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This is an issue only for meta, as a question without an answer can be used as a dupe target on meta, not on the main sites. Changes to "close as duplicate" (part deux) (thanks to Laurel for the link)

For the sake of clarification I'll call this question 1 and this question 2.

Question 1 was asked first and has no answers, they had similar upvotes question 2 has an answer.

Question 2 was marked a duplicate of question 1.

Usually when a question is marked as a duplicate of another, one is curious to see the answers on the dupe target.

Isn't it a better idea that the question with the answer is the dupe target?

At least if you disagree, perhaps an argument can be given with not, as it makes no sense to me.

  • How on earth could this get a downvote? – Nobody Sep 2 '16 at 7:26
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    I thought you were familiar with down votes on meta by now: Is it better to use a dupe target that has an answer? No -> down vote. – rene Sep 2 '16 at 7:34
  • @rene well doesn't that mean people will go to the dupe target looking for an answer? – Nobody Sep 2 '16 at 7:35
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    Yeah, it is only on meta's that you can choose a dupe target that doesn't have an answer – rene Sep 2 '16 at 7:44
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    I think in reality it depends on the quality of the questions as well as any possible answer – Cai Sep 2 '16 at 8:06
  • @Cai what if they're identical? – Nobody Sep 2 '16 at 8:06
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    If they were identical, then the one with an answer should probably take precedent, but "question 1" was a posted a year before "question 2" so I can kind of see the logic in the decision. – Cai Sep 2 '16 at 8:09
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Ideally, you are correct. But there are more factors:

  • Is the answer official (i.e. from Stack Exchange staff), or just a follow-up by ordinary user?
  • Which question is phrased better, and explains the issue better?

Plus, in the end of the day, it doesn't matter that much. Unlike the main sites, most visitors of meta sites are logged in users who won't be redirected when visiting a question closed as duplicate. So they will still see the answer posted on the closed question.

Last but not least, you can always delete the answer from the one closed as dupe, and post it instead on the original question. No harm done.

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In the example you cite, the answer was useful to me in writing my own answer, as I could avoid a lengthy explanation of the problem.

So I reversed the duplicate closure in order to make referencing it easier.

As always, err on the side of practicality when possible.

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