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If there's a dupe question it usually means it's a popular topic, or there's a demand for a solution to a certain recurring problem. Sometimes we close dupes in reference to old, unanswered questions. This doesn't really get us anywhere.

I suggest that when a question is closed as a duplicate, and the post it is a dupe of has no accepted answer, then said post should be bumped to the top of the home page question list.

Especially for old questions that haven't been active (by any means, like editing or being bumped by Community) for more than a month or so, this would be very helpful. The point of closing as a duplicate is to give more attention to a previously asked question addressing the same subject (also to clear confusion, since it's better to have one resource than two or seven), so in cases of old questions, it doesn't do much justice.

(Here's a meta example. The question it's a dupe of was asked in November of last year and has had no activity since. A comment was posted recently, probably because of the link to the question in the recently posted duplicate.)

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I thought I saw this implemented today, but then I noticed the closure and bump were 13 minutes apart -- so I guess it's just a coincidence... –  Arjan Feb 2 '13 at 15:27

3 Answers 3

I tend to think that when a question is “pointed to” by lots of other questions that have been close as duplicates, the “root” question should behave as if it has had all the votes of the closed question when doing searchers etc.

There is already an auto bump system for old questions, I think this system should just bump questions that are targets of duplicates more often, and never bump questions that are closed as a duplicate.

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I don't support this becoming an automated process, but I agree with the spirit of your proposal.

Here's what I think should happen instead:

When a question is closed as a duplicate, either one of the close voters or the person who asked the duplicate question should edit the original question and improve it. That improvement can take multiple forms, including:

  • Mechanical fixes, like spelling/grammar
  • Optimizing the title so that the question is more likely to be noticed and found in searches
  • Adding additional or more appropriate tags to help increase the question's visibility
  • Clarifying what is actually being asked and/or what is the problem to be solved
  • Including additional or updated information that reflects more recent developments and/or makes the question easier to understand and answer
  • Broadening the scope of the question to include nuances of the now-closed duplicate question.

Since edits already bump the question up to the top of the list (and that is completely by-design), and most of the time, the reason the old question didn't get answered already is because it's in need of some improvement, this seems like a good compromise to automatic bumping.

I frequently make a point of trying to do this when I close questions, regardless of whether the duplicate has received any answers or not. If you come across a question that has been closed as a duplicate, definitely feel free to click through to the original and make additional improvements of your own.

Also note that unanswered questions are periodically bumped by the Community user. This is done precisely for the reasons you describe—to ensure that they get some eye time and hopefully an answer.

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I a more recent question is better asked and already has answers, wouldn't it be more appropriate to close the old one as a duplicate? –  Benjol Feb 24 '12 at 6:54
    
@Benjol: Yes, probably. Why do you ask? Did I indicate otherwise? I do that fairly frequently on SO, even though others have found it unusual. –  Cody Gray Feb 24 '12 at 8:13
    
you didn't indicate otherwise, but I thought it was worth pointing out as a possibility - as you say, others may find it unusual, but it seems logical to me. –  Benjol Feb 24 '12 at 8:28

I think bumping fits more naturally to activities of the user whose question has been closed. After all, this is likely the person most interested in the topic at the moment.

If the duplicate is not really blatant which should be typically the case, assuming that asker did their homework when submitting "newer" question, this means some details can be "ported" to prior question, giving it the edit-bump.

And of course, there's an option to place a bounty.


I did just that (edit-bump, then bounty on prior question) when one of my recent questions has been closed as duplicate. So far it seem to work pretty well, the issue I was interested in appears to be getting additional attention just like I wanted it to.

http://i.stack.imgur.com/I1GY5.jpg

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