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From What is a "merged" question?:

If the merge stub is later deleted, the asker will lose the reputation they earned from it unless it had a score of at least 3 and was visible for at least 60 days (the normal criteria for reputation retention).

Since a merged question is locked and cannot be deleted by the author, then when and how can a merged question be deleted?

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The stub of a merged question can be deleted by an elected or pro-tem moderator, or a staff member.

As an elected and pro-tem moderator I have done this on a few occasions when the stub provides a poor signpost to the question it was merged with. Ideally, the question would have a negative net score and the deletion would be in response to a flag but that might not always be the case.

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    It's worth noting that many mods prefer that users not raise flags to ask for merge stubs to be deleted - I had added in this text in the FAQ originally, but an SO mod edited it out claiming it's an invalid use of flags. Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 3:56
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    @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog I suspect that may be only an SO or largest site mods only preference. We delete few questions and a flag can let us know when there’s something that looks like it needs review. I decline invalid flags but I think these usually look valid.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 4:10

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