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This question is marked as a duplicate, but the linked question is on-hold. If the original question is closed, it doesn't make much sense to then link another question to it. Either the question is good and can stand on its own, or the original should be reopened.

At least in this case, the answers on the original look better to me, although the second question may be better. Is it possible to do some edits so we have one good question and answer? Or do we leave it as a duplicate linked to an on-hold question?

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  • I can't make sense of it either. – Old_Lamplighter Mar 15 '16 at 21:03
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    closed questions can be reopened - in that sense, preventing dupe closure to these would be unnecessarily complicated. Especially if you take into account that reopened question can be closed again. And after that, reopened again. Etc – gnat Mar 15 '16 at 21:23
  • @gnat, which is probably why I didn't make a feature request. But linking to a closed question seems less than useful. If the original question is reopened, then it would be fine. But if the original question is bad, linking to it seems somewhat bad too. And perhaps just something that people marking questions as a duplicate should consider. – thursdaysgeek Mar 15 '16 at 21:34
  • @JimG. Hah! And I looked to see if a question like this had been asked too! I failed. Although, I consider the answer here a better explanation. – thursdaysgeek Mar 17 '16 at 16:00
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Duplication is orthogonal to the current status of the target question. If a question is off-topic or too broad or something else close-worthy, then asking it again doesn't make it less off-topic or too broad or whatever. If they're duplicates, they should be marked as duplicates -- ideally before the newer question accumulates answers.

Questions that are on hold or closed can potentially be fixed and reopened. But if they're not they can still provide value as signposts; that's why we don't automatically delete all closed questions and duplicates. If somebody starts to ask a question that would be closed, we want a match to pop up so he'll go look at that and see that it was closed. It stinks to put in a lot of effort asking a question only to find out it couldn't have worked; if he finds it via search before writing it up, that's a win.

As for the current pair of questions, I haven't reviewed the answers, but in special cases moderators can merge questions to bring good answers together on one question. It's all-or-nothing; we can't just migrate some answers. I see several zero-score answers and a couple upvoted ones; I don't know if that's worth a merge. If somebody wants to make a pitch for it, we'll consider it.

All that said, I'm not convinced they're duplicates. One asks about the ramifications of making this kind of recommendation; the other asks how to do it.

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  • When questions are closed or put on hold, many, if not most of us simply don't vote or answer after that, so I think that the fact that there are zero-score answers shouldn't be taken into account. – Old_Lamplighter Mar 16 '16 at 13:17
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    Ok, I see your point, especially for duplicates of off-topic questions. – thursdaysgeek Mar 16 '16 at 15:33
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I knew before checking which question this would be. I originally marked this as a duplicate. I disagreed with the close votes on the original question and marked it for reopening at the same time that I marked the second question as a duplicate.

Monica explained your misconception about duplicate links to closed questions quite well. In my experience, it's much easier and faster for questions to get closed as duplicates instead of for other reasons and we want to prevent people from answering the duplicate so closing faster is better. Additionally, it prevents people from creating slightly-different duplicates over and over because it increases the odds of them stumbling on a variation that's been asked before when searching.

As for merging, that should be reserved for clear duplicates that were caught too late and where valuable answers exist on the closed question where the authors can't repost themselves. Since Marv is regular user here, you can just comment on his answer to ask him to repost it on the original question. That also allows the posters to rework their answer if necessary to fit the context of the original question.

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