A question of mine was suddenly "stolen" (I supposed by admin) and all my answers transferred to another question even though my question was very clearly initiated on the basis of license which is "commercially usable free graphics" and not "free graphics". No GPL or similar licences was called for in the suggestions and explicitly excluded. Only LGPL, Public Domain or any License that permits free Commercial Use was called for. That's why the original question didn't satisfy my requirements.

Furthermore this happened within the last week after the question has been running for about 8 months.

The question where mine was transferred to also has not been edited to make the licensing requirement absolutely clear.

Happiniess to all, I suppose, accept a vinilla world where free is free, or is it? Just bunch everything together called free, even if it isn't.

EDIT: Something to consider as well, a deleted question is more accessable on SO than a question merged in this way since the merged question completely dissappears.


It's inevitable that sometimes the admins will make mistakes when merging questions, in my opinion its rare, but I guess it could happen and maybe did happen in this case.

Jeff and Marc are all for leaving the hard to solve duplicates and just creating a shared tag to help connect the questions. The problem with merging is that you need a domain expert, I suspect there are very few in the area of software licensing.

See: How do we deal with octuplicate questions?

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    It's a pity as this was fouvoured by many specifically because of the license which is now all mixed up. – mm2010 Jul 27 '09 at 11:05

The trilogy is still young. Even in internet years, 11 months is not much. As far as community and policy building is concerned, anyway.

Several changes have influenced the maturing of the trilogy policies. Reaching certain momentum, the advent of SF, meta, and now SU. They all had major impact in the way things are handled.

In a way, we still are defining how to deal with questions, subjects, wiki, ...

I think you have become a victim of a good and usefull movement within the trilogy. To reduce duplication and noise, merging has been started. Many people start questions with little research about duplication, and the search functionality in the trilogy could be mildly said improved to help with that research. Questions get moved between sites and end up as duplicates.

What happens at the moment: in finding the right amount of moderation, editing, merging, policing, wikifying some go over the ditch, and sometimes they just make mistakes. Give us a chance to mature.

My recomendation - mark your question with sections like this:

I read list of questions and my question differs from these, as I emphasize on criteria.

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  • This question was posed in the early days, I will mark it in the future but there is now many that have their tidy bookmarks relocated to a mixup. – mm2010 Jul 27 '09 at 11:09

We don't go cowboy with merging; in fact, it is pretty rare I do a merge (it is dwarfed, for example, by spam removal).

Typically, a merge is done when they are stupidly identical. If you feel yours was merged inappropriately, then that is unfortunate; but sadly there isn't a lot can be done now. This is meant to be realistic rather than dismissive.

I honestly don't know who merged it; it is possible to investigate (given the surviving question number), but I don't see a huge benefit "after the fact".

Yes, losing the context is a bad thing, and is something we'd try to avoid. I also mentioned (on another recent thread) that it might be better if merge worked like migrate - i.e. it left a stub for the OP, and left the old answers deleted (and hence recoverable). But we don't have that today.

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  • Thanks for the reply - I will just accept it and slowly whimper away. :) – mm2010 Jul 28 '09 at 12:42

You may have had the best of intentions when asking your question, but if everyone reading it came away with the wrong impression you can get a set of answers that are pretty much applicable to an existing (broader) question.

Next time, if you find a question that's similar to what you're asking... or if someone else finds it and votes to close your question as a duplicate... Be proactive: link to the existing question from your own, and immediately follow up with a concise description of why your question is different, and why the answers to the existing question don't work for you.

Don't expect anyone to scan a lengthy description of your project, its history, goals, setbacks, and the pets you owned while working on it... for details that set it apart from what's already been asked. They might... but if they don't, then you're unlikely to get good answers even if your question does stay open and doesn't get merged.

(I didn't see your question, so if it was brief and to the point then just ignore the last paragraph; long stories ending with broad, duplicate questions are a common problem, with some folks seemingly unable to indicate how their question is special... even as they're arguing that it shouldn't be closed as a duplicate.)

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  • I think a very good indicator is the number of users that favourited especially if there is an existing link to the similar question already on the existing question. – mm2010 Jul 28 '09 at 12:45

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