Today I closed question A as a duplicate of an older post B (ie. A was closed and B was open). Both already had answers. It was then decided the questions were similar enough to warrant a merger. It seemed to me that A was posed better than B, so I, from the mod menu in B, merged the two posts using a link to A as the "master post". All the answers and comments moved from B to A as expected, but the surprise is that A is still closed as a duplicate of B (ie. both questions are now closed/locked pointing at the other one).

This is not expected behavior and I'd even call it a bug. Please, when merging two posts where one is a dupe of the other (isn't that all question mergers?), be sure to reopen the master question. I'm going to manually reopen A now, but this should be automatic.

1 Answer 1


Normally, this would be exactly the wrong behavior: you'd be merging the closed question into the open one, and wouldn't want to reopen it.

In fact, I don't know that I'd recommend doing it the way you did at all: right now, the only link from the merge source to the destination is in the banner under the question, which might be less obvious to casual readers; closing it as a duplicate of the merge destination first would've put the link at the top too. Another negative side-effect here is that unanswered duplicates automatically redirect anonymous readers to the duplicate target, meaning they don't even need to find the link; merging works the same way, but only once the merge stub is deleted - thus, you lose the window of time in which the merge source would normally serve as a signpost to searchers.

I'd say the proper fix here would be to implement a check that ensures the merge source is closed as a duplicate of the merge destination - or even a system that automatically closes the source as a duplicate of the destination - before allowing the merge to proceed.

Related: Should merged questions be closed as exact duplicate instead of just locking?

  • 1
    I'm ok with forcing people to merge in the same direction as the closure, if that's the clear policy (it's not currently). I thought that wasn't the case already specifically because once they're together, it doesn't matter what came from where (x+y=y+x). It's helpful IME to be able to close new to old and worry later about if and in which direction they should be merged.
    – Double AA
    Nov 8, 2016 at 21:43
  • The current check simply verifies that at least one of the questions is closed - it doesn't check which one, or why. I'd guess (but don't know) that this was simply easier to implement and possibly saved some time early on; heck, at one time long ago we didn't bother saving the stub anyway, so it truly didn't matter (but that caused all manner of other problems). These days, I'd suggest it'd probably be fine to just add "merge" as an option for moderators when closing, and provide the current tool as an additional utility for duplicate questions.
    – Shog9
    Nov 8, 2016 at 21:45
  • Regarding the banners: if the system just checked, it could be sure to reopen and reclose in the other direction before merging. That can't be that difficult. Right now it gives us the option to do what I did without accounting for it = problem.
    – Double AA
    Nov 8, 2016 at 22:07

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