Duplicate questions that use different words to describe the same problem are important for people to find the content via search engines. But I doubt that search engines add redirecting pages to their index. So such duplicate questions are not searchable. Anonymous users can't even reach them.

OK, pages with duplicate questions can be served to Web crawlers without redirects. I could imagine this being problematic with search engines, as we would be displaying different content than what the search engines see. It is called cloaking and violates Google's terms.

I vote against this anti-feature.

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  • 7
    This partly plagiarises the 2012 post, e.g., near "I could imagine this being problematic". Please don't do that. May 14 at 10:12
  • Can you add an example of such redirects? May 14 at 10:14
  • @This_is_NOT_a_forum, Template example in C++ - this link was provided in this answer as an example of a searchable duplicate question (but it's not).
    – anton_rh
    May 14 at 10:23
  • @Justin, They are searchable. Sometimes you use different wording when searching your problem in search engine. Your wording may match some duplicate question, not the original one. You will get such duplicate question in search results and then you will follow the link to the original question which has answers.
    – anton_rh
    May 14 at 10:36
  • 2
    No, Stack Exchange is not engaging in cloaking; Google simply crawled the question back when it was open, then it was closed at some point later. If you click the cached link in Google, it will show the question as open and not yet closed. May 14 at 15:55
  • 3
    That said, I agree that it's confusing when you're directed to a question that doesn't contain any content that Google shows the question as containing. I still think the redirect is beneficial, as it only happens on questions with no answers and directs the reader to an answer to the question. I think the best way to resolve the situation is to implement a toast notification that one's been redirected along with a link to the duplicate question. May 14 at 15:59
  • @SonictheSaveUkraine-hog, who is going to be redirected if such questions are not listed by search engines? How does anonymous user get the link to such questions?
    – anton_rh
    May 14 at 16:07


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