Background: I'm concerned about changing the tags of questions. Some questions are blocked to be edited, e.g. the tags can not be changed. I run over them again and again over the last months and want to know more.

There are some questions that have been marked as duplicate by a moderator, and since then they have been rotting on the site, for example:

It is no longer possible to vote on these questions, and most of the ones that I encounter these days could be deleted. Or are there reasons to not delete these questions?

Why is voting and editing disabled?

3 Answers 3


The question has been merged with the question it duplicates. Merged questions are left around to act (as others have said) as a signpost to the correct question. There's no need to delete it. I've handled the flags on the question, thanks for bringing it to our attention.

If you'd like for a moderator to take an action on the question (for example, you mentioned correcting tags) you can always flag the question and let us know what action you want us to take. Due to guidelines set out, we don't arbitrarily delete duplicates.

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    Why is voting and editing disabled then? Not only merged questions act as a signpost. But those other signposts are not disabled in voting and editing. Can you explain that?
    – hakre
    Dec 19, 2012 at 9:35
  • 1
    @hakre There's nothing to vote for in a merged question. The If you want to vote on something, vote on the question it duplicates. There's also nothing to edit, since the question is simply a pointer to another question. Dec 19, 2012 at 13:15

When questions are merged, the 'donors' cease to become questions any longer, they become 'stubs' that lead people to a canonical question and answer. People often ask the same question in completely different ways, these 'stubs' show up in search results and lead people to the answer that they want, and probably what they should have been searching for all along.

The first case you linked is exceptional. There, the 'stub' was a near carbon copy of the question it actually leads to, almost as if someone hit a submit button twice. I've since deleted it, as there's no real value in the context of the purpose that I described.

There's really no sense in doing much to fix them up since there's no hope of them being re-opened, and they clearly lead to better information. If a stub were edited to the point where it no longer was a duplicate of the question it points to, it should have just been a new question altogether.

Additionally, some of the 'quirks' within stubs (such as terminology like 'jQuery variable') actually help rather uninformed searchers turn them up, leading to what we hope is a bit of an education on the matter. It's better to just lock them as they were when the merge took place, which is why it happens automatically. There's also no reason for them to continue to receive votes, they're just road signs.

If you find one that you think is very problematic, or points to a question that no longer exists, flag as you did and forget about it. On the scale of importance when it comes to the time you want to give to the site, these are below the bottom.

  • Yes, I understand the concept having duplicates to cover different wordings (and I like that, because it can be asked from different angles), that was not my main issue. Maybe I was focused too much on deletion firsthand with my question here. After running over and over the same "blocked" questions again I probably only wanted to get rid of them even if I'm actually concerned about their tags.
    – hakre
    Dec 19, 2012 at 9:59
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    @hakre You might want to update your question to reflect that you're equally concerned with the divergence from the overall 'wiki nature' of the site. Still, I advise against giving these too much thought.
    – Tim Post
    Dec 19, 2012 at 10:05
  • meta.stackexchange.com/questions/160216/… - All questions have been flagged where that played a role, only seven left. Less than expected.
    – hakre
    Dec 25, 2012 at 2:44

Both of those questions have had their answers merged those of their duplicates. Since the answers were moved to the parent question, the question stubs still serve as "signposts", and they are useful to future users who may be searching on those topics.

The merge notice ensures that users get pointed to the older answers, as they may be in the duplicate, but that's not a guarantee, I don't think.

  • How do you know that they are useful? How can you say they serve as "signposts"? Is there any evidence you can provide about that?
    – hakre
    Dec 19, 2012 at 1:25
  • @hakre If you searched and found that question, how would you know where to go for the answers? They should be in the duplicate, but that's not a guarantee.
    – jonsca
    Dec 19, 2012 at 1:27
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    @hakre From the Shog himself: meta.stackexchange.com/a/324/159165
    – jonsca
    Dec 19, 2012 at 1:29
  • I find these because they stand in the way when I want to kill tags on them that are not fitting.
    – hakre
    Dec 19, 2012 at 1:29
  • Do not underestimate the overestimation of generalization. Shog did in no way related to these two questions in specific here, he was just generally speaking. That can not cover this. But thanks for the link.
    – hakre
    Dec 19, 2012 at 1:30
  • @hakre I understand where you are coming from, but these questions, being post-merge, are just stubs. If you're trying to get rid of a tag completely, there are other means through which to request tag merges or deletions. I'm not sure what the problem is.
    – jonsca
    Dec 19, 2012 at 1:32
  • No more community control over these questions. I consider that a problem. From my point of view, these questions are no other than other questions, but right now, they can neither be edited nor voted on. It's not that I want to kill them all, it's just that I don't understand why they are special. Signpost or not. I keep dupes as well.
    – hakre
    Dec 19, 2012 at 1:34
  • It's just a question stub, there's nothing to control. They are special because they have been merged, a final decision was been made. The answers are gone and they are not going to be reopened.
    – jonsca
    Dec 19, 2012 at 1:42
  • In a wiki there is no final decision.
    – hakre
    Dec 19, 2012 at 1:43
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    @hakre, just leave them until all of the touchable questions have been ... corrected. Once the only thing that's left are closed and locked questions, it'll be a much easier argument to say "dude, just nuke the tag already." 4,600 left...
    – Charles
    Dec 19, 2012 at 3:16
  • @Charles: Yes, good idea.
    – hakre
    Dec 19, 2012 at 9:37

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