I opened a bug report (10k only) question in MSE yesterday which is clearly a duplicate of a deleted question (10k only). As I do not have the reputation to see deleted questions, I went on and filed the report. It gets closed as too localized.

The original question was asked some (four) hours before (according to this comment (waffle page now)) and had been deleted. Had it not been deleted, I would have seen it and not have created the duplicate question.

I'm not sure this is something that happens regularly, but it could be prevented easily by letting 'solved' questions be visible for 48hours before elimination.

Edit: Robert Harvey states that SE was working on this specific issue right after it happened. That's cool. I'm saying that the easiest way to let everybody be aware of the work in progress is to keep the very first question around with the answer (we are working on this). That way duplicates are prevented.

  • 5
    Aw, c'mon. Every Stack Overflow registered user who logged in yesterday got a hundred or so of these messages. SE knew about it ten seconds after it happened. We closed and deleted a couple of duplicates just like yours, shortly thereafter.
    – user102937
    Jun 12, 2012 at 6:27
  • Yes, It took me a long time to find another question that I saw 10 hours ago. Only when I peeked into my browser history I realized I was not going insane. I saw about 5 of those, @Robert, and I knew balpha commented on this very one.
    – Arjan
    Jun 12, 2012 at 6:29
  • 1
    To answer your question generally, no. This actually rarely occurs. Most all questions which get deleted quickly here are off-topic people-avoiding-question-bans questions about programming. There are special circumstances on occasion though.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Jun 12, 2012 at 6:29
  • Also, @Robert, I could not find any duplicate that has not been closed or tagged completed, while apparently folks are still seeing this. How are they supposed to find the duplicates themselves then?
    – Arjan
    Jun 12, 2012 at 6:32
  • 2
    I wouldn't worry about it. Kevin Montrose fat-fingered a while loop several hours ago, and here we are still talking about it.
    – user102937
    Jun 12, 2012 at 6:34
  • Sure we're still talking about it, Robert. The thing is not resolved for everybody, is it? Nobody is blaming Kevin for the bug, of course. Folks are just trying to be helpful by posting screenshots et al. By the way, @animuson, I've seen it happen before, but surely cannot find those examples today.
    – Arjan
    Jun 12, 2012 at 6:38
  • @Arjan it was also discussed in length here Jun 12, 2012 at 7:51
  • 3
    @RobertHarvey, I'm sure that's the case, but you either put a notification somewhere stating that you are working on it, or you keep the original bug report around for some time.
    – GUI Junkie
    Jun 12, 2012 at 9:16
  • 8
    I remember a while back that there was a major screw-up and a lot of MSO questions were created. The problem was sorted very quicky and all the bug reports were deleted. This caused a bit of backlash because the community wanted to know what happened and it was almost like it was being covered up. As long as one question is kept viewable by the general public for people to read following the fallout, that should be fine, and then it can be deleted a week after.
    – tombull89
    Jun 12, 2012 at 9:39
  • (Another surprised user.)
    – Arjan
    Jun 16, 2012 at 12:28
  • 1
    @Arjan, my point
    – GUI Junkie
    Jun 16, 2012 at 13:43

1 Answer 1


I was a little surprised to see how quickly that was deleted yesterday as well (I was actually following the question as it unfolded). Here are my thoughts on the situation, though.

I fully agree with Grace Note's explanation in the linked post: old, localized, resolved bug reports are completely subject to deletion. That makes sense. We don't really need to see every problem that every user has ever had here on MSE.

My problem with this specific case is that people were still having the problem (and helpfully trying to report it). Granted, the community and moderators were very diligent in closing those reports as "too localized" and explaining the situation to the people posting dupes, but I feel like leaving the original open as a notice would have been a much easier solution.

As a side note (mostly in response to this comment): As the community, we are not actually entitled to the gory details of a bug or it's fix. If the developers decide to reveal that information (as they often do), that's great - but it's also completely up to them. If they don't reveal the details, and just mark it "status-completed", that's fine too.

So, in this specific case I agree that the deletion was a too fast. But in general, I think the system of removing old bug reports works fine. As animuson said in comments, usually deletions don't happen this fast unless the post was garbage. This was a rather special case.


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