It's been stated previously that duplicates have their uses. They sometimes indicate that a particular question couldn't be found with however the user searched for it.

Now while merging is often useful it seems like it destroys the duplicate, which to me seems to diminish the "wide net" aspect.

At moderator's discretion, it might be worth merging the answers but leaving the duplicate as a locked, empty question that points to where the answers have gone. The original question wouldn't need a link back to the empty, locked version. But this way you still get that linkage.

  • Agreed. I was just bewildered on SF when i refreshed my question and it just disappeared. It would be nice to have some indication of what happened. I wasn't even aware question merging had been implemented. Need to drop by here more often.
    – raven
    Commented Oct 20, 2009 at 16:26
  • 1
    Also external links pointing to the duplicate would still point to something useful, not just go dead due to the merge.
    – sth
    Commented Dec 8, 2009 at 20:06

3 Answers 3


I'd rather see a redirect from the original URL than an empty, answer-free question. Yes, it acts as a sign-post when a given query fails to turn up the final destination... but it's also one more click for users to go through.

Actually, i'd rather see a redirect for all questions closed as duplicates. I mean, come on - i have things to do, time-consuming ultimately pointless things, why make me postpone them by clicking twice?

  • 1
    Getting rid of the dupes and having them redirect automatically also removes the alternate wording.
    – random
    Commented Aug 22, 2009 at 4:32
  • 2
    @random: wouldn't have to. A timed meta redirect could display the old page for a moment, or the destination could be informed of the source and display the alternate wording as a "redirect from", Wikipedia-style...
    – Shog9
    Commented Aug 22, 2009 at 4:48
  • Does Google like the meta-redirects? Would it penalise the site if it was put in?
    – random
    Commented Aug 22, 2009 at 5:00
  • @Shog9 if your time is that valuable, what are you doing here? ;-) Commented Jan 13, 2010 at 19:30
  • This is one of those time-consuming, ultimately pointless things.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jan 13, 2010 at 23:23
  • no timed meta-redirects please! Commented Sep 7, 2010 at 18:46
  • I partially agree with you, but I'd like to know that the question has been merged (rather than just bam! be redirected automagically) Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 15:38

I agree that something needs to be done concerning merged questions. I've merged only a few things since being a mod on SuperUser and Meta, and even as a mod it can be kind of confusing when something starts disappearing like that. Having some sort of stub that would either let you know it was merged or do an automatic redirect would be very helpful.


I think there is a risk of merging not really duplicates.

For instance: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/1315025/rounding-to-even-in-java ( where we both were minutes ago ; ) Is not a real duplicate of the linked question.

The first is about rounding to an specific number, the other is to an even number.

While they're related, they are NOT exact duplicate.

The risk of having them merged is that one of them would be unfairly unanswered.

  • 2
    That's why it requires moderator discretion.
    – cletus
    Commented Aug 22, 2009 at 3:42
  • Merging is possible now, Oscar - it's one of the tools available to moderators. And currently, the behavior is to irrevocably delete one of the questions being merged, with not so much as a Post-It Note left behind to warn future readers that the answers they seek are To Be Found Elsewhere.
    – Shog9
    Commented Aug 22, 2009 at 3:44
  • 2
    Italics are fun and best of all are subtle enough that they can be grossly overused without any real harm!
    – Shog9
    Commented Aug 22, 2009 at 4:39

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