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I was browsing SO today when I stumbled across these two questions:
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/3057475/php-pi-help-loops-closed
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/3059533/php-pi-help-loops

So, both questions are closed.* The problem? Each questions is closed as a duplicate of the other; within one minute of each other (they were both closed "8 minutes ago" when I first checked).

Can we add a feature to detect this and prevent a circular Close as Duplicate like this?

Better yet, prevent newer questions than the current one from showing up in the Close as Duplicate list.

*As of 2010/06/17 18:32 UTC the first question is now reopened and the second deleted.

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I voted to reopen the first one. –  Tim Post Jun 17 '10 at 17:44
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Such a vicious cycle, that took mere seconds to perfect! I'm in awe. –  Tim Post Jun 17 '10 at 17:46
    
@mmyers: Good point, I should add that, too. –  Powerlord Jun 17 '10 at 18:16
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Um... no, R. Bemrose, you shouldn't add that. Voting to close a question as itself, or attempting to at least, yields "No eligible question found with that id." or "No eligible question found at that url." –  Grace Note Jun 17 '10 at 18:46
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Yeah, don't think I haven't tried. –  mmyers Jun 17 '10 at 18:46
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Isn't this what Stack Overflow is all about? –  LeakyCode Jun 17 '10 at 19:45
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+1 This situation is sub-optimal, mildly speaking. See these two: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2051/… ./. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/13065/… - Both questions high-voted bugs, both closed, none resolved. Very annoying. –  Tomalak Jun 28 '10 at 14:56
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Searched for this question, couldn't find it. So I ended up asking a duplicate. Then someone duplicated my duplicate. Next thing I know, Chris Nolan's on the phone. sigh Recursion, strange loop, mobius, self-referencing, mutual. –  Patrick McElhaney Aug 19 '10 at 2:14
    
Better yet, prevent newer questions than the current one from showing up in the Close as Duplicate list. +1! –  Synetech Oct 19 '13 at 13:25
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marked as duplicate by gnat, Martijn Pieters, Łukasz 웃 L ツ, Hugo Dozois, Flyk Feb 24 at 1:42

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

4 Answers

up vote 14 down vote accepted

This will be included in the next build. At the obvious level, you can't link two posts directly just to each-other. It does get a little bit more subtle/complex when the chain is non-trivial, and/or multiple posts have been suggested as duplicate targets. In that case, it is sufficient that at least one non-circular path exists. To be honest, most times you'll never need to see this subtlety.

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Awwwwwwwwwwwww. –  badp Sep 1 '11 at 13:44
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Better yet, prevent newer questions than the current one from showing up in the Close as Duplicate list.

No, please don't do that. Sometimes, the better question is the newer one. Sometimes, the older question didn't get any answers, possibly because it was written/tagged poorly and no one found it.

In this case of course, both questions sucked. And were posted by the same user. Within half a day of each other. It shouldn't surprise anyone that this ended badly...

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That both were closed isn't a surprise; my issue was mainly with the close reasons. –  Powerlord Jun 17 '10 at 18:29
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I forgot to mention, when I wrote that part of this question, it was because of the description of exact duplicate, which is "This question covers exactly the same ground as earlier questions on this topic; its answers may be merged with another identical question." emphasis added by me. –  Powerlord Jun 17 '10 at 18:30
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@RBemrose: yeah, and generally that's the proper course of action... But, occasionally, the opposite is more appropriate. –  Shog9 Jun 17 '10 at 18:39
    
Sometimes, the better question is the newer one. Sometimes, the older question didn't get any answers, possibly because it was written/tagged poorly and no one found it. Or because it was asked too early. The original asker shouldn’t be punished for being ahead of the curve; the answers from the newer question should be merged into the older question. That way the original asker gets credit for having a good question and the newer one gets nothing for not searching. -1! –  Synetech Oct 19 '13 at 13:27
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As a workaround to this I'll put a comment in the one that I vote to close explaining why I voted for that particular one and not the other. Usually it's because one doesn't have answers already and the other does. This is on SF, though, where the close velocity is admittedly much slower than on SO.

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In this particular case the outcome was completely appropriate. The only thing better would have been to close then both as NARQ.

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There is some logic to say that if some people say “NARQ” and others say “Dupe” then the question gets marked as a dupe. Migration to another site is also like that. –  Donal Fellows Jun 17 '10 at 20:31
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@Don Majority wins, no? –  Rosinante Jun 17 '10 at 21:51
    
I don't think it does. I've seen cases where I was voting to close where there were already three NARQ votes (and I think I voted that too; I forget exactly) and one move-it vote, and the question got moved when I voted to close. I may have mis-remembered of course. :-) –  Donal Fellows Jun 18 '10 at 8:22
    
The ultimate outcome, where one question is deleted, was brought about by moderator intervention. It doesn't address the root problem of SO allowing circular exact duplicate closes. –  Powerlord Jun 18 '10 at 17:23
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