As a Stack user, I'm often confronted to duplicates. In one of my other post, talking about duplicates, I came up with something that could be useful and would like to have your opinion on this.

Sometimes, duplicates questions comes with a very different way to ask the question (complete different wording), but when you know a bit about the subject, you can often trace an older question with answer an mark it as duplicate. The question will then be closed, then erased(? not completely sure about this last fact or how does that work). The user who asked the question will see the link of the duplicate and probably be able to find an answer to his question.

I see principally two problems to this :

  1. Sometimes, different good answers, that could apply to different, but similar, contexts are proposed on the questions and are then spread on both. If you plainly merge the question, only one title will subsists. If you don't the info will be kept spread.
  2. If the question is finally deleted, then another new user using similar wording won't be able to find the original question due to a lack of knowledge on the subject. That makes the information harder to find.

What about system that would allow to "tag" or "add" more than one title to some questions. Sure it would have to be approved and everything but would make the research easier on some frequently asked question. The title seen would still be the original, but there would be some kind of what ever way to see other title and to tag more titles. That could be a function directly related to closing duplicates (like an option or whatever).

Related to point 1. Also, there's a link from the duplicated question to the original one but not from the original one to the dupe so someone falling on the original one might lack info that is on the dupe that could have helped him resolve his problem.

Also If there is a duplicate of that question, well then this is the best example of the problem the feature is pointing to as I have not found any dupe while I was searching, probably for wording differently!

  • As far as I know, answers can already be merged/moved to other questions by moderators if they choose to. Also questions that are closed as duplicates are left as signposts to the duplicate unless a moderator decides to delete them.
    – Josh Mein
    Feb 24, 2013 at 1:22
  • But the titles don't get merged ? As far as I know. And this is the main thing pointed! But thanks for the clarification about the time they stay there Feb 24, 2013 at 1:23
  • Why would you need to merge the titles? There are two questions and if you search and find the first one, you can just follow the duplicate link to view the one with the answers. How would merging the titles look/work anyways? Seems like it would just clutter the interface and just complicate the system.
    – Josh Mein
    Feb 24, 2013 at 1:24
  • Well thats one of the point I also want to discuss. But once the duplicate is removed you no longer have the link to the orignial with the wording. Actually the "added" titles could be invisible to most user and only visible to the some others who have access to add/see then with a button. A bit like you can see the plus minus votes by clicking on the vote number when reaching 1000 rep. It would just simplify the question as you could fall on the question with more "wordings". This would be a tool to reduce duplicates as it ease research Feb 24, 2013 at 1:28
  • Duplicates arent usually removed automatically. They are only deleted if moderators deem them unecessary.
    – Josh Mein
    Feb 24, 2013 at 5:17


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