When I follow the Related Questions section, I often come across closed questions. I would think that closed questions wouldn't be shown, since they aren't relevant.

Shouldn't closed questions be removed from the Related Questions list?

  • Additionally I sometimes find links to deleted questions in the "related questions" section. May 18, 2011 at 22:12

6 Answers 6


A question that is closed is not always irrelevant. Since there is always the potential for it to get reopened at any time, it makes sense for them to still linger. 10k users can vote to delete something that is closed after 24 hours. They can also vote to undelete any deleted content as well.

If something is deleted it won't show up anymore, but closed still do. I agree with this current behavior.


The point of keeping closed questions around (rather than deleting them) is that they might still be relevant. For example, if a question is closed as a duplicate, it might still have phrased the question in a completely different way, and that different phrasing might be very useful to someone. In particular, looking at a related closed question might be just the thing you need to realize that the question you're looking at solves your problem.

  • 2
    If a question is closed as a duplicate and has no answers, can the question just be deleted and automatically add an "a.k.a. title" to the earlier question? That way you could still find it by searching, but it's not cluttering up search results and the "Related" sidebar.
    – Hank
    Feb 4, 2012 at 1:44

I know this is an old question, but I just want to reiterate that I think showing Closed questions in the "Related" sidebar is silly. I just clicked on one, and it had been closed for being a duplicate. There were no answers. Ideally it should be deleted, since it serves zero purpose. But at the very least, a "duplicate" closed question shouldn't show in that list!

  • And was the duplicate relevant? If so, then the closed question still worked perfectly as an entry point to find that duplicate, didn't it?
    – Arjan
    May 3, 2011 at 0:26
  • 1
    @Arjan: The duplicate was relevant, but why wasn't the "real" question shown instead? Surely the coding masterminds at Stack Exchange HQ can prefer to display the real question over the dupe., right? I'm not saying there should NEVER be closed questions listed there, since perhaps some of them really do have value as an anti-pattern or something. But this just seems like a time-waster.
    – Hank
    May 3, 2011 at 0:34
  • If the question is a duplicate, then it adds no information. If it added information then it wasn't a duplicate. May 6, 2011 at 13:37
  • 2
    @DJClayworth: I'm saying there were 2 virtually identical questions, the later of which was closed as a "duplicate". I think the sidebar should have listed the earlier, non-closed one, since that's the one that had actually been answered.
    – Hank
    May 6, 2011 at 14:23
  • 1
    The "real" question might not be phrased in a way that'd make it show up as related to your question. The closed duplicate would be an important link between the question you're reading and the "real" related question in that situation.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    May 13, 2011 at 19:13
  • 2
    @Anna - If a closed question (a) comes up as related, (b) has no answers, and (c) is marked as a duplicate (which requires the duplicate to be listed) then, quoting Henry-Jackson, "Surely the coding masterminds at Stack Exchange HQ can..." follow the trail and show the original instead of the answerless, closed duplicate.
    – A Lion
    Oct 22, 2011 at 5:28
  • 2
    Closed questions in the sidebar should be clearly marked as having been closed. A recent off-topic question of mine was posted because I saw other interview questions in the Related sections of questions that I was reading. It gave the impression that these questions are accepted (and even common) on the site.
    – dotancohen
    Feb 3, 2012 at 23:18

I agree that closed questions could appear in Related sidebar, but they should be clearly marked as [closed] at the end of description, the same way as they shown in search results.

See Why doesn't the Related question list show that questions are closed?

Could they also have less rank in "related" algorithm to be not shown on the top?


One thing closed questions sometimes have is good answers. If two people ask essentially the same question, each question might have a good answer that's worth keeping. It is possible for moderators to merge the answers into one question, but that's not automatically done.


This being "by-design" makes no sense to me...Anton and TheTxi make good points about the closed questions still being valuable...but in that case, I don't think they should be closed.

  • "Closed" means "no more answers on this question unless it's reopened". It doesn't mean that the question is valueless, but that it's not in the site's best interest to allow more answers. For example, we don't want people answering questions in multiple spots, which is what we'd get if we kept duplicates open. However, having the duplicate might catch more searches, and there may be good answers on the duplicate. Mar 4, 2010 at 15:27
  • It's a complex issue, but the root axioms are: 1) Closed questions force people to put new answers and thoughts into the open questions, consolidating the best information in one spot, 2) Duplicates are helpful to gather a wider set of search terms so Google and others can guide people with different ways of phrasing the same problem to the site, where they will find the link to the relevant, duplicate, consolidated, and still open question. So deleting the closed question isn't good (hurts search) and leaving it open isn't good (no consolidation over time).
    – Pollyanna
    Mar 4, 2010 at 15:29
  • So the best compromise has been determined: Leave the question closed with a link to the still-open duplicate.
    – Pollyanna
    Mar 4, 2010 at 15:30
  • Okay, I'm convinced. I'll leave this answer up because I think the comments are valuable.
    – beska
    Mar 4, 2010 at 15:51
  • I think it's difficult to find the best solution here because some closed questions are good and useful and popular, some of them with good answers but not accepted on SO (as too broad), see stackoverflow.com/questions/1108/… This got shown for me as top choice under "Related". 2047 upvotes. 1358 stars. An in-depth how does this work question. Dec 22, 2018 at 7:26

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