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I have a few questions related to duplicates, which I could not find answers for.

  • Is it appropriate to flag a question as a duplicate when the possible duplicate is unanswered?
    I have come to a situation where I attempted to flag a question as exact duplicate of another, but realized that both were not answered. The older question was of worse quality than the one I spotted, so I can assume the latter will get a better chance of being answered. Do we currently expect the duplicate question to already be answered? (I did not flag it to see what happens since the older one got removed by author)
    Update: As per this thread, it seems the question regarded as original must be already answered.

  • Is there a mechanism to unmark Question A being duplicate of Question B in case Question B is deleted by author?
    Although this is a rare situation, it is possible for a duplicated question to have the considered as original one deleted. So, the person asking the second question may not have the answer anymore (as well as the others having the same question in mind). Maybe a good way is to protect a question from being deleted if it is often marked a duplicate to newly asked questions. Perhaps this is already the case with SO?

  • What happens when a question is duplicated (2 distinct questions in SO), but both have reasonable amount of upvotes and answers?
    This is actually the issue of duplicates - people waste time to read and answer the same question. Still, it is possible to have 2 versions of the same questions with useful and valuable answers, which complete each other. Wouldn't there be nice option to merge those? Maybe, this suggests an entire new mechanism and toolset for the moderators of StackExchange and is too much to expect to be possible, but if so, this could help to naturally build wiki questions by merging valuable duplicates? I mean, duplicating a topic is a sign for popularity of the question at some point, and duplicates with valuable answers in general contribute to the addressed topic, so this has the potential to become a wiki thread.

I'd be glad to know what you think of these, and any advices in respect to avoid the issues with the current toolset of SO.

share|improve this question
1. yes, 2. dunno, 3. there is an option to merge them, it's called merging. – djechlin Apr 29 '13 at 13:57
@djechlin: Regarding 1. yes; are you sure? – Matt Apr 29 '13 at 13:58
@djechlin: 2. Yes, it's called "reopen", not automatic as far as I know, though. – Time Traveling Bobby Apr 29 '13 at 14:00
@Matt, djechlin is correct, see my update after the first point. It seems it is part of the recent changes in duplicate processing in SO. – Ivaylo Slavov Apr 29 '13 at 14:02
Please ask one question per question, do not ask three questions in the same question. – Servy Apr 29 '13 at 14:09
Hold on I'm confused. I originally said "yes" to your first question. You simultaneously updated your question to say "the answer is no" and commented to say "djechlin is correct." Soooo which is it? – djechlin Apr 29 '13 at 14:30
@djechlin, Ivaylo: I think the confusion arises because the question asks "Is it appropriate to flag a question as a duplicate when the possible duplicate is unanswered?" (to which the answer seems to be "no"), but then in your explanation, you ask the converse "Do we currently expect the duplicate question to already be answered?" (to which the answer seems to be "yes"). – Matt Apr 29 '13 at 14:34
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Okay, we have the answers to your three questions now.

  1. You should in general not close as duplicate if the original is unanswered, per this thread (as you uncovered). One exception I can think of is when a testy new user re-posts due to lack of attention.
  2. Yes, reopening does this.
  3. There is an option to merge two questions.
share|improve this answer
Great, many thanks! – Ivaylo Slavov Apr 29 '13 at 14:26

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