The following two questions are exactly equivalent. Can anyone explain why the later one wasn't closed - I think it would be better to concentrate all the answers in a single location when we have two questions that can be seen to be equivalent as easily as this.

If the equivalency was more complicated, I could understand leaving the question open, so that someone could explain it in an answer or provide solutions specific to the point of view given.

My guesses would be that people didn't know about the earlier question, or didn't remember/think of it. The latter was certainly the case for me! Or perhaps people didn't want to close our highest ranked question on the front page... – Larry Wang Aug 14 '10 at 15:57

In cases where a later duplicate question is better (more detailed, more correct, closer to standard terminology, or other improvement) why not close the earlier one? Especially in instances where neither one has been answered? This doesn't apply for the particular pair of queries in this question but it does occur for other pairs.

An example: this new question, a generalization of this old one. – Larry Wang Aug 14 '10 at 15:54

There are almost identical (and in fact rgrig's answer to the former question ought to be an answer to the other question, IMHO), though the answers seem to have taken different turns. (The former concentrating on the exact distribution (1/3,1/3,1/3) and optimality, the latter not.) But there is one slight difference: the former question has a game-theoretic twist, for "fairness". It happens not to matter when you only have to decide once (which is the statement of both questions), but as I wondered in the last sentence of my answer, I'm not sure if it's possible to achieve the same asymptotic amortised number of coin tosses. (Though this isn't actually asked in either question, so it's just idle curiosity.)


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