As a foreword:

I am not asking for the small "delete" button in the post's menu options to be invisible to the post author during duplicate closure, only the large, red "Delete question" button in the post notice.

I'm the author of a question that was closed as a duplicate. Shameful, I know.

The post notices for closure feature an "Edit question" button that's visible to >2k users (or an "Improve question" button visible to <2k users,) as well as a "Delete question" button that's visible only to the post author.

Screen snip of a post notice from the point of view of a post author

While the guidance to ask a new question is language I disagree with, that's not the purpose of this post (and is also covered by this request.) I take issue with the "Delete question" button's visibility/ease of use when the question was closed as a duplicate of another.

To me, this is a big, red, "I messed up, get rid of it all!" button that's in plain view of the post author when they already feel a tad down that they had posted a duplicate, and might feel that their question is unwanted if it has allocated a few downvotes.

Duplicate question deletion (when the closed question is of a reasonable quality) is already frowned upon in general. Per the FAQ on Duplicate question handling:

Should duplicates be deleted?

In general, no: most duplicates stay around. Having multiple copies of the same question with different wording is useful as search fodder, because people looking for an answer may use different wording too.

And in the Help Center's guidance on duplicates...

Some duplicate questions may eventually be deleted, but often they are left as a signpost pointing people towards the canonical answer to that question.

I think it's pretty set in stone that, generally speaking, duplicate question deletion is the road less traveled... And for good reason!

I feel as though this button's visibility increases the odds that a post author might feel like they should delete their question, which is counter-intuitive to overall question visibility. We want those duplicate targets seen, and these can still be decent signposts!

There are a few requests, like this one, that request a notice be sent to authors of duplicate questions upon attempted deletion. While this request is similar in nature (in that less deletion of decent quality duplicates = good,) I'm focusing on a singular button's visibility within the post notice. The reasoning is the same, though.

Attempting to click on the "Delete question" button immediately asks for confirmation, then allows me to delete the question single-handedly. I feel as though this is counter-intuitive to site health and question visibility.

Now, you might be thinking...

But the post author can just maneuver to the post menu, click "delete", and handle the deletion of their question anyway!

That functionality has been around for a very long time, and is not the issue I'm attempting to tackle here. During duplicate question closure, the focus in the post notice should be upon three things:

  1. The duplicate target (for obvious reasons)
  2. The guidance for the post author on what happened, and what to do next
  3. The ability for the post author (and others) to edit the question should they disagree with this closure

Featuring the "Delete question" button within duplicate closure specifically is less ideal than within regular closure.

The Proposal

When a question is closed as a duplicate, remove the quick-access "Delete question" button from view of the post author within the post notice.

  • 2
    Somewhat related: meta.stackexchange.com/q/349479/334566
    – PM 2Ring
    Jul 14 '20 at 16:50
  • Sometime, at least on math.se, a question may be closed as a duplicate, but also qualifies for the custom close reason of lacking context and details. On math.se, such questions are often what we call "Problem statement questions" or PSQ's, which read like an exercise in a textbook. Just because another, better question was asked regarding the PSQ, doesn't mean the PSQ should remain as a duplicate. So, at least on math.se, not all posts closed as duplicates are equal, and too many such PSQ duplicates merely clutter the site. Hence, in this case, deletion ought to remain an option.
    – amWhy
    Jul 15 '20 at 1:02
  • 2
    @amWhy Sure, but I would argue that sort of decision would still remain up to the curators of the site, who would know best (and also cannot see this button in the post notice anyway.) I see no benefit of featuring the delete option in the post notice to the post author, unless the post author were similarly knowledgeable or otherwise involved in regular question curation. In most other cases, a post author deleting their closed-as-dupe question isn't ideal. I'm not saying deletion still isn't an option for such questions, I'm merely lessening its visibility to newer question askers.
    – Spevacus
    Jul 15 '20 at 1:19
  • Thanks for the clarification, @Spevacus. I should have read the Proposal more carefully. Indeed. I agree with you suggestion.
    – amWhy
    Jul 15 '20 at 2:04
  • Well hey, glad I could clear it up for you. :)
    – Spevacus
    Jul 15 '20 at 2:09

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