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Please, consider this example.

So one question was asked and get some answers; later, someone found that's a duplicate question, and voted to close. That questions followed it's natural course and OP picked some answer as correct.

Should we vote to close that question as exact duplicate anyways, to get those questions merged in future? Or should we just leave it and save closing votes for other questions?

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related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/230/… –  Kobi Jan 28 '10 at 10:44

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes we should. Consistently. So that we have a single canonical version of each question, and a tree of pointer leading to it if you find a duplicate first.

The more delicate questions are

  • Should the duplicates be merged?
  • Should the duplicate be deleted?

It is possible that the answer to both of those questions is "No." because the duplicate has a title that will search differently that the original.

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It depends on when the answer was accepted. I have seen many users simply ignore the closed status and select an answer anyway, most likely because they want to keep their accept rate high.

Most scenarios answers on duplicate questions are duplicates in themselves. Unless there is a small amount of answer overlap, merging will end up making a bigger mess of the question. This is just one of the factors looked at before merging questions.

Also, multiple ways of asking a question is important as far as Google is concerned, since it will direct users to the correct question for different search keywords.

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I have seen many users also disagreeing with the close in general, and accepting an answer just because they can, even if this is not answering the question. –  Gnoupi Jan 28 '10 at 16:58

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