Thanks to the responses from users in one of my recent meta question, I have discovered that having questions flagged as duplicates isn't always a bad thing. It's in fact a good way of adding new keywords and diagnostic information to potentially make a problem easier to find.

Ironically, however, my most recent question to date (Biblatex and Beamer and IEEE problems) was a perfect example of a duplicate solution so narrowly described in the original question, that it never appeared in my searches, so rather than delete it, I linked it to the duplicate, and voted to close. Unfortunately, in the confirming votes to close it, some bad advice was offered with someone adding a link to a 100% unrelated question.

Now because I can't edit this, I am debating whether I should delete the question because the addition of this link reduces the usefulness of this duplicate as a way of accepting more keywords to direct a future user to the solution they need.

  • 1
    i've pinged one of the moderators on the chat, asking him to take a look. that's always an option in a case like this. your comment at the head of the question text is a good warning to readers. Jun 24, 2016 at 17:56
  • @barbarabeeton Thanks, I am not an active member in chat, but pinging a moderator in chat sounds like the appropriate answer to me. Few questions: 1) I did a quick search, but I didn't see anything about a generic @+moderator address to let the appropriate moderators see this; 2) Do flags with custom explanations go to the TeX moderators directly, or to the SO moderators?
    – EngBIRD
    Jun 24, 2016 at 18:05
  • i think those flags go to the tex moderators, but i'm not certain. Jun 24, 2016 at 18:08
  • @EngBIRD: Flags with custom explanations go to site-specific moderators, since it may contain local content.
    – Werner Mod
    Jun 25, 2016 at 15:23
  • @EngBIRD: So your concern here is that someone closed the question as a duplicate of an unrelated question, and now it sits in the question header? And, ideally, you'd like to remove this unrelated question?
    – Werner Mod
    Jun 25, 2016 at 15:24
  • @werner I voted to close my own question and provided a link to the true solution, rather than just accumulating the necessary number of agreed, let's close, votes, someone added a link to a question that was unrelated, certainly not duplicate. I would like to remove the link to the second duplicate if the moderator that was pinged in chat hasn't allready taken care of it
    – EngBIRD
    Jun 25, 2016 at 23:16
  • @EngBIRD: So you want to remove the link to the MacTeX question and keep only the "Compiling documents online" reference?
    – Werner Mod
    Jun 26, 2016 at 6:05
  • @werner other way around. The Mac tex question is actually just poorly named. It solves the problem so I am leaving my duplicate as a visible path to the solution.
    – EngBIRD
    Jun 26, 2016 at 14:30
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    OK now? I've reopen-close cycled
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Jun 27, 2016 at 17:40
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    @EngBIRD I've changed the title of the (now former) MacTeX question to be more appropriate.
    – Alan Munn
    Jun 27, 2016 at 17:43

1 Answer 1


Option 1

From the perspective of the community, the Stack Exchange system (or interface) allows for correcting this:

  1. Cast enough re-open votes to remove any closure statements from the post.

  2. Re-cast close-votes using the appropriate duplicate.

I would further suggest that the process could be sped up when collaborating with the folks in chat. There are typically enough users hanging around with vote-to-re-open and vote-to-close privileges.

Option 2

Contact a moderator (in chat, if needed) and request the change. They can unilaterally re-open and subsequently close the question as a duplicate.

Leaving the post as-is with two references to possible duplicates together with a comment about one of them being incorrect solves the problem at the source (to some extent). However, it doesn't fix the problem at the duplicate targets, as they will still link back to your post.

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