I've been going on a mini-merging spree consolidating the blatantly obvious dupes, and I'd like to request two tiny enhancements to the Moderator Tools question-merging functionality that would make it much quicker and easier to use:

  1. If a question was closed as a duplicate offer that as a radio button
    (the same way we offer other people's duplicate choices for "close as duplicate")

    This point withdrawn for the reasons @kev mentioned below -- This speed bump makes sense to prevent merging "duplicate questions" which aren't *exact* duplicates)

  2. AJAX up the question lookup so when "lookup" to make sure I didn't mess up the ID
    (again, the same sort of behavior as "close as duplicate" has)


Be careful with merges.

Both questions need to be absolutely identical. If the source post being merged contains answers that address specific details of the OP's problem that aren't in the destination question then you shouldn't merge.

If you're not careful you end up with answers being contextually out of place mentioning details that don't exist in their new home.

These answers would then be at risk from flagging and downvotes because their context has been lost.

I think the current speed bumps in the merge tools are fine because they slow you down enough to allow you to think about the consequences of what you're about to do.

  • While I can accept this reasoning against point 1 (keeping a speed bump for dupes that aren't exact dupes does make sense), I think it just makes point #2 MORE important: An off-by-one-digit mistake in the merge ID (typo, missed a character in C&P, etc.) could create an absolutely insane merge - Requiring the lookup to be done manually is a disincentive to double-checking that you're doing what you really mean to do. – voretaq7 Feb 17 '12 at 18:40
  • @voretaq7 - I see it as "I am playing with fire here, I will be spanked if I fail, I must be careful. Check all the things!". – Kev Feb 17 '12 at 18:42
  • A manual step here makes no sense from a UI standpoint: As you pointed out, we're playing with fire, and a relatively small change will make the UI both more consistent and safer. The choice IMHO is to either make clicking "lookup" mandatory, or make it behave the way VTC-Duplicate behaves, and the latter seems more sane. – voretaq7 Feb 17 '12 at 18:46
  • @voretaq7 - you're probably right. I just like the old-school hairy-arsed nature of a textbox that taunts me with "you better get this right or we're all off to hell in a handcart". Could be my age. – Kev Feb 17 '12 at 18:48
  • Oh I absolutely like that you have to locate the question ID and manually enter it - like you said, it makes you think. I've just been bitten by implementing systems like that myself so I'm always in favor of adding some kind of safety/sanity check. If I implemented merge you'd probably have to view a diff of the pre and post merge question and confirm it's what you want :-P – voretaq7 Feb 17 '12 at 18:51

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