As a follow up to this question which was answered correctly --

Merged questions should get automatically forwarded to the new version of the question and I should not land on a 404 page like I do here

It should follow the same rules as when we move a question to a different Stack Exchange site -- Have the option of seeing the orginal Question when you have the noredirect option, or it should just forward to the new question.


It is not a hard delete in the fact that the post is deleted from the SE database -- as you can see the title of the Question in you're browser's title bar -- but it is deleted in a way that there was no real indication of how or why the question was deleted (or even if the post was in fact a question) and no >10K users can see the Original Question.

Interesting --

I now get "Page Not Found - Stack Overflow" in the title bar. I was getting the post's title before, unless I was hallucinating (which is possible, but all I drank today was water).

If the above was not enough, here is what I think happens currently and what should happen in the future:

What happens currently (in steps):

  1. Click on a link to a merged Stack Exchange Question
  2. Reach a page not found (aka 404) page
  3. Wonder what just happened...
  4. Go back to see if you read the link correctly
  5. Click on it again
  6. Reach the same 404 page
  7. Ask on meta.so why this is happening
  8. Drink some water while waiting for an explanation (and maybe do some actual work)

What should happen (in steps):

  1. Click on a link to a merged Stack Exchange Question
  2. The page should get forwarded to the post that it got merged into
  3. There should be some indication on the page telling you what happened so you do not think that you clicked on the wrong thing accidentally.

Since @RobertHarvey wants me to tell you why children will starve in Ethiopia if this does not happen:

They won't, or it just will not affect them.

But people who have links to these questions and did not realize that they were being merged and have over 10K rep on the site can get confused and not now what happened to these questions and will assume them to be deleted... but with the caveat that they cannot see them for some reason -- There should be some indication that a merge happened in these cases.

  • You can see the question title in the title bar? I only get "Page Not Found - Stack Overflow". Jul 12 '13 at 14:57
  • @FrédéricHamidi interesting... Now I get "Page not found" also.
    – Naftali
    Jul 12 '13 at 14:58
  • 2
    Someone is busy covering their tracks. </paranoia> Jul 12 '13 at 14:59
  • @FrédéricHamidi hehe Updated ^_^
    – Naftali
    Jul 12 '13 at 14:59
  • This would be a better post if you explained why the merged post should not be hard-deleted. A merge copies all of the information from the source post to the target one and removes most of that information from the source post (leaving a stub), so why would you need the stub to hang around forever, even as a soft-delete, if most of the original information is preserved?
    – user102937
    Jul 12 '13 at 15:18
  • 1
    @RobertHarvey well the link should forward to the new post and not just go to a "Page Not Found page". That is kind of confusing. And then when it does forward, it should explain why.
    – Naftali
    Jul 12 '13 at 15:19
  • AFAIK it does do that for a certain period of time. I don't know what that period is exactly, but it's somewhere around six to eight weeks.
    – user102937
    Jul 12 '13 at 15:21
  • @RobertHarvey I updated my OP
    – Naftali
    Jul 12 '13 at 15:23
  • You still haven't explained why this is a problem, although you are dancing around it. Tell us why children will starve in Ethiopia if this does not happen.
    – user102937
    Jul 12 '13 at 15:25
  • @RobertHarvey I did if you look at my steps for What happens currently.
    – Naftali
    Jul 12 '13 at 15:26
  • All you're describing there is your own confusion. So you're saying that instead of the link 404'ing, it should say "This post was removed for reasons of moderation?" After sixty days you would think the OP would have figured it out by then.
    – user102937
    Jul 12 '13 at 15:26
  • 1
    @Robert - migrated questions auto-forward, right? I would think merged questions ought to behave the same. I would think this would be rather obvious and not in need of explanation. Jul 12 '13 at 15:28
  • @AdamRackis I thought so too...
    – Naftali
    Jul 12 '13 at 15:30
  • @RobertHarvey updated again...
    – Naftali
    Jul 12 '13 at 15:31
  • 2
    But...this already happens. It just presumably can't happen for legacy merges, because they were more destructive.
    – Tim Stone
    Jul 12 '13 at 15:44


That's why I was so happy when this was fixed. Three years ago.

You can find the answers to that particular question here.

  • Why is there the impression that this is borken? Is the cited link more than three years old?
    – user102937
    Jul 12 '13 at 16:10
  • Yes, it is @Robert. Had to use archive.org to find out where the answers went.
    – Shog9
    Jul 12 '13 at 16:11
  • Interestingly, the 404 page lists your link as the first suggestion for similar questions. :)
    – user102937
    Jul 12 '13 at 16:11
  • Sounds like it probably was a duplicate then... ;-P
    – Shog9
    Jul 12 '13 at 16:13
  • @Shog9 this is not a duplicate at all There is no indication that you were forwarded at all.. Quite confusing.
    – Naftali
    Jul 12 '13 at 16:15
  • 5
    Yes, @amana, the system was really, really broken... Until it was fixed... Three years ago. There are some - though thankfully relatively few - remnants of this. It isn't really possible to do anything about then, since they were hard deleted.
    – Shog9
    Jul 12 '13 at 16:18
  • @Shog9 ok. but That "duplicate" had nothing to do with my feature request. My feature request is that there should be some indication that a merge happened and why you were forwarded to where you were sent to.
    – Naftali
    Jul 12 '13 at 16:19
  • @amanaPlanaCAnalPAnaMA: Uh, and Shog is saying that that already happens, and it's been that way for the last three years, and we can't do anything about the stubs that were hard deleted more than three years ago.
    – user102937
    Jul 12 '13 at 16:27
  • @RobertHarvey there is no indication that you were forwarded at all...
    – Naftali
    Jul 12 '13 at 16:31
  • 6
    @amanaPlanaCAnalPAnaMA: Not on the post you linked. It was hard-deleted before the problem was fixed. Why are you beating a dead horse?
    – user102937
    Jul 12 '13 at 16:32
  • @RobertHarvey See the posy Shog9 used in his answer. No indication of merge...
    – Naftali
    Jul 12 '13 at 17:44
  • 2
    @aman would you like them to try to manually figure out what old posts were merged and update the database so that it displays the appropriate notice for these old questions, or what? What are you suggesting be done?
    – Jeremy
    Jul 12 '13 at 20:29

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