How to fix a question that has been flagged as a duplicate of closed question?

How can I improve this question that has been downvoted? and now flagged as a duplicate of my previously closed question?

The down vote help says "This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful."

I have spent hours trying to formulate this question ( as evidenced by the linked closed question.) Thus I discount lack of research as the reason.

Thus how is my question unclear?

• As a meta-comment, attitudes vary on whether it is good practice to declare oneself as a downvoter and/or the precise reason for downvoting. Naturally the advice is to downvote for the reason given by a mouse-over, but otherwise people are human. Some downvotes I get for answers can only be decoded as someone not liking me or how I wrote, but as Tolkien wrote in another context, I probably would have similar opinions about the downvoter. Other way round, I will willingly downvote spam or very rude questions or answers, regardless of whether anyone has explained a post to be unacceptable. Oct 25, 2022 at 12:46
• Downvoting without an explanation is a lot like gaslighting, with a similar likelihood to lead to a positive improvement. Oct 26, 2022 at 10:46
• @dipetkov As said, attitudes vary. It's a good ideal to explain to people the errors of their ways, but that is not always appreciated. I don't expect positive improvement from spammers. I just want them to disappear. You've perhaps not had the personal experience of being hounded on- and even off-site by people bearing a grudge against evident and explained downvoting. (Sure, I make myself fairly identifiable, but that is my version of openness too.) Oct 26, 2022 at 16:24
• @dipetkov Gaslighting is deceit committed with intention to fuck with someone's trust in their own mental faculties. Downvoting simply reflects a discredit of a Q or A by the community. Describing anonymous downvoting as gaslighting is absurd, and demonstrates poor understanding of downvoting, gaslighting, or both on your part. Oct 31, 2022 at 19:02
• @Alexis Thank you for your feedback; I admit I should have written "feels like", not "is like", it's a big difference. Your comment made me think whether there have been studies on this/similar topic and I came across Emotional consequences and attention rewards: the social effects of ratings on Reddit. Okay, it's about Reddit but the conclusion feels right to me: "... defection from normative community values (as indicated by downvotes) harbors emotional consequences..." Oct 31, 2022 at 21:08
• Research shows that downvotes are discouraging and upvotes are encouraging. Who would have guessed? CV is one of the kinder and gentler parts of the internet: a decent question stands a good chance of getting volunteer time and effort from people with expertise who are likely strangers to you. It's in practice quite hard to remove very poor questions here. I am mindful of the likelihood that some people asking may be struggling with poor mental health and I really don't want to make anyone feel really bad about themselves. But a poor question (as decided by the community) is a poor question. Nov 1, 2022 at 9:11

Your question wasn't closed as unclear, it was closed as a duplicate. The duplicate question has the answer to the question you ask, right in the first comment:

Substitute "H" for "E" in the tower formula for conditional expectation: there's nothing new to memorize.

This is a complete answer to the new question. If you read further in the comments, we find the term of art "Law of Total Expectation" and a link to a Wikipedia article.

While I did not down-vote this question, it seems to fit the description "This question does not show any research effort."

• I guess in isolation this explanation makes sense. But I really have difficulty understanding why the question by @Kirsten shows lacks of research effort while this question: var() is not equal to sd()^2 in R got 3k views, 13 upvotes and 4 answers. The categorization of questions is very inconsistent, noisy & sometimes unfair, in my opinion. It basically depends on the user that first spots a question. Oct 27, 2022 at 10:35
• @dipetkov I agree that the question you link is poorly researched, and it's disappointing when poor questions get so much more attention that high-quality ones. Part of the reason that it got so many views and votes is that it became a Hot Network Question. Since you correctly identified the issue as floating point precision in the first comment, one thing that you could have done to to forestall it becoming a HNQ is to identify a suitable duplicate about floating point precision and vote to close as a duplicate. This is the neat thing about Stack Exchange: most users can moderate somewhat.
– Sycorax Mod
Oct 27, 2022 at 12:55
• @dipetkov As a purely general observation, the questions that get the most views and upvotes aren't always the best questions. In some cases, they are the questions that have a "clickbait" title ("Is xgboost Taylor Swift's favorite machine learning algorithm?") and an easy answer that is obvious to someone with a journeyman's knowledge. This is a problem with how people interact with Stack Exchange sites overall, but especially HNQs.
– Sycorax Mod
Oct 27, 2022 at 12:58
• Thanks for the advice, I'll keep it in mind and try to use the moderation tools more. I admit I struggled with that question (mostly because the questions I find most rewarding never get that much involvement). Then decided it's best to be chill about it. Since I'm writing these comments, obviously haven't achieved zen yet. Oct 27, 2022 at 13:50
• @dipetkov Yeah, I definitely know that feeling well. I've seen a number of poor questions get undue attention. We're all here to learn and have fun. Whenever I feel like I'm not learning or not having fun, I step away to do something more rewarding.
– Sycorax Mod
Oct 27, 2022 at 14:01
• By the way, I've noticed that a question tends to become a HNQ once it gets two answers. And then it becomes a self-reinforcing loop: more views, more answers ... until the weekend is over. Something's not quite right with the SE ranking algorithm. Oct 27, 2022 at 14:01
• @dipetkov Yeah, it's definitely a source of some consternation. There have been a number of threads about this over the years: meta.stackexchange.com/search?q=hot+network
– Sycorax Mod
Oct 27, 2022 at 14:11
• PS: I did an experiment this weekend & did lots of voting to close bad or duplicate questions. I wanted to see if I can be helpful (to others but also to myself, to help me learn & improve). I discovered that many OPs didn't appreciate my feedback and, all in all, I didn't enjoy doing it. So I'll leave it to those that are good at writing useful comments. And my respect for you, the mods, has really grown; it's a tough job. Oct 31, 2022 at 10:46