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Not sure whether it is due to SEO or for a security reason. But according to what I have found in an answer to a question here, it says:

Leave it as it is. Google will figure out the canonical url and keep them in their index.

Is there any good reason why Stackoverflow is actively redirecting permalink URLs and URLs with an old question title to the canonical URL? Why not just specify this canonical URL in the html link element since the slug is not part of a query input?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Because being able to alter the slug was fun and amusing, and as with any good thing some bastards had to ruin it for everyone:

we had suspicion that some of the scrapers were INTENTIONALLY backlinking to different forms of our URLs to diffuse pagerank. So now we force them all to point the same place.

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Wow, thanks for the interesting link there. But with canonical link specified, how would page rank be diffused through backlinking of different URLs? Is it because some search engines do not follow canonical links? –  Question Overflow Sep 25 '13 at 9:30
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Hard to know; IIRC, this was done as part of an effort to thwart a bunch of scraper sites that were - for a time - ranking higher than SO for content originating on SO, so it's possible this was just voodoo nonsense or possible that non-canonical links do hurt ranking somehow, even if search engines do figure out the connection. –  Shog9 Sep 25 '13 at 9:34
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