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A question on Stack Overflow was migrated to Super User while I was typing an answer. When I tried to post the answer, I ended up on Super User, without the answer.

However, back on Stack Overflow, there are signs that my answer still exists somehow. It is shown in the activity list and list-of-answers on the profile page, but just redirects to the superusers page, where the answer is nowhere to be seen.

If I search for the original question on SO, it turns up with a listing that claims one answer exists (which I presume to be mine), but again the link just redirects to superusers, where there are now more than one answer.

It was not, in retrospect, a particularly good answer, but in the interest of general tidiness I'd like to at least delete it, so it doesn't show up on the list of my answers. However, I cannot get at it at all.

The most relevant existing Meta questions I can find are about answers that remain accessible even though the question was migrated. But I cannot figure out how to get back to my answer!

share|improve this question
This is not a duplicate of the earlier question. The earlier question (which I had already found and read) speak of an answer that remains visible. My answer became invisible but still existed according to the site statistics. – Henning Makholm Aug 16 '11 at 18:58
your answer became inaccessible, but not invisible - indeed, your confusion arose in large part because it remained visible - you had links to it from your profile, but couldn't figure out how to reach it. If it had been deleted, blocked, or migrated, this wouldn't have been an issue. FWIW, Cody instructed you in avoiding the redirect, so you would have known this (that the answer was not deleted) when writing that comment... – Shog9 Aug 16 '11 at 19:15
Note also the terminology here: answers are not closed or open. They can be deleted. Questions can be closed, open, locked, deleted, or any combination of those (except closed and open of course). Your answer was a normal answer that simply should not have been possible for you to post. – Shog9 Aug 16 '11 at 19:17
@Shog9: It was invisible to me, since I could not see it. There is a very nice explanation in Cody Gray's answer below, which would surely be helpful to others having the same problem, bur right now Meta is telling all vistors "you don't need to look at this because it's just a duplicate". However, a visitor who takes this advice won't get to see Cody Gray's clear and excellent explanation of the phenomenon that baffled me. And there is not anything like it at the place they're sent to. How is that helpful? To anyone? – Henning Makholm Aug 16 '11 at 19:20
Also, the fact that I now know what Cody told me does not imply that others who have a similar experience won't need to see it and can be sent to the earlier question that has nothing at all to do with their experience (even though it probably has a connection to the cause of what they experience). – Henning Makholm Aug 16 '11 at 19:20
I'm not deleting Cody's answer. Right now, this is a bug report, and there's not much value in having multiple, duplicate, unlinked bug reports around. I suppose we could assume that, as a two-year old bug it probably won't get fixed and turn this into a support request though. – Shog9 Aug 16 '11 at 19:26
@Shog9: You're not deleting the answer, but you are telling anyone who visits this page that his answer will not be interesting to them and they should go to the earlier question (which does not address the problem I was having at all, and has zero answers) instead. Would I help if I retagged it to not be a bug report? – Henning Makholm Aug 16 '11 at 19:29
see edit - I've already changed this to clarify the goal of your question. – Shog9 Aug 16 '11 at 19:32
up vote 8 down vote accepted

You can still get back to the original, unmigrated question stub on Stack Overflow by clicking the link at the bottom of the migrated question on Super User.

This one (why yes, now that you mention it, it does look suspiciously like it links back to the SO homepage, rather than this specific question—the Internet is full of surprises!):

That links you here, suppressing the automatic redirection to the new question on Super User.

And lo and behold, there's your answer.

As far as why this behavior occurs, things get a bit more complicated. The question was actually migrated at 2011-08-16 01:00:23Z (as indicated by the tooltip), and your answer was posted just a few seconds after that, at 2011-08-16 01:00:57Z.

Any existing answers are always migrated with the question, but your answer didn't exist at the time of migration. You submitted it after the question was migrated (at which point it was too late for it to be automatically migrated), but still during the answer submission grace period.

As for whether or not this is a bug, or can even be fixed, I suppose I'll have to leave that to one of the developers that knows more about the internals of the process than I do. ;-)


share|improve this answer
Thank you. I have now been able to delete the errant question. But why has this question been closed as a duplicate? The one it's supposedly a duplicate of speaks about the exact opposite user experience, namely an answer that "remains visible". My answer became invisible, as far as my ability to get it shown could tell. – Henning Makholm Aug 16 '11 at 19:01
@Henning: I have no idea why it was closed, but it looks like it's been re-opened. Have a "Nice Question" badge as a consolation prize. :-) – Cody Gray Aug 17 '11 at 9:02

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