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TL;DR

In general I think it does not make sense to make C and C++ questions as duplicates of each other and obviously potentially merge them. I see this happening often enough that I thought it made sense to bring it up for discussion and see what the rest of the community thinks.

Gory Details

This was topic was brought up before for a specific set of cases in this thread Should these related C and C++ questions be marked as duplicates?. It was theoretical since none of the questions were actually marked as duplicates and it did not seem to illicit much discussion, probably because the answer in those cases was obviously no.

To make it more concrete, I have a specific case of what seems like a bad duplicate and merge. I answered this question on alternative tokens(Is there any difference between “&&” and “and”?) which was tagged as a C++ question and was subsequently marked as a duplicate of two questions, one of them tagged as a C question and then soon after it was merged with the C question( “&&” and “and” operator in C).

I can see how it seemed like the answers should fit both questions well. The reality is that it took a rather large edit to make my answer fit the merged question. This was mainly due to difference in the way alternative tokens are supported in each language but also because the question's code had subtle issues not apparent at first. It ended up working out fine in the end but it still seems like a questionable merge. I am not sure it was an improvement over having separate questions and some the answers were never edited and still don't fit the new question. The other duplicate was tagged with C++ but the questions were different enough that I don't think it made a good merge candidate either.

Marking the original question as a duplicate of a C question and merging in this case seems to be out of sync with the accepted answers to these questions:

I don't think this was a desirable outcome and more generally should we discourage this type of duplicates and merges between the C and C++ tags? From my experience I see questions tagged with only C or C++ marked as a duplicate of the other maybe a couple of times a week. So it is not happening all the time but it is not rare either. I have not seen other merges like my example although but I suppose merges could happen later on. Here are a few example of questions with only C tags that have a duplicate listed with only a C++ tag. Going from C to C++ in general seems more problematic since C code should work in C++, it is not the case going the other way:

It was difficult to find examples that I didn't think would be subjected to down voting if I linked them here but you can easily find more, I used closed:yes is:question and then manually checked the duplicates.

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3  
What's the point? Both questions likely provide different paths for searchers to arrive at SO. Just leave them alone. –  Adam Rackis Aug 30 '13 at 18:33
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How about we mark all questions as duplicates of one another regardless of language. Theoretically they should all work anyway. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Aug 30 '13 at 18:34
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Very much related: Is it reasonable to add c++ tag to questions tagged with c? –  psubsee2003 Aug 30 '13 at 18:39
    
@BoltClock'saUnicorn I think it usually a bad idea but it seems like it was perceived that I was suggesting the opposite. –  Shafik Yaghmour Aug 30 '13 at 18:48
    
@ShafikYaghmour I didn't downvote since I don't know either tag well enough to make an informed decision, unfortunately when you have a really long post and a "Should we do x" title, people are going to interpret it as you proposing this idea, whether you are or not. –  psubsee2003 Aug 30 '13 at 18:54
    
@psubsee2003 makes sense, I edited to make it more clear what I meant, I apparently still have to learn how Meta works compared to SO. –  Shafik Yaghmour Aug 30 '13 at 19:04
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@ShafikYaghmour a "TL;DR" often works well when you have a long post to summarize what you were thinking –  psubsee2003 Aug 30 '13 at 19:06
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@psubsee2003 Thank you, updated with a TL;DR version, I guess trial by fire it is :-) –  Shafik Yaghmour Aug 30 '13 at 19:11

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