Now that we have moderators we can merge duplicated questions. If a question is closed as a duplicate, should it be automatic that the questions be merged? Should there be a delay of a day or so to allow for anyone to protest (and/or vote to reopen)? If it has a vote to reopen, presumably it shouldn't be automatically merged.

We have about a few current cases where questions have been closed as duplicates:

  1. Using LaTeX, how can I restate a theorem, with the same theorem number, later in a paper?
  2. Filter .bib file for items that are actually used with \cite?
  3. What are the most popular LaTeX packages?
  4. Are there any other packages defined to create a CV except the "moderncv" package?
  5. Class for Curriculum Vitae
  6. Is there a makefile system for LaTeX, etc?

(I may have missed some!)

  • Some of the examples do not need to be merged, because they do not contain any answers that aren't already in the older question.
    – Caramdir
    Commented Aug 17, 2010 at 15:53
  • How does merging work in this respect? Do the answers to both questions get kept? I'm not familiar with the process.
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Commented Aug 17, 2010 at 17:03
  • @Joseph Wright: I believe that both sets of answers are kept, but only one question. I read somewhere on meta.SO that it was very obvious what happened when you were actually doing it so if there's an obvious candidate for a merge perhaps one of us should do it and write up the procedure for the rest. Commented Aug 17, 2010 at 21:05
  • @Caramdir: In which case maybe the duplicate should simply be deleted. I'm not sure. Commented Aug 17, 2010 at 21:05
  • Is we want a 'suitable' test case, how about tex.stackexchange.com/questions/1560/…? There is only one answer there, so the danger of loosing material would be minimised.
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Commented Aug 18, 2010 at 19:17

3 Answers 3


I'd say we should presume that dups will be merged after a 'suitable' delay. So the question is what is 'suitable'. I'd say at least 48 hours, provided there are no reopen votes.

  • I agree with such a suitable delay.
    – Stefan Kottwitz Mod
    Commented Aug 17, 2010 at 15:58

It serves a purpose to keep closed, duplicate questions lying around: it makes the questions easier to find the next time a would-be duplicate question is being composed, with more good search fits, more "slots" in the possibly related list, and several alternative phrasings of the question title.

On SO, duplicates are rarely deleted or merged.

  • 1
    Having duplicate questions also precludes having a "best" answer to a question (which is what SO is all about) and there would be two or more "good-ish" ones. I would rather have a single answer to a specific question, even if I have to tweak the search a few times. Commented Aug 18, 2010 at 20:26
  • @mindcorrosive: Only one question is not closed, with all others linking to this question, so that one is marked out as better than the others. Commented Aug 19, 2010 at 6:20

I do not know if it is possible but it seems to me that the best way when it is relevant is perhaps that a moderator edit slightly the oldest question (i.e. the one having answers I hope) with elements of the duplicate that would have been helpful for newcomers to find in the first place ?

It could increase the quality of the site and reduce clutter at the same time.

There may be disadvantages regarding the scoring and feedback system.

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