39

I was browsing SO today when I stumbled across these two questions:
https://stackoverflow.com/questions/3057475/php-pi-help-loops-closed
https://stackoverflow.com/questions/3059533/php-pi-help-loops

So, both questions are closed.* The problem? Each questions is closed as a duplicate of the other; within one minute of each other (they were both closed "8 minutes ago" when I first checked).

Can we add a feature to detect this and prevent a circular Close as Duplicate like this?

Better yet, prevent newer questions than the current one from showing up in the Close as Duplicate list.

*As of 2010/06/17 18:32 UTC the first question is now reopened and the second deleted.

10
  • I voted to reopen the first one.
    – user50049
    Jun 17, 2010 at 17:44
  • 4
    Such a vicious cycle, that took mere seconds to perfect! I'm in awe.
    – user50049
    Jun 17, 2010 at 17:46
  • @mmyers: Good point, I should add that, too.
    – Powerlord
    Jun 17, 2010 at 18:16
  • 1
    Um... no, R. Bemrose, you shouldn't add that. Voting to close a question as itself, or attempting to at least, yields "No eligible question found with that id." or "No eligible question found at that url."
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Jun 17, 2010 at 18:46
  • 4
    Yeah, don't think I haven't tried.
    – mmyers
    Jun 17, 2010 at 18:46
  • 4
    Isn't this what Stack Overflow is all about?
    – mmx
    Jun 17, 2010 at 19:45
  • 4
    +1 This situation is sub-optimal, mildly speaking. See these two: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2051/… ./. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/13065/… - Both questions high-voted bugs, both closed, none resolved. Very annoying.
    – Tomalak
    Jun 28, 2010 at 14:56
  • 1
    Searched for this question, couldn't find it. So I ended up asking a duplicate. Then someone duplicated my duplicate. Next thing I know, Chris Nolan's on the phone. sigh Recursion, strange loop, mobius, self-referencing, mutual. Aug 19, 2010 at 2:14
  • Better yet, prevent newer questions than the current one from showing up in the Close as Duplicate list. +1!
    – Synetech
    Oct 19, 2013 at 13:25
  • 1
    It amuses me that this is closed as a duplicate of a regression of the same bug introduced 3 years later.
    – Powerlord
    Dec 18, 2014 at 20:52

4 Answers 4

14

This will be included in the next build. At the obvious level, you can't link two posts directly just to each-other. It does get a little bit more subtle/complex when the chain is non-trivial, and/or multiple posts have been suggested as duplicate targets. In that case, it is sufficient that at least one non-circular path exists. To be honest, most times you'll never need to see this subtlety.

1
  • 1
    Awwwwwwwwwwwww.
    – badp
    Sep 1, 2011 at 13:44
19

Better yet, prevent newer questions than the current one from showing up in the Close as Duplicate list.

No, please don't do that. Sometimes, the better question is the newer one. Sometimes, the older question didn't get any answers, possibly because it was written/tagged poorly and no one found it.

In this case of course, both questions sucked. And were posted by the same user. Within half a day of each other. It shouldn't surprise anyone that this ended badly...

4
  • 1
    That both were closed isn't a surprise; my issue was mainly with the close reasons.
    – Powerlord
    Jun 17, 2010 at 18:29
  • 1
    I forgot to mention, when I wrote that part of this question, it was because of the description of exact duplicate, which is "This question covers exactly the same ground as earlier questions on this topic; its answers may be merged with another identical question." emphasis added by me.
    – Powerlord
    Jun 17, 2010 at 18:30
  • 1
    @RBemrose: yeah, and generally that's the proper course of action... But, occasionally, the opposite is more appropriate.
    – Shog9
    Jun 17, 2010 at 18:39
  • Sometimes, the better question is the newer one. Sometimes, the older question didn't get any answers, possibly because it was written/tagged poorly and no one found it. Or because it was asked too early. The original asker shouldn’t be punished for being ahead of the curve; the answers from the newer question should be merged into the older question. That way the original asker gets credit for having a good question and the newer one gets nothing for not searching. -1!
    – Synetech
    Oct 19, 2013 at 13:27
2

As a workaround to this I'll put a comment in the one that I vote to close explaining why I voted for that particular one and not the other. Usually it's because one doesn't have answers already and the other does. This is on SF, though, where the close velocity is admittedly much slower than on SO.

0

In this particular case the outcome was completely appropriate. The only thing better would have been to close then both as NARQ.

4
  • There is some logic to say that if some people say “NARQ” and others say “Dupe” then the question gets marked as a dupe. Migration to another site is also like that. Jun 17, 2010 at 20:31
  • 1
    @Don Majority wins, no?
    – Rosinante
    Jun 17, 2010 at 21:51
  • I don't think it does. I've seen cases where I was voting to close where there were already three NARQ votes (and I think I voted that too; I forget exactly) and one move-it vote, and the question got moved when I voted to close. I may have mis-remembered of course. :-) Jun 18, 2010 at 8:22
  • The ultimate outcome, where one question is deleted, was brought about by moderator intervention. It doesn't address the root problem of SO allowing circular exact duplicate closes.
    – Powerlord
    Jun 18, 2010 at 17:23

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .