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Everything seemed to be answered on meta and I felt that I had done my duty. Assuming that if I simply deleted the "meta" in front of the current URL, I would be able to go right to Stack Overflow – sure, it might send me to the 404 page, but whatever, I can click on the big stackoverflow button and it would take me right to interesting questions. Apparently not.

Why does this happen?

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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

This isn't a bug. The post that was previously at http://stackoverflow.com/questions/55686/ was migrated to Super User, which is why you're being redirected. In all other cases you wouldn't be.

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That's what I thought, but if you look at the original question it has a different ID, 55518 instead of 55686. I also can't find any information in Data Explorer (except for two votes) on post 55686. –  jtbandes Aug 22 '11 at 8:17
Not only does it have a different ID, I generally am not forced to do a redirect if I somehow get to a closed question. –  cwallenpoole Aug 22 '11 at 8:19
@cwallenpoole: Redirects are added after a migrated questions has been closed for a month, IIRC. –  Jeremy Banks Aug 22 '11 at 8:21
Closed, no; migrated, yes. –  jtbandes Aug 22 '11 at 8:21
@jtbandes: You can see confirm that the question on SO was #55686 here: stackoverflow.com/posts/55686/edit. –  Jeremy Banks Aug 22 '11 at 8:21
@jtbandes: We're both wrong, see this meta discussion for more information. Apparently links to the closed post from SO add a query parameter so you aren't redirected, but if you enter the URL like cwallenpoole did, you will be redirected. –  Jeremy Banks Aug 22 '11 at 8:23
Yes, but the question remains why the ID changed... –  jtbandes Aug 22 '11 at 8:23
@jtbandes: I'm confused: Where are you seeing the different ID? –  Jeremy Banks Aug 22 '11 at 8:24
@Jeremy: If you visit the question on Super User, and click the "migrated from stackoverflow.com" link, you end up at question 55518 on SO. –  jtbandes Aug 22 '11 at 8:25
@jtbandes: It took a minute, but I've got it: 55686 was the id of an answer to question 55518. You can confirm this by looking at the title link on the /edit page I posted above. –  Jeremy Banks Aug 22 '11 at 8:28
Aha! Good call. And of course that makes sense; IDs are unique across questions and answers (they're both Posts in the database). –  jtbandes Aug 22 '11 at 8:34
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The correct way to go from a meta site to its corresponding main site is to click the main link in the header. If you pick an essentially arbitrary question id, you might pick one that has (as in this case) been emigrated.

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The ID can be of question or answer. If you go to /questions/[ID of answer] you will be automatically redirected to /questions/[ID of question] that's probably the reason for different numbers.

55686 is most likely ID number of answer on SO, and its corresponding question has been migrated to superuser.com getting whole new ID there.

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