometimes painful, and rarely gets completely done: far better is it to avoid such noise in the first place. For that reason, everyone posting answers here is constantly encouraged to provide clear, well-formulated, objectively reasoned, carefully supported answers: we want them all to be great. If users visit our site and see ragged, disorganized collections of hasty, careless, and mediocre answers, they're unlikely to return or participate. Leave that junk for yahoo (pretty well named, isn't it? -:) or answers.com or the myriad other generic Q&A forums that come and go.
In summary, if anyone has arrived here interested chiefly in participating in a question mill with little regard for quality or curating the site, then your services would be better appreciated elsewhere: Cross Validated probably holds little future for you.