I asked a question, but now it has been marked as duplicate. When checking, the referred to question is actually newer. Why isn't the other question marked as duplicate? The duplicate-text also seems wrong: "This question has been asked before…" while it clearly hasn't.

Personally, I think my question is better (of course I think this) because it's more specific. But there might be other reasons. Just curious.

  • Well, in your specific case, the dup is a more general question that applies to your case as well as lots of others, and both have effectively the same quality of answers, so I agree with the decision.
    – Servy
    Jun 3, 2013 at 20:32
  • Arguably should be retagged as bug because of text inaccuracy.
    – djechlin
    Jun 3, 2013 at 21:57
  • 4
    Note how Closing an earlier post as a duplicate of a later one is a dupe of a newer question Jun 3, 2013 at 22:04
  • 1. That message should be changed, because if the message says "This question has been asked before ...", the time should be relevant! 2. I saw a lot of questions having more views & more answers that are closed ... and to my mind this is not ok. Jan 8, 2016 at 9:48

2 Answers 2


The time a question was asked is irrelevant. There's nothing to stop a older question being closed as a duplicate of a newer, and there shouldn't be.

One use case, for instance, is someone posting the same question twice and the second getting answered. There's no point closing the answered question as a duplicate of the unanswered.

I'm not certain that I agree with you that the question matters as much as the answers. A question may be very good but if the answers in the duplicate are much better then it makes sense to close a question as a duplicate of the one whose answers will help the most people in the longer term. I am ill positioned to comment on either in this particular case.

What may be the best in this situation is a merge though. Not sure and only moderators can perform one.


Ben is ueq backwards makes the case for why the older question was closed in favor of the newer. (I'm not arguing whether this was correct or not.)

As with any interface design, there's always a tradeoff between exactness and simplicity; SO has done a great job balancing features with complexity of interface.

You've found an edge case for which the user action (mark as duplicate) is probably the most appropriate action to apply, but for which the given message is inaccurate:

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

As you pointed out, the question that was marked the duplicate had not been asked before the other other was asked. The message is inaccurate, but it's the only one that the website serves for the given action.

A solution would be to adjust the message. One way (my changes bold):

This question has been asked elsewhere on the site and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • To some extent, the wording of 'question has been asked before' is true at the time you are looking at both questions (so it has been asked 'before now'). The question with the best answers should be the one that survives as the one that other questions are made a duplicate of. Jun 3, 2013 at 23:50
  • Right, but all questions have been asked before now. The use of before in that context is superfluous because it's self-evident. The OP was looking at his question in relation to the other one, and it didn't compute. I just recommended removing the temporal flavor from the description since it is causing confusion.
    – John
    Jun 3, 2013 at 23:54
  • I've seen two cases of that posed by the OP in the last week suggesting they're just the tip of the iceberg. If that's the case, I wouldn't call these edge cases.
    – MrMas
    Aug 23, 2022 at 20:23

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