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There should be a little textbox like the tags textbox which allows users to keep a list of duplicate questions, e.g.:

3423 23423 2232

This would be cleaning than posting the links in comments and since you have the question numbers, you could add a button which allows the user to "show all answers to all related questions". Might even be useful to consolidate the topics into one for search engine ranking?

And it would allow people to re-ask the same question from time to time, since the answer to e.g. "what is the best x" in Dec 2008 is not the same as "what is the best x" in Jun 2009.

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2 Answers 2

While I don't know if we need a separate mechanism to do this, I would really like to see the ability to close a question as a duplicate of multiple other questions. When a question is voted closed by non-♦ moderators, each can include a separate link and they will all be included in the "possible duplicates" section. However, when a moderator closes, since the close vote is immediate, only one question can be selected, and I have on several occasions edited the question to include more links.

Maybe something like this:

alt text

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We don't want to encourage asking duplicates. If you know the question is a duplicate, don't ask it again.

You shouldn't really be asking most "What is the best X?" type questions in the first place. That's not really what StackOverflow is about. Instead, present your situation, and ask how best to solve the problem presented by those circumstances. There's a subtle but important difference there, in that you're leaving it open for someone to suggest a completely new approach you hadn't even considered previously, ask for additional important information you haven't shared, or at least look at the strengths and weaknesses of a product relative to your situation rather than the general case.

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I don't know, on the stackoverflow podcast, Joel made it very clear that he wants "every possible way of asking a question on Google to lead to stackoverflow". Closing duplicates runs against this approach. Keep duplicates which flow into one question supports this approach. –  Edward Tanguay Jul 22 '09 at 5:16
    
e.g. you want "how to I loop over a dictionary" and "how do I iterate over a dictionary" and "how do I run through a dictionary" all to show stackoverflow questions at position #1. trying to get rid of all duplicate questions is going to lower stackoverflow's google rank –  Edward Tanguay Jul 22 '09 at 5:24
    
for the sake of stackoverflow's google rank, there should be a way to at least "save the way the duplicate question was asked" –  Edward Tanguay Jul 22 '09 at 5:32
    
also, languages, services, tools, APIs change rapidly in our profession: so answers to "how to iterate over a C# array" in 2005 will be much different in 2009, stackoverflow should have some way of growing with the changes in the industry and not tell someone in 2009 to "go read the answers to that question back in 2005" and don't ask it again –  Edward Tanguay Jul 22 '09 at 5:35
    
More importantly, questions should be edited to remain up to date as opposed to relying on duplicates to refresh the answer for newer technology advances. –  Kzqai Jul 28 '11 at 15:24

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