Eric Lippert's hotel analogy for the C++ memory model is one of the best answers on SO. The question it's in response to, Can a local variable's memory be accessed outside its scope, is currently closed a dupe of Returning the address of local or temporary variable.

The questions are duplicates, but my impression was that duplicates should point towards the best instance. Cf., Shog's answer about closing old questions as dupes of (better) new ones (emphasis added):

If the new question is a better question or has better answers, then vote to close the old one as a duplicate of the new one.

Even the second, more direct, answer looks better than the top answer on the dupe and has 5x the upvotes and neither question particularly stands out as obviously better. (The question's been duped to other questions too, see the revision history below, but the same reasoning applies equally well to them.)

I flagged this with similar reasoning, but the flag came back rejected after a week or so. I assume the delay was due to internal discussion amongst the mods about the best course of action so I'm asking here in the hopes that they'll share their thinking on the matter.

The question's history has been contentious, and it inspired significant tangential discussion on a question a couple years ago. Hopefully this discussion won't go off the rails. To that end some common ground(?):

  • The question itself (and all its many dupes) is reasonable for a novice C++ developer, but is also too basic to deserve the upvotes it's gotten.
  • Eric's answer is not interesting technically. The answer's merit derives from his explanatory abilities, not C++ expertise.
  • All the attention this question has gotten has distorted practically everything about it.

Overall, it doesn't really matter, inasfar as there are hundreds of other things we should spend time on, but if we're being pedantic about it, then yes, the closed-as-duplicates should be switched.

Overall, we want the canonical question to be:

  • the one with the most votes,
  • views,
  • best answers (normally determined by votes)
  • cleanest,
  • most general

In this case, even though the other question is the oldest, it doesn't represent the best signpost for users stumbling on to this question from the internet.


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