This is a narrowly-scoped question; I'm just curious if this has been investigated quantitatively.

Background only:

I spent some substantial time and effort and love and coffee writing this answer to a question that had some close votes and was subsequently closed of an older and valid duplicate.

That all that happened is all okay with me generally; generating posts is of itself already rewarding, I'm not in it for the rep. But...

Begin actual question:

I've sometimes felt a pang of concern when a question with a good answer is closed as duplicate, my concern has been that fewer future eyes will reach that good answer due to the closed status. I currently have no basis for that concern, it is just a hunch.

Since Stack Exchange has it's data exploring SEDE tool and there are potentially outside ways to count traffic, hits, etc., I'm curious about the following:

Question: Have there been analyses to see if views of well-received answers are reduced by closure as duplicate where the analysis tries to control for other factors?

I am no expert in data analysis other than I know that it can be really hard to control for other factors, but someone skilled in the art may have tried.

Please: It's not necessary to post an answer explaining why this is hard or impossible therefore there couldn't ever have been any QED. I'm scoping this question to focus only on what has been tried. Thanks!

Advice from 2012:

  • 1
    Unfortunately, for some reason, the earlier question, despite having almost the same wording and tags, does not come up as a potential duplicate when asking the question that was closed. I have no idea why.
    – ProfRob
    Jun 26, 2021 at 10:05
  • 9
    Would your answer add value to the question that is the duplicate target over and above the existing answers? If so why not delete your answer from where it is now and then write an answer to the original question? Jun 26, 2021 at 10:08
  • 5
    @RobertLongson a better alternative is raising a costum mod flag and ask for the answer to be merged with the duplicate target. This does have a disadvantage that the original answer may need editing to fit under the new question.
    – bad_coder
    Jun 26, 2021 at 10:23
  • 1
    Worth noting that views in SEDE aren't tracked for answers specifically, just for questions, which might make this kind of analysis more difficult.
    – zcoop98
    Jun 28, 2021 at 16:14
  • If others feel your answer is a better answer then the answer at the duplicate target. People could ask a mod, or gold badge holder, to reverse the duplicate closure. Duplicate closure is intended to guide people to the best Q/A pair available. Asking to do things on a question you have an answer on is a bit tricky, as people could perceive you as biased in such case.
    – Luuklag
    Jul 12, 2021 at 7:07
  • 1
    @bad_coder I don’t think mods have the ability to just move an answer; they have to merge the entire question which defeats part of the purpose of closing questions as duplicates (making the main question more discoverable).
    – ColleenV
    Jul 12, 2021 at 10:01


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