I understand the general rationale for wanting to close questions as duplicate with at least one answer. I also understand the general rationale for wanting to close a question as a duplicate that someone reposted.

But I can't understand why the duplicate label should persist if the linked duplicate is removed for one reason or another. This doesn't create a nice navigable flow for someone looking for an answer, and is led to believe that their answer is in another question.

Here's an example. The question itself can be salvaged, but why it's closed as a dupe when the dupe no longer exists is a bit weird, from a user that doesn't have access to the 10K tools.


This should usually not happen at all. In fact, when voting to close something, the user is warned that something was marked as a duplicate of it. That is the way this would typically happen, though; something got deleted after it had been marked as the original of a duplicate.

Looks like it was most likely auto-deleted due to having no activity and a negative score (per comments by animuson and Mysticial), though even if the deleted question was still there, it wouldn't be that useful, since it has no answers.

The likely 'solution' here would be to find a better original to mark the dupe as, and for it to be opened and re-closed as a dupe, assuming it still is.

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  • It was auto-pruned by the system because it had no activity and a negative score. – animuson Mar 21 '13 at 23:16
  • It was most likely auto-deleted from the periodic purge of closed non-upvoted questions. – Mysticial Mar 21 '13 at 23:17
  • @animuson I thought those showed up as deleted by Community. Hmmm... ok! – Andrew Barber Mar 21 '13 at 23:17
  • @Andrew: They do now. They didn't before. – animuson Mar 21 '13 at 23:18
  • Ahh.. that makes sense (@Mysticial too on this) – Andrew Barber Mar 21 '13 at 23:18
  • @Andrew: If you're interested, that change sparked this question. – animuson Mar 21 '13 at 23:21
  • I'd like to say that the new "dup targets must be answered" rule would've prevented this as well, but... Since it was closed by a mod, it wouldn't have. – Shog9 Mar 21 '13 at 23:58
  • @Shog9: Why would that rule not apply if a diamond closed it? Why shouldn't that rule been applied? – Makoto Mar 22 '13 at 3:34
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    Generally, moderators are allowed to override some checks in order to handle exceptional cases - that's their job after all, @Makoto. But, they make mistakes too on occasion. – Shog9 Mar 22 '13 at 4:43

As I've explained in another question:

Generally, if the original question gets deleted, that's a good indication that the duplicate should also be deleted.

That covers generally. However, in this specific case the original question was automatically pruned for low activity and negative score.

The problem is that the duplicated question should have been deleted a long time ago as well. It was an exact duplicate of another question, probably posted because the other one got closed. The fact that the original question of a [somewhat] acceptable question which ended up actually getting reopened is a very rare sight to see, and certainly not something that would end up happening frequently.

A solution: I'm not in favor of automatically reopening dupe-closed questions just because the original got deleted, but perhaps they could be bumped to the Reopen Votes queue. Five users who think the question should be reopened can, well, reopen it. Perhaps if it is left closed, it can then be automatically deleted itself to join its friend?

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  • If it's closed as a dup of a closed question something needs to be done with it. Either it should be closed as a dup of an undeleted question, it should be closed for some reason other than a duplicate, deleted itself, reopened, whatever, but staying in it's current state shouldn't be a valid end case. – Servy Mar 21 '13 at 23:43
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    @Servy: Automatically reopening it isn't a valid end case either. What really needs to happen is bringing it to the attention of users who can do something about it. – animuson Mar 21 '13 at 23:45
  • I agree entirely. It most certainly should not be automatically re-opened. I just mean that it shouldn't go into a queue in which a valid option is "do nothing with it". It is currently in an invalid state and shouldn't be left alone until some person determines what needs to happen to it. – Servy Mar 21 '13 at 23:49
  • I'd be more in favor of automatically deleting it, or even changing the "Leave Closed" option to a "Recommend Deletion" option for these specific cases, to make it stand out that your option is Reopen or Delete. Having the option to re-close it for another reason or another duplicate seems overly complicated, and I don't see that use-case being prominent enough to warrant that action. – animuson Mar 21 '13 at 23:52
  • I wasn't saying that the reopen queue needs buttons for all of those things, merely that those are possible actions that I might consider if I came across such a question. – Servy Mar 21 '13 at 23:54

It would be good for them to keep the Community from deleting questions that have a dupe link to them.

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