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How about another 'type' of delete, the dupe-delete?

After a question is deleted that is closed as a dupe, then have it queue up for the moderators so they can merge it with the original duplicate. This will help preserve any new useful answers.

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On topic duplicates shouldn't necessarily be deleted - just closed.

If the question is asked in a different form then:

a) the poster didn't find the original as they were looking for it using the "wrong" terms.

b) someone else will come along and look for the question in this form as well and if it's been deleted only ask it again.

c) having the same question asked several ways can only help the Google Juice. As long as they all point to the same "master" question then the knowledge is still in a centralised location.

Of course off topic duplicates should be deleted, well technically they won't be duplicates as the original will have been deleted as well.

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I agree (and will upvote when I get more votes), the problem is that many dupes are being deleted right now, and we're losing the benefits you point out. – Lance Roberts May 19 '10 at 22:21
I strongly disagree with this for two reasons: 1. there is no incentive to not answer an obvious dupe (as has been discussed already); 2. off-topic questions that are closed as dupes should not get to live just because their close reason was "dupe" and not "off-topic". If someone thinks they should be merged, that should still be possible after a question is deleted. The proper fix for this quandary is to fix the search functionality so it actually works: add a new index to the question in search, without the dupe having to still exist. – Ether May 26 '10 at 0:58
@Ether - re point 2 - I wasn't talking about off topic questions. Perhaps I should make that clear. – ChrisF May 26 '10 at 9:14

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