By "pass-through" I mean:

  • If the search terms or pasted URL in the "Closing -> Duplicate" search window would (through ordinary search) display a question with zero answers, AND
  • If that question has itself been closed as a duplicate, then
  • The "dupe target" of that question should be shown in the results window (to make it easier to select it as the dupe target for the question currently being closed.)

At first glance this may seem unlikely to help very often; however, consider that the reason for keeping duplicate questions around at all is to make it easier to find the answers, by linking to the dupe target from the duplicates.

The argument in favor of this feature is:

Duplicate questions are not always worded similarly.

As a specific case study, consider the following three questions:

The first two are worded similarly; the third is apparently disrelated but actually contains the exact answer to the first two questions. The second has already been closed as a duplicate of the third.

In voting to close the first one, I typed in "How to test if a command is installed?" (the name of the second question) in the "Closing -> Duplicate" search window. Neither the second question nor the third question came up.

I opened up a new browser tab and searched for the same phrase, easily found the second question above, and pasted its URL into the "Closing -> Duplicate" search window. Rather than seeing any results, I got a message:

This question does not have an upvoted or accepted answer

I pasted the URL (of the second question) in a new tab, clicked through to the dupe target (the third linked question above) and copied its URL. By pasting that URL in the "Closing -> Duplicate" search window, I was finally able to vote to close with the correct dupe target.

I'm unsure whether it would be preferable to show the dupe target of the zero-answer search result (even though it itself didn't match the search terms), or to show the zero-answer question directly, perhaps with a message "duplicate of _____." Discussions of possible implementation details are welcome.

  • 1
    I agree. Duplicate answers only purpose are to help guide searchers to the answer they are looking for. Why not replace the duplicates with the originals in the search results, or at least provide a link to go there directly? – hat Dec 18 '17 at 6:18

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