Example situation:

How do I full-screen my CMD? is marked as a duplicate of Fullscreen Vista's Command Prompt, or Replacement. But:

  • the first is more general (Windows):
  • higher-voted
  • more marked as favorite
  • the wording is clearer
  • the title is more precise: "How do I full-screen my CMD?"

than the second question which

  • is more specific (Windows Vista)
  • has a poorer title because it focuses mainly on Vista "Fullscreen Vista's Command Prompt, or Replacement"

I would like to post a new answer, but:

  • I don't want to do it on the second (I've never used Windows Vista, so posting an answer specific for Vista makes no sense)
  • the first is closed and no longer accepts an answer (I wanted to post one there).

In such a context, how to suggest to swap "X duplicate of Y" to "Y duplicate of X"?

I raised a flag; it was declined ("no evidence to support it"), but anyway, this is probably not the best way to suggest such a duplicate swap. More generally, what's the best way to suggest a duplicate swap to the community?

NB: the only argument against a swap is the creation date, but eventually, this should not matter; as we're building a knowledge base, only the best content should be favored and the creation date is not really important.

  • 1
    "I raised a flag but I think it was declined." Then that is it, you can't over rule the reviewers based on your opinion, that is not how it works. If you want a detailed reason why the flag was declined, you need to raise the issue at meta.superuser.com To see if your flag was actually declined, you can visit superuser.com/users/flag-summary/current and see if they left a message.
    – Mark Kirby
    May 26, 2020 at 11:44
  • @MarkKirby "declined - a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it". But my question here on meta is more generally: How to suggest properly a duplicates swap to the community? Should it be a meta post for each duplicate swap? Should it be a mod flag? (probably not) Something else?
    – Basj
    May 26, 2020 at 11:56
  • FYI, usually the newer question is marked as the duplicate of the older one. I've never seen a time where it was vice versa, and I doubt that it may change. In this case I don't think that either questions are duplicate. May 26, 2020 at 12:02
  • I can't find a hard guideline on this, my first thought is to flag it like you did, then take it to the per site meta. One other option could be to ask for a merger at per site meta, taking the best question and adding all the answers to it from both post but that requires an exact duplicate. Here is an FAQ on duplicates but it does not cover this exact situation meta.stackexchange.com/questions/10841/…
    – Mark Kirby
    May 26, 2020 at 12:04
  • @mindstormsboi usually yes, but I found 1500 instances on Meta.SE alone where this happened: data.stackexchange.com/meta.stackexchange/query/1243430/…
    – Glorfindel Mod
    May 26, 2020 at 12:32
  • 7
    @mindstormsboi There's no rule. You want the better question to be the primary, regardless. Sometimes it can take a while to realize that there's a duplicate and if the newer question is more up-to-date and clearer and more generally useful, that should be the primary question.
    – Catija
    May 26, 2020 at 12:33
  • I don't understand how duplicate swap is even controversial? To me B is a duplicate of A iff A precedes B. Timestamp is everything, no?
    – Graviton
    May 27, 2020 at 12:36
  • @Graviton To me B is a duplicate of A iff A precedes B. No, really no. IMHO the whole principle of SO is to build a collaborative knowledge base, so at the end, what is important is content quality, not datetime of creation. If an old question is poorly written, and a new question is better, then I think it's better to have the old question as a duplicate of the new one, which becomes the "primary" question.
    – Basj
    May 27, 2020 at 13:42
  • @Basj, interesting, but is it a known convention?
    – Graviton
    May 28, 2020 at 8:03
  • @Graviton I think I have read this at multiple places since years but I don't have a precise reference in mind. But it makes sense: finally what is important is the content quality, the knowledge base as a whole, the usefulness for future users. Personal considerations ("I was first, so my question should not be a duplicate!") is not really important for the community / the knowledge base; so I think usefulness for the community and quality content has to come first.
    – Basj
    May 28, 2020 at 8:12

1 Answer 1


In general, if your flag was declined and you still feel you were correct, the next step is to go to the meta site and explain the situation just like you did here - this is the case for most issues, not only duplicates. Open a discussion about whether the two are truly duplicates, whether they're duped in the correct order, and get some people on meta discussing it.

  • If people don't agree, they'll explain why they feel the current way is correct.
  • If they agree, they'll add support to your argument.

Remember that things like the title and body of the master question can always be edited (within reason) so focus more on the value of the answers and less on the question. In some (rare) cases, it may be appropriate to merge the two. If there are solutions that only work for Vista and not other Windows OS builds, then the solution may be removing the duplicate entirely.

  • Thanks for these ideas. The case is present quite often for which a swap would be benefitial (sidenote: I agree with your previous comment "You want the better question to be the primary, regardless"). Having to start a new meta post for each case is a little bit overkill, isn't there a more flexible way to suggest the swap?
    – Basj
    May 26, 2020 at 14:59
  • Not at all. Meta posts aren't ... overkill? Heck, I ask more meta questions than main site questions. :P Always have. I feel like people think that Meta is ... I don't know... for serious issues only... but... this is exactly the sort of thing that meta is great for! If you talk about it in specific cases a few times, you know how to handle more general cases in the future! It's how sites learn and grow.
    – Catija
    May 26, 2020 at 15:02
  • And be mentally prepared for downvotes (on the local meta site). May 27, 2020 at 11:46

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