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I recently added questions to the list of duplicates on a couple of closed questions. To my surprise I then found those questions at the top of the homepage. This was surprising to me because closing questions (as duplicates or for any other reason) does not bump them. After poking around a bit I found a couple of questions here that document that indeed the system is designed to not bump questions for being closed but to yes bump questions for having questions added to the duplicate list:

What can cause a question to be bumped?

Closing question causes a bump?

This seems rather puzzling. As far as I understand, the point of having modifications bump a question is so that the modifications can be reviewed. Actually closing a question seems to be a much more significant modification than merely adding an additional question to the duplicate list. As such I would expect there to be more of a reason for a question to be bumped when it gets closed than for for it to get bumped when the duplicate list is modified. Yet the opposite is apparently true.

Why?

  • Probably for historical consistency with older duplicates where the Community user would edit the duplicate link into the post body. Its automatic edit wouldn't bump, but any further edits from normal users would bump. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Apr 14 at 2:40
  • Also, on newer-style duplicates before the change to allow users to edit duplicate links, moderators would need to reopen and re-close questions to change the target, and reopening bumps them. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Apr 14 at 4:37
  • @SonictheWizardWerehog Are you suggesting that the system just hasn't been updated, or that the system was deliberately designed this way to mimic outdated procedures? – Alex Apr 14 at 4:47
  • Probably deliberately designed to mimic outdated procedures, because those procedures aren't considered "outdated" for some reason? (I don't know why, though.) – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Apr 14 at 5:19
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For closed questions, there is the recently closed questions list in the 10k Tools. So, any user with 10k rep can then view the decisions made by other high rep users, and if something was done in error fix or report it.

However, there is no such log or list of "recently edited duplicate targets". If such action will not bump the question, nobody will be able to notice and review it, and it's wide open for errors and even abuse.

That's most likely the reason for making it bump the question.

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As far as I understand, the point of having modifications bump a question is so that the modifications can be reviewed. Actually closing a question seems to be a much more significant modification than merely adding an additional question to the duplicate list.

Yes, but either:

  1. the question was closed by multiple users, so it was already reviewed, or
  2. in case of a goldhammer, OP could still try for reopening, and get it reviewed.

But an edit to the dupe targets list would escape notice and not be reviewed at all without bumping.

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