I've been on SO since the start and vaguely recall the idea was duplicates should actually be removed, but their titles still retained somehow - often a closed question is the top result on Google for a given search term which suggests those terms are valuable.
I do not think I ever saw an example of this, but I do see huge numbers of closed questions - often very highly up-voted.
So two parts to my question:
- Have I misunderstood the procedures that are supposed to be followed - if so what are they?
- Are procedures actually followed and if not, does this indicate they're unworkable?
Mainly this is a question seeking to understand how SE sites work. It is not intended as a complaint!