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I just came across a question that was closed a dupe, so I went to the original. It too was closed as a dupe of another question, so I went to that one. Fortunately, after a couple dupes, I finally found the real one.

Could we either disallow marking a question as a dupe to another question that is closed as a dupe? That, or automatically figure out the nearest non-closed question that appears in the sequence?

#1381842 (Closed) -> #1040006 (Closed) -> #394601 (Opened)

So in this case, when somebody tries to close the first by referencing the second, it bounces back as an invalid dupe-source, or it bounces back by marking the first as a dupe to the third.

Additionally, perhaps some type of process should be set in place to routinely merge dupes too.

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#394601 should really be closed as a dupe of #1381842 –  random Sep 5 '09 at 1:30

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I would be in favor of disallowing closing as a duplicate of a closed post. If it's a duplicate of a duplicate, close it as a dupe of the grandparent. If it's a duplicate of an otherwise closed post, close it as a dupe with the same reason as the parent.

With regard to the automatic merging, I disagree. I think that things should be handled on a case-by-case basis, and I don't see that many duplicates with great answers on each that would benefit from a merge.

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Personally I'd like to see the dupes get removed with the posts merged somehow. This seems to happen quite a bit on META, but have seen it on SO too. In the ideal world there wasn't a DUPE, but simply redirecting or something like that to the official question may be a decent idea.

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Yeah; I was thinking about routinely auto-merging dupes as well. That would benefit the community greatly. –  Jonathan Sampson Sep 4 '09 at 23:11
    
If SO would implement automatic redirection for questions closed or merged as duplicates, this would pretty much take care of itself... (automatic redirection for dups would greatly increase the value in merging a duplicate if it had any decent answers) –  Shogging through the snow Sep 4 '09 at 23:15
    
+1 for merging. I'd like to see dupes rolled into one question - that way all the keywords that were used to make the dupes are included in the one question. The lower rated of the dupes can be hidden by default (accordion style). –  Rob Allen Sep 4 '09 at 23:26
    
When merging you also need to keep the original title somehow to keep good search results. To Quote Jeff from memory: "It's astounding to see that two people can ask exactly the same question but use completely different words" –  Michael Stum Sep 5 '09 at 11:59
    
Agreed... If the posts are merged, but the dupes redirect to the first post, all is well... –  RSolberg Sep 5 '09 at 13:56

I think the simple answer is that more deleting and merging of duplicates needs to be routinely done. Certain topics (CS degrees, books, interview questions, etc.) have altogether too many copies piling up.

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