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I came across an (old) question in the reopen review queue that was closed as a duplicate of a deleted question (I'm assuming the duplicate was deleted later, though I don't have enough rep to check). However in this particular case the first question should probably have been closed as "Not constructive".

In general what is the correct action to take in such a case? Should the question be reopened so that it can be closed properly? Should it be left closed and flagged for a moderator?

In this case I voted to reopen, my reasoning being that I thought it was a poor user experience to have a link prominently displayed at the top to a deleted question.

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Eh, both questions suck. –  Robert Harvey Dec 26 '12 at 22:41
    
@RobertHarvey I figured that the other question is probably also a *poor fit" and was probably closed for a good reason, but my question is more for the general case, that is is it a good practice to reopen a question just to close it correctly. –  Jack Dec 26 '12 at 22:43
    
If the original question is deleted, and the new question was closed as a duplicate of the original question, I'd say this also applies in the general sense (i.e. both questions are going to suck anyway). –  Robert Harvey Dec 26 '12 at 22:44
    
OK, but is it a good idea to have "dead links" (I realize its not really a dead link, but for most users it will apear that way) on top of questions? I guess the question is should we be doing cleanup on closed questions? –  Jack Dec 26 '12 at 22:49
    
You mean other than deleting them? –  Robert Harvey Dec 26 '12 at 22:50
    
Though I'm sort of regretting voting to open since now I have that question open in another tab ready to vote to close in the event that it is reopened... –  Jack Dec 26 '12 at 22:50
    
If you remove the exact duplicate link, you cover up the suckiness. Exact duplicate pointing to a non-existent question is a pretty fair indicator that the closed question just needs to be deleted. –  Robert Harvey Dec 26 '12 at 22:52
    
@RobertHarvey I don't really want to reopen the question, I just think it should have the correct closure reason. Perhaps then the correct action should be to flag for deletion? Anyway Another thing to consider is that in the event that there were to be some sort of automated cleanup of closed questions I would assume that the behavior would be different depending on the closure reason, i.e while it might make sense to auto-delete closed non-constructive questions after some period of time (I think two years is more then sufficient). –  Jack Dec 26 '12 at 22:57

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Just vote to delete the duplicate, or flag for moderator attention. A duplicate link to a deleted question is a pretty strong indicator that the question doesn't really belong on the site anyway.

We try not to change the close reason, for the same reasons that we ask folks to flag spam but not to edit the spam out of the post. Doing so just makes more work for the moderators, who then have to research the edit history to find out what really happened.

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I've just voted to delete the question in question without seeing this post... It's non-constructive question with crap answers and should not be re-opened.

I did this because of the large number of re-open votes it got, which were slightly scary. If the close reason is wrong, but the question itself is not suitable for re-opening then the simple thing is to not re-open it.

If you feel like it should be deleted then by all means flag for deletion but there's no point in re-opening a question that should be closed just to change the reason.

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I can't speak for the other reopen votes, but I explained the reasoning for mine (that is I don't actually think the question should be reopened, but rather should be correctly closed). However in the future I will just flag the post instead. –  Jack Dec 26 '12 at 23:02
    
I understand @Jack, a re-open vote is a re-open vote though... Theoretically when the duplicate was deleted a warning should have informed the deleters that there was a question that had been closed as a duplicate of this question to stop the situation from happening at all... –  ben is uǝq backwards Dec 26 '12 at 23:04

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