There are questions which are closed as duplicate of deleted questions. People who stumbled upon these questions are most likely confused. "Oh, this is a duplicate of another question, let me check the duplicate... Wait, it's deleted. What?"


When I encountered one of the questions like that, I flag it with a custom flag, but it appears it isn't handled yet in more than a week.

Thinking that I might be able to get a list of questions closed as duplicate of deleted questions, I attempted to write a query on Stack Exchange Data Explorer [1], but found that it is impossible to get a full list since it takes too much time. Currently the query selects top 50 of questions closed as duplicate with the lowest votes and check the duplicate links. You can kind of change the sorting to produce different results.

Can we find a way to execute this query to generate a list of questions closed as duplicate of deleted questions so the community can sort of clean them up? Perhaps place them into a review queue?

[1] Spent a lot of time to get the ids out of the JSON. Recursive query? Don't even know how it worked. Credit goes to this answer, with minor modifications)


1 Answer 1


Ok; there are 1744 visible, duplicate questions on Stack Overflow where at least one linked question is deleted. Some of these are pretty old...

The nature of these questions varies considerably. Some are terrible, closed as duplicates of other terrible questions, and should just be deleted. Others are reasonable, and could be re-opened. In some cases, undeleting the original (and possibly merging) may be appropriate; in others, it might make more sense to collapse a chain of duplicates (and, again, possibly request a merge).

While score is not necessarily a good indicator of quality, it's at least a starting-point. So I've sorted this list by answer score then question score.

Since this list is waaay too long to fit on MSO, I've dumped onto JSBin - this also allows the list to be updated if need-be.

The list: http://jsbin.com/IdUPIhI/2


  • Shorter if you removed the duplicates of duplicates in your duplicates list. Canonical
    – random
    Oct 28, 2013 at 22:46
  • I've flagged a few of those, but I wonder if it is the correct thing to do? Mixing this thing with other custom flags seems to create more workload for mods.
    – Alvin Wong
    Oct 31, 2013 at 16:27
  • 1
    @Alvin: you can be helpful if you can determine a specific, ideal outcome for the post (reopened, redirected, etc) and specify that in your flag (or better yet, just vote to reopen where appropriate). Much easier to handle a flag that boils down to "dup-link is broken; delete" or "dup-link is broke; undelete original" than flags that impose a lengthy decision process.
    – Shog9
    Oct 31, 2013 at 17:01

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .