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I was just reviewing in the close votes section of /review when I came across a question that I believed was correctly marked as a duplicate by previous reviewers. However, when I tried to vote to close it as a duplicate, I received:

This closure would result in the 'duplicate of' navigation only leading in a circle

(lets called the linked post "post A".) Post A already has 3 close votes marking it as a duplicate of post B, which has already been closed as a duplicate of post A. Now I was unable to complete process of submitting the close vote (because of the error of course) but I have a couple of questions about this:

  1. How should this be handled? When something like this happens, should the posts be merged?

  2. Were the previous 3 close votes on post A allowed because they occurred before post B was closed as a duplicate of A? (This seems pretty obvious, but I just want to know for my own selfish reasons!)

I tried looking into this error, but it turns out that this message is hilariously under-discussed. Google results

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Does it actually still have that terrible error message? – Ben Brocka Oct 15 '12 at 13:47
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Okay, I'm responsible for this particular example.

Here's the situation:

The first close-vote brought my attention to the older question. However, when I looked at the older question, it was clearly of "lower quality" than the newer one.

  1. The newer question had a better title that is more searchable.
  2. The newer question was very straight to the point with the question.

So I brought this up in a comment:

That does appear to be a dupe. But this one has a better title and is more straight to the point. I'm not sure what the policy is for closing a higher quality question as a dupe of a lower quality one.

And with that, FredOverflow responded:

Well, we could also vote to close the old question as a dupe of the new one...

And that's exactly what happened. But before the older question was closed, the newer question already picked up 3 close votes.

  1. To answer your question about what to do, just select "Do Not Close". Since, at this point, it really shouldn't be closed anyway.

  2. And yes, all 3 close votes are dupe votes for the older question.

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I think these close votes should not come up in the review queue. If question A is in the review queue only because it has a close vote as duplicate of question B, but B is closed, then just remove it from the review queue.

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