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When a question (probably with several answers) that was asked a long time ago gets bumped via an edit or another answer sometimes it is discovered that there are duplicate questions. In most cases the questions get closed very rapidly.

Take, for instance this question: Licensing System for .NET which was asked on Feb 27 2011. Yes, it did have duplicates which were pointed out within 5 minutes of asking. The question was not closed until today (Dec 20 2012) when someone bumped it.

Looking through the related/duplicate questions posted as comments to the question, I found that most of them are not closed.

My questions are, if all these other questions have been detected as duplicates then which of the questions should be closed?

a. Those that were asked at a later date?
b. The one with fewer answers?
c. The one which was just bumped?
d. Some other criteria?

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marked as duplicate by gnat, Martijn Pieters Jul 31 at 15:31

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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I remember seeing discussion of closing older questions as dups of newer ones...somewhere. (It would be ironic if it was here and this question gets closed as a dup. But I think it was on another meta.) –  Monica Cellio Dec 20 '12 at 15:17
    
As a rule try to keep the question with the best answer(s) open, and close all others as a dupe of that, regardless of the other criteria you mentioned. If several questions have good answers, they are candidates for merging. –  Servy Dec 20 '12 at 15:20
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EL&U Meta –  Jim Dec 20 '12 at 15:28
    
@Jim oh yeah. Heh, no wonder my memory of it was moderately strong. :-) –  Monica Cellio Dec 20 '12 at 15:30
    
@MonicaCellio mine as well :) –  Jim Dec 20 '12 at 15:34
    
A, unless it's also both B and C –  Chris Gerken Dec 20 '12 at 15:50

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Simple. The best question with the best answers is the one that should be kept open. Even if it is newer or generated less votes.

The question with the best answer, which gives the best solution which is applicible for the widest array of cases is the one that should remain open.

Some Examples.

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I think sometimes we might tend to forgot that a big part of the idea behind Stackoverflow is to create a repository of high quality questions and answers to be used (for the future). Much of the sites features are based around this idea, such as the fact that (almost) anyone can edit anything.

As such I would say that the goal is that the best answer should remain open regardless of which question was actually posted first.

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