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This question has been closed as a duplicated question, but the “parent” questions that is linked to as the possible duplicate is not there anymore.

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Things get messy :o) – Ivo Flipse Feb 1 '11 at 10:23
one of the tricky case when you dont find correct answer :) My guess, maybe the parent question was duplicate of some other question too... – Sachin Shanbhag Feb 2 '11 at 14:15
Is anyone going to answer this? Here's another example:… – Oscar Mederos Apr 20 '11 at 20:15
1… another one :) – Karel Bílek Jun 12 '12 at 5:03
Pertinent discussion? Revamping the Duplicate question System – codewaggle Jun 14 '12 at 5:04

A possible solution would be to see duplicate questions as a linked list or a tree. We then can add rules:

  1. if question X is marked as duplicate of A and A is already a duplicate of B, mark X as a duplicate of B.


A -> B


X -> A


X -> B
A -> B
  1. if question X is marked as duplicate of A and B is already a duplicate of X, also mark B as a duplicate of A.


B -> X


X -> A


X -> A
B -> A

Now each chain/tree of duplicates always have the same root.

If we now try to delete the root, two things can happen:

  1. All questions are deleted
  2. The root is protected and can't be deleted.

There should be functionality for moderators to change the root in a chain/tree, if another question has a higher quality.

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If SE doesn't implement any changes to the system (like the one proposed by Gamecat above), then we may have to make a new policy.

I propose this: Whenever the last/binding delete vote is cast on a question, the mod/user casting it must search for dupes. Searching for dupes is easy enough, one can just use search with the closed:1 parameter. Even better would be to use URL search, but it's not working properly at the moment. The sidebar "Linked" list, as mentioned by BenBrocka below, usually has dupes as well.

Then, these questions need to either be deleted or reopened (depends on the question). Of course, that's a logistical nightmare unless you have a diamond mod around. Or, if enough dupes exist, it may be better to just not delete (again, depends).

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You can use the Linked list in the sidebar, they're often duplicates (if there are duplicates) – Ben Brocka Jun 12 '12 at 11:06
@BenBrocka: Added, thanks :) – Manishearth Jun 12 '12 at 11:10
It would be easier for it to just automatically flag a diamond mod if a question that is being deleted is the parent of a duplicate. That way, the mod can decide what to do. – Nicol Bolas Jun 12 '12 at 16:04
@nicol If SE doesn't implement any changes to the system – Manishearth Jun 12 '12 at 16:26

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