Currently questions closed as duplicate are what I will refer to as singly linked. A link appears on top of the closed duplicate question pointing to the original question. Nothing is added to the original question. Sometimes the duplicate question has useful answers and comments. By definition, we marked it as duplicate because we think the question itself has useful terminology and wording that is helpful for future searches.

I propose that whenever a question is closed as a duplicate, a link should be added to the original question pointing to the duplicates. This would only be viable if it was an automatic process and did not require any suer intervention beyond simply voting to close the question as a duplication. Obviously some question may have a lot of duplicates so this list would need to be dynamic, realizable, sortable, and possibly searchable. The idea would be to allow a new user to easily find all the knowledge on the site about the question.

Maybe this is better for the main SO meta, but I haven't really thought about how this scales by a couple of orders of magnitude.

  • I think this is a Stack Exchange-level issue, not anything we can accomplish on our end.
    – aeismail
    Commented Apr 29, 2013 at 13:47
  • 1
    @aeismail I agree, many feature requests are, but they need to be discussed someplace.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Apr 29, 2013 at 15:36
  • I agree. However, the issue is that anything involving automation is not going to get anywhere in this forum, because we don't have any means of making those changes ourselves.
    – aeismail
    Commented Apr 29, 2013 at 20:31
  • You can absolutely bring this up here; just because it affects more than just your site doesn't mean you have to bring the initial discussion to Meta Stack Overflow. Individual site metas get monitored, too - sometimes things start out on a small meta, then get moved to MSO for a more high-profile discussion, but sometimes we implement things that were brought up on a smaller site without any broader community discussion.
    – Laura
    Commented May 3, 2013 at 19:16
  • 1
    Marking this as a bug; the Linked sidebar should provide this functionality, but as Charles points out it isn't doing so in some cases.
    – Shog9
    Commented May 30, 2013 at 20:56

3 Answers 3


Fixed in build rev 2013.7.9.824


My first thought is "that sounds like a lot of work".

My second thought is, "what's the point?" The whole point of marking something as duplicate is so that all the answers are in one spot. If you see a duplicate that has a particularly good answer, flag it and we can merge it back to the original question.

I guess I'm missing why we would want to do this.

EDIT: I misread the question; it specified an automatic process.

I'm still on the fence about this request, as I'm not convinced of the added benefit. Questions closed as duplicates should not have answers. If there's a particularly useful answer, it should be merged in, but that should be the rare occasion. For all other duplicates, it's simply a rewording of the original question, left there to increase search term visibility, that's it. I don't see what value this would add to the user looking for answers to his question.

  • 1
    Sampling our top 10, by votes, duplicate questions reveals that there are on average 2 answers per duplicate (max of 5 answers) with only 2 questions not having any answers. I don't know how to quickly judge whether these answers are "particularly useful" or not but the quantity of answers suggests that useful answers will not be rare.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Apr 29, 2013 at 17:36
  • 1
    I am with Daniel on this. A lot of questions might get answers before they're flagged as duplicates, and the answers can be useful information, that might not fit so well in the "other" question.
    – aeismail
    Commented Apr 29, 2013 at 20:30
  • @aeismail: I don't think questions have a definable equivalence relation; it's entirely possible that X and Y are sufficiently similar that it would be better to have one common question Z that answers both, and yet for good answers for X to be poor answers for Y and vice versa. Even if a good Z could be written so that good answers to Z would also be good answers to X and Y, unless or until that happens people are apt to write answers that are more suitable just for X or just for Y.
    – supercat
    Commented Jan 21, 2015 at 18:34

So it seems there is a bit of this feature already. For instance, if you look at Why should the scientific community avoid double submissions?, you can see that Can we send our research paper to multiple journals at once?, which was closed as a duplicate of the first question, appears in the "Linked" box, even though I can't see any explicit link to it.

Same thing for Publishing Same Research Paper on a National Conference as well as International IEEE conference and My paper was accepted in Springer International Conference and National conference. What to do?.

However, it does not seem to be fully automatic, since it does not happen for How can I determine whether a conference is reputable? and What are the good indicators of fake conferences?.

I am not sure to understand the process behind it, but in any case, you can always manually insert a link to a duplicate question from the "original one" as you see fit.

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