Questions that were merged into other questions, before being deleted, ordinarily redirect to the merge target. However, it's possible for users to append ?noredirect=1 on any question that redirects to another for any reason (e.g. anonymous user redirection to targets of unanswered duplicates, migration stubs, etc.) to stop the redirect.

In the case of the latter, it's possible to stop the redirect even after the migration stub was already deleted (and thus see a "this question was removed for reasons of moderation" message). However, in the case where a question was merged (not migrated), and the merge stub was deleted, adding ?noredirect=1 does not stop the automatic redirect. Example (if you have 10k+ on Stack Overflow, access that link while logged out).

This has created a rather confusing scenario in this meta question. I could have sworn that if a merge stub is deleted, accessing it with ?noredirect=1 used to show a "this question was removed for reasons of moderation" message, but that appears to no longer be happening.

(I haven't tested this out as a 10k+ user, but based on the comments of that meta question, I assume that it works properly for them and they see the deleted merge stub.)


Near as I can tell, this behavior has existed since December 29th of 2010, when it was explicitly added to avoid the situation where a user ends up looking at a 404 page instead of the results they were looking for.

If the stub isn't deleted then only anonymous (not-logged-in) users get redirected to begin with; everyone else sees the stub by default (example). The noredirect=1 parameter works just fine for anonymous users though; you can view the stub in all of its stubby glory until such a time as you get bored and click through to the question where all the answers ended up.

But if the question is deleted... The parameter is ignored for everyone. If you can see the stub (because you asked it, because you have 10K, because you're a moderator...) then you get the stub; if you'd see a 404 page, then you get redirected.

Allowing noredirect to send you to a 404 page would be pretty cruel; you'd be stuck there unable to get to the page with all the answers unless you knew to edit out the parameter.

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