I was just wondering about that because it would influence how I deal with closed questions, e.g. whether they need to be improved (tagging, formatting, code samples) after closing, or if some should be deleted altogether.

However, I'm not asking for answers to these questions, I just want to know if Google (and/or other search engines) list closed questions in their search results. (I hope they don't.)


Yes, closed questions can be found in Google. For example, when I search for Can you recommend a good CSS online resource or book? I get the following as my top two results:

Search Results

Both of those questions are closed. This is helpful in the case of questions that are closed as duplicates, since we keep those around as bread crumbs to the canonical reference.

Other than that, "closed" usually shouldn't be the final state of a question. Some closed questions can be improved to the point where they can be reopened, and others should be deleted. There's also a "historical lock" state for a rare set of questions that don't quite fit the guidelines in the FAQ, but are such great resources of information that we don't want to just delete them from the Internet.

  • I noticed something interesting: If you’re not a registered user and you go to a question closed as a duplicate, you’re redirected to the question of which the closed question is a duplicate. (You can simulate this by either logging out or using Firefox’s private mode.) I’ve never read about this anywhere, but I think it really has decisive indications e.g. for merging practices. – doncherry Jan 12 '13 at 20:48

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