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Often when searching Stack Overflow I find duplicates of questions. Dutifully I mark these for closure. But today it crossed my mind, surely other people are finding these, but they aren't being closed! Then I realised / remembered, close votes expire after 4 days.

So what then is going to happen to these old questions - will they stay in dupe land forever? I'd like to see them merged together into an excellent resource on the topic but this needs to be flagged to a moderator for action.

Surely if a question is flagged as a dupe often enough over time, this should show in the UI or it should automatically be flagged to mods? It seems like a waste of time to mark dupes for closure after about 24 hours once they've dropped off the various 'new' lists?

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This is particularly a problem for all of the older questions that are no longer on-topic for the site and should be moved to Super User or Server Fault, but never will be due to lack of visibility. –  Brad Larson Sep 22 '10 at 14:46
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@Brad: You can flag for moderator attention where you feel it's appropriate. When flagging for migration, it is useful to have checked the target site for duplicates (if found, post them on the SO question instead), however. –  Gnome Oct 17 '10 at 15:11
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2 Answers

In theory, once a question has close votes it shows up in one of the 10k tools:

Screenshot of the "Most Close Votes" tool

10k users can check that list periodically and add their close votes to any questions they agree should be closed. Unfortunately, the list only shows 45 questions, and there are so many posts with active close votes these days it's difficult for posts with a single vote to make it on there anymore.

Another (entirely unofficial) option is to mention the post to other 3k users to try and get it closed; one of the meta chat rooms exists for this purpose

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The chat room is a good idea. I think the point I'm making is that there's too much friction involved with merging old questions. –  Alex Angas Sep 22 '10 at 3:16
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So what then is going to happen to these old questions - will they stay in dupe land forever? I'd like to see them merged together into an excellent resource on the topic...

Ideally, that would happen. Would you like to volunteer to do all the editing required to make it coherent and useful? ;)

Lacking that enormous editing effort, leaving the questions linked (through inserted "duplicate" text, comments, and the linked sidebar) but separate provides the useful information without introducing confusion through merging — many answers contain details of the question they actually answered and (of course) none of the merged-to question.

You are free to go through your own answers periodically and repost/delete any answers on questions closed as a duplicate, but the system doesn't really engender that. However, all of the content is available under SO's liberal license, so you could do the editing job elsewhere on any topic you felt it worthwhile. Several users elaborate or otherwise incorporate answers and their blog. Eric Lippert is a notable example, but I believe he primarily/exclusively does this for his own answers.

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