The story:

  1. Question posted on Programmers (let's call it Q1),
  2. Same question posted on Code Review (let's call it Q2),
  3. I migrate Q1 to Code Review,
  4. Someone notices that Q1 is a duplicate of Q2 and votes to close,
  5. I notice the duplicate notice and the auto-generated comment and also try to vote to close, but can't. No error message, nothing, it just doesn't work.

And then I notice that Q2 no longer exists ("voluntarily removed by its author"). My guess is the OP also noticed the duplicate vote, realized how messy cross posts are and decided to be a good citizen and delete one of the two questions. He picked the wrong one though, and now we're left with a duplicate notice pointing to a non existent question and an unresponsive dialog.

It's a mess ;) A weird and rare mess, but still a mess. What can we do about it?

  • 2
    There's a special place in hell for cross posters :<
    – yannis
    Feb 7, 2013 at 10:24
  • What happens to the votes to close in that case? Are they automatically deleted? Feb 7, 2013 at 11:05
  • @MartinSmith I imagine the one close vote that made it through will age away, assuming the question gets more than 100 views. Not sure what will happen when that happens.
    – yannis
    Feb 7, 2013 at 11:07
  • 1
    Thanks for finding this - it's next on my plate to fix. Feb 8, 2013 at 4:52

2 Answers 2


This should now be fixed.

When a question is deleted, we'll see if any existing close-as-dupe votes point to it as the original. If so, the votes will be removed.

This cleanup can only currently be performed for close votes on open questions; questions that were closed as duplicate will need to be repaired by hand in our upcoming link rot review queue.


Well, the only thing I can think of is to flag it for moderator attention, explaining briefly what happened. That moderator will need to undelete the question, close the other one as a correct duplicate and delete it.

Either that or gather a bunch of 10K users to help you with that.

But yes indeed, cross posters do have a special place in hell.

  • 1
    This is a decent workaround, but the system should be able to detect if the duplicate was deleted and at least show an error message.
    – yannis
    Feb 7, 2013 at 11:05
  • 1
    @Yannis: One can argue that it's enough of an edge case for the flag system to handle it. Though the banner should be gone if the linked question is removed. Feb 7, 2013 at 11:09
  • Hm, need I remind you that you just got a diamond? We don't need moar work! ;P
    – yannis
    Feb 7, 2013 at 11:13
  • @Yannis: It's our job as human exception handlers. This is an exception. :) Feb 7, 2013 at 11:16
  • btw if a mod is going to get involved, there's a quicker workaround: Close (as OT, NC, NARQ) and re-open, to invalidate the pending dupe vote.
    – yannis
    Feb 8, 2013 at 5:01

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