Currently, Community deletes closed questions with downvotes as part of a self-cleaning measure. The problem is that we generally don't want to delete duplicates, as they improve searching, increase hits to the site, and whiten your teeth while you sleep.

My proposal is to change Community's behavior so that he only deletes closed, downvoted questions if they were closed for reasons other than "duplicate".

For what it's worth, this issue was raised because of Community's deletion of this question on Academia.SE (10K only).

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    I am partially with Gordon on this. You assume the duplicate has a good title, which isn't always the case... – ben is uǝq backwards Apr 23 '13 at 19:53

You can easily prevent this - just up-vote the duplicate. The 30-day deletion won't happen if it has a score of at least 0, and the year-old deletion won't happen if it has a score of 1 or more.

Note that the year-old deletion also skips frequently-viewed questions - so if a duplicate is actually serving as a useful signpost, that alone can save it.

See also: upvoting duplicate questions

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  • That workaround makes sense, but why not fix the problem at the core? This requires that users (a) know about (and remember) this workaround and (b) see the duplicate before it moves off the front page. I don't think we can expect those to coincide too often. – eykanal Apr 23 '13 at 18:43
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    Not every duplicate is worth keeping around. Generally, yes, they shouldn't be deleted, but keeping a lot of poorly-asked questions around isn't a great idea either. FWIW: I'm working on expanding automatic deletion, and will be excluding duplicates from the more frequent purges. – Shog9 Apr 23 '13 at 18:45
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    @eykanal there are questions that literally have thousands, some possibly even tens of thousands of duplicates. Keeping those around arguably waters down search results not only on SO, but also on Google – Pekka Apr 24 '13 at 6:49
  • @Pekka웃 We had addressed that in Gordon's now-deleted post. My response to that is that while that may be the case on the main SO site, that's definitely not true on the smaller SE sites, where we don't have thousands of duplicates, but rather just dozens. At that scale, having multiple search terms pointing to the same answer is very useful. – eykanal Apr 24 '13 at 12:59

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