On the 22nd of October 2015, I asked a question. Nearly 2 months later, someone asked a similar question. The question had already been answered in my original post, so it makes sense that the second question would be marked as duplicate.

3 years later...

1 hour ago, my question was marked duplicate to the second one, despite both being asked first and already being answered. I'm interested to know why this would be approached in this manner.

  • 7
    Without delving too deeply into the context of this particular case, we had a discussion a while ago about using question and answer quality rather than which came 'first' as the deciding factor of which is a 'duplicate' or not, so that's where this comes from. Now, there may be an argument to be made that your question is 'better' than the other one, or even not a duplicate entirely, I'm not sure, I just wanted to let you know it's not a 'random' duplication but a choice made by the close voters based on perceived quality
    – Robotnik Mod
    Jul 10, 2019 at 6:54
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    FWIW we've had this discussion over on SFF quite a lot (usually to do with id questions) and the outcome is always vote to close for the "better quality" question to be the target and ignore the age of the posts. I'm glad the same is being done here, age is an arbitrary factor and whilst quality is subjective it does give a better outcome. Jul 10, 2019 at 10:56
  • This is the third meta post my actions have spawned in only a little over a week. I wonder what that means ...
    – pppery
    Jul 10, 2019 at 19:42
  • @pppery It's just because you're going into older questions and usually that doesn't happen. You're not doing anything wrong, people are just curious if there are system things in place that they don't know about.
    – FoxMcCloud
    Jul 10, 2019 at 20:46
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    @Robotnik As per the top-voted answer on the meta post you linked to, "the first question to reach [two upvotes] should be treated as the 'master' question and all others closed as a duplicate of that question." OP's question was the first to have an answer with two upvotes. I think the duplicate closure should be the other way around. Jul 12, 2019 at 9:49
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    @galacticninja Calling it "top voted" is fairly misleading, that answer only has a score of 3, compared to the question's 22. It is by no means a consensus. Jul 13, 2019 at 13:52
  • @Wrigglenite Well, it is the top-voted answer, literally. I'm not sure how that's misleading. I didn't say it was a consensus. What I like about that answer, is that it agrees with the question post while providing an objective criteria on which question should be the dupe and which should be the original. This avoids subjective arguments like this meta post here on which question is "better." In this particular case, I don't see how the newer question is "better" than the older one. I share OP's confusion on the dupe closure. Jul 13, 2019 at 18:52
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    @galacticninja Wrigglenite's point is correct, especially since that answer now only ties for top score. Furthermore, following a purely objective rule like that can lead to absurd results, like a question with an up to date answer being closed as a duplicate of a question whose top answer says "this answer is outdated".
    – pppery
    Jul 13, 2019 at 21:28
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    That answer has now been usurped as top-voted by an answer posted yesterday. There is clearly no consensus for a purely objective rule like that, and following it has lead to absurdities.
    – pppery
    Jul 14, 2019 at 22:11

1 Answer 1


It seems pretty clear to me that this answer is better than either of the answers at your question. As such, we'd rather encourage people to go to to the question with that answer rather than to the question without it.

If we made the other question a duplicate of your question, then people going to your question would never see the best answer.

Perhaps it should be obvious, but I'll state it anyway: you did nothing wrong. It's not your fault that the best answer was put on the other question. Perhaps in an ideal world, the second question would have been recognized as a dupe immediately (before any answers were posted). Then the person who posted the best answer might have posted a similar response to your question. But we're imperfect and did not do that. As someone who was reviewing on the site at that time, I apologize. We failed in our review and left it to someone else to fix our mistake, incidentally causing you to get stepped on.

  • I think the reassuring part of this answer is the "you did nothing wrong part." There's a stigma around getting your question marked as a dupe, and this is a case where I feel that shouldn't be applied.
    – David
    Jul 14, 2019 at 2:23
  • I was under the impression that merging questions was the solution in that case.
    – forest
    Jul 23, 2019 at 7:11

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