Why is “already posted” a downvote? Isn’t that what merging is for?
There is no downvoting and hasn’t been for years.
Flagging things as already posted is for catching reposts like slightly different query params on a URL (for example, every Wordpress post will have a couple viable permalinks even before adding ?something=nonsense), hot take responses to news, or thin rewrites that get called news.
Maybe you can suggest a better term for the flag to capture this?
It still nails people’s karma, though. It feels like bad faith is being assumed.
When you get a surge of people reposting “X”, “My thoughts on X”, “Y’s reaction to my thoughts on X”, etc. the bad faith assumption is kinda justified.
“nails people’s karma” is one measly point, easily offset by commenting in the flagged story. If somebody is such a prolific poster that this is a significant source of drain on them, I’d be quite surprised.
It’s a flag used to signal to the mods that this can be removed as a duplicate.
Merging is for different URIs discussing a common hot topic. AFAIK you can’t merge 2 submissions with the exact same URL (which ‘already posted’ targets).
But you can’t even post another submission with the same URL (it gives you an error message).
AIUI only if the older submission with the same URL was done recently.