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I just tried casting a delete vote on a question. I was given an error because the question was a target of a duplicate closure. In addition, the question closed as a duplicate was later merged with its dupe target. So we end up in a situation where the merge stub can't be deleted because it is locked, and the dupe/merge target can't be deleted because it has a linked duplicate.

I have to guess it's a fairly small number of questions that have been merged with a duplicate target which is then closed and is delete-worthy, but thought I'd report it anyway.

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    Flag it for moderator attention and ask a moderator to delete it for you. Nov 3, 2023 at 22:15
  • Honestly wasn't too bothered about deleting the question. It was a 12 year old request for a tutorial on SO, but it garnered a half-decent answer or two with code, not links. I was more curious about whether this was an oversight or what...
    – miken32
    Nov 3, 2023 at 23:20
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    @RobertLongson Moderators are also prevented from deleting duplicate targets - they have to fix those before deleting. Nov 4, 2023 at 1:21
  • @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog worst case the moderator escalates it to the CM team and they get a developer to delete it. Nov 4, 2023 at 6:10
  • Without links to the affected questions, it's considerably harder for someone else to investigate this.
    – Makyen
    Nov 4, 2023 at 16:52
  • @Makyen there is the stub; as I said I don't think the answer warrants deletion, just was curious about the total inability to delete a question.
    – miken32
    Nov 4, 2023 at 16:55
  • I'd expect this is intentional (i.e., status-bydesign). I'd assume the merge-stub is retained in order to be search engine fodder. While I haven't verified it, I'd expect the merge-stub to auto-forward to the merge-target, similar to how a duplicate auto-forwards to the dup-target when there aren't any answers. Yes, if the merge-target (dup-target) is actually off-topic, then deleting it later is an exception. If you feel they all should be deleted, then raise and "in need of moderator intervention" flag and explain, so the human exception handlers (i.e., moderators) can handle it.
    – Makyen
    Nov 4, 2023 at 17:00
  • That said, I don't see why it was merged, given that both non-deleted answers appear to have been posted on the target question in the first place. @Makyen Are there deleted answers that were merged into the target? Nov 4, 2023 at 22:42
  • @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog Yes.
    – Makyen
    Nov 5, 2023 at 0:01
  • @Makyen So the point of the merge was to move the deleted answers from the first question to the second? If that's the case, I don't see the point of the merge, given that the whole point of merging questions is to move valuable answers from one question to the other (the relevant paragraph was edited in by an SO moderator). Were the deleted answers deleted after the merge? If not, why was the merge still done? Nov 5, 2023 at 0:08
  • @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog It doesn't, currently, seem worth the time to investigate. A choice was made to merge. Choices were made to delete answers. A cursory look doesn't reveal anything to indicate that there's a need to be triple-guessing these actions with the benefit of hindsight.
    – Makyen
    Nov 5, 2023 at 0:49

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