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I see more and more exact duplicates on SO. Instead of being merged they are being simply closed. I think this is very big disservice to SO. Why don't moderators merge duplicates? Why don't owners of the site do anything about this?

EDIT

It's disservice because this way we have more and more junk. Duplicates are duplicates and should be merged so that information in in one place.

If the duplicate has no answers then there is no benefit to merging.

Of course there is. You don't need to waste your time with dupes.

It also means that the search routes to the main question are diminished which makes the posting of new duplicates more likely

There's easy solution for this which I gave in Users search for questions not answers - what does it tell us? back in march.

If both questions have answers that have been accepted, which one should be unaccpeted?

There are plenty of solutions. You accept most voted accepted answer or the first accepted answer or both (I think this is be the best). Yes, there will be possibility of many accepted answers to one question. So what?

When a question is closed as a duplicate, there is a link to the duplicate question. What more do you want?

I don't want yet another link. I want to have all answers to some problem in one place. Is this that hard? Isn't this natural expectaion?

Removal of the question means that the text in it is no longer searchable - that's a disservice.

See my answer above to Scrooge's comment.

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Could you explain why you think this is such a disservice? –  Mat Jan 9 '12 at 12:11
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What do you want them to do? Merges are not simple. If both questions have answers that have been accepted, which one should be unaccpeted? –  Oded Jan 9 '12 at 12:11
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If the duplicate has no answers then there is no benefit to merging. It also means that the search routes to the main question are diminished which makes the posting of new duplicates more likely. –  ChrisF Jan 9 '12 at 12:11
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When a question is closed as a duplicate, there is a link to the duplicate question. What more do you want? Removal of the question means that the text in it is no longer searchable - that's a disservice. –  Oded Jan 9 '12 at 12:12
    
Perhaps there should be an easy way to indicate that the duplicate has valuable answers that should be salvaged (the same way there's an easy way to vote to close duplicates). I guess one can use the inform moderator flag if this is strongly the case. –  Szabolcs Jan 9 '12 at 12:18
    
Only a tiny fraction of questions can be merged without the result looking very weird. –  Pëkka Jan 9 '12 at 12:58
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-2 Nice. It surely encourages to spend more free time on meta. Thanks to all downvoters and keep doing great job! –  Piotr Dobrogost Jan 9 '12 at 13:06
    
Downvotes on meta == do not agree. –  Oded Jan 9 '12 at 13:23
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examples, piotr! If you've flagged a good merge-candidate and it was declined, post a link so we can discuss... –  Shog9 Jan 9 '12 at 14:10
    
@Piotr downvotes have a different meaning on Meta –  Pëkka Jan 9 '12 at 14:39
    
Actually, asking for examples is unfair. It is stupid to have duplicates, close the questions as duplicates and challenge their existence when merge is proposed instead. But, if you like me to follow you dirty game, here is an example, stackoverflow.com/questions/18426076 is exact duplicate of stackoverflow.com/questions/5875414. Author is completely right that duplicates garbage the place, defeating the purpose of SO. PS! I do not know when you turn a question into Wiki, but merge would be a good motivation to conversion. –  Val Aug 25 '13 at 6:54
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@notPekka apparently, they don't. :) –  Will Ness Sep 15 '13 at 11:27
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2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I agree with @awoodland, and believe one solution to that problem may be creating duplicate pools, but I'd add:

Also, see http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/04/handling-duplicate-questions/

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Duplicate merging is hard to do correctly. Subtle differences in the wording of questions can result in merging of answers that read quite oddly when applied to another question if these aren't spotted and corrected. This makes automatic merging worse than just linking and results in you wanting a tag expert to sort through the answers on the questions being merged.

Merging also requires moderator level powers to perform, in addition to requiring tag specific knowledge to avoid/fix the bad merges. Moderators can't possibly be expected to be experts in all tags and there seems to be more than enough flags to be handled as it stands already.

If there's two questions which clearly need merging these can be flagged for moderator attention still.

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I think you have double standards. Why deleting/closing a question as duplicate is easier? –  Val Aug 25 '13 at 6:57
    
Closing as duplicate is a prerequisite for merging and happens by the community. I almost never delete dupes. Merging is a mod only thing that I only use when very certain because unlike closing as dupe it's very hard to reverse. Note also that dupes are special cased for anonymous users viewing them from search engines at some point. No double standards though - there's a rational reason for everything. –  Flexo Aug 25 '13 at 8:59
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