For example, let's see this question from ELL: "I have no question"--> "Me, too" or "Me, either"?

Let's call this A. Question A is on top of my Google search, currently has 4 upvotes and considerably well-researched. However, it is marked as duplicate to question B, which is closed for being poor-researched. A's answers attract more votes too. In short, we want A, not B, regardless of their history.

Should we reverse this situation by saying B is a duplicate of A? That way, A is now opened and new answers can be written, while B is still closed. When I head to A, I see that it's duplicating B, so I click B with the hope that B is better than A. It's not. After I find an answer elsewhere, I want to answer them but I can't anymore. Without looking at the revisions, my thought is that B should be a duplicate of A, not the opposite. I think if duplicating questions has more interacts than the duplicated ones, especially with new edits, then it should be added to the review queue.

So, if a duplicating question has good quality, and the duplicated question is bad, should the relation be reversed?

FAQ: How should duplicate questions be handled?

  • did you consider merging the Q/A pair? – rene Mar 16 '17 at 14:31
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    I'd actually consider this a good idea. We want people ending up at the best question possible. I've done this a few times on SU, where I moderate. Shouldn't you be asking this on ELL's meta though? You'd really want your mods in on this – Journeyman Geek Mar 16 '17 at 14:36
  • @rene i didn't know that :-o – Ooker Mar 16 '17 at 17:34
  • @JourneymanGeek that's just a recent example of what itches me for a long time. I want to have a system-wide approach – Ooker Mar 16 '17 at 17:36

It's uncommon in my experience, but reversing a duplicate so the older, poorer one points to the newer, better one is done sometimes. You've made a good case for why the newer question is better, particularly its Google placement.

Another rarely-used, available option is merger. If all of the answers on the poorer question also work on the better question, and the community sees no value in keeping the poorer question as a duplicate signpost, moderators can merge the questions. The result would be the better question with all of the answers. If both questions had accepted answers then one of those acceptances will be lost, but otherwise the users involved shouldn't lose rep from this. (The other question in a merge remains and is locked.)

You have an additional wrinkle here: the duplicate target itself was closed. If the new question isn't close-worthy, then arguably it's not really a duplicate -- it seems to have solved whatever the problem was in the original that got it closed. To me that's another reason to reverse the duplicate pointer, but you might want to see what's going on with the older question. Is anybody trying to fix it or was it abandoned?

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  • Why is merger rarely used? I just know it today. As for your last point, I think once we have a better version, then we wouldn't need to look if the other question has been improved or not, and save the effort to improve the better one. – Ooker Mar 16 '17 at 17:39
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    @Ooker I was being descriptive, not prescriptive -- I don't see merges often. A lot of "dupes" aren't exact dupes, just close enough, so if all answers don't work on the combined question you can't merge. On looking at the other, I meant before merging -- if somebody's actually trying to fix the not-good question, you should see how that goes before taking away the option, most times. As with everything, you do have to look at the specific case before deciding whether and how to merge. – Monica Cellio Mar 16 '17 at 17:47

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