Our Meta site has many old posts on topics that go back to the earliest days of the site in beta. Since then, many of the topics those old posts discuss have been discussed again. They're often discussed with more detail, context, and experience that came with the time that passed between the older and more recent posts.

And yet, if you do a search for a topic you'll get the old and new posts, with no indicator that the more recent one should probably be treated as the more relevant post. I propose we try to fix this by voting to close the old questions by marking them duplicates of the more recent questions.

When a question is closed as a duplicate, the site inserts this block at the top of the closed question:

This question already has an answer here:

<Duplicated question title, as clickable link>

<# of answers on duplicated question> answers

This would provide a handy link to future users pointing them from the out of date post to the more recent one.

I see several issues with this proposal.

  • We first need to find older questions that have been superseded by more recent questions, then they need to accumulate enough votes to be closed as duplicate. I think this is easily taken care of by using the Meta Review Queues. If you find one of these, just vote to close as duplicate, then that will throw it into the Review Queue for others to vote on.
  • This shouldn't necessarily be done on every time someone posts a new question on a previously-discussed topic. If a couple months ago, we decided on something in a Meta post, a new post on the same subject would bet closed as a duplicate of the months old post, barring some new information/developments/what-have-you. This is my main problem with the proposal, it breaks the traditional use of the Duplicate vote to close reason, and confuses its normal usage in the future. I'm hoping we can figure out some guidelines on this.
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  • 1
    This is meta. breaking the model shouldn't have a hugely detrimental effect (see: up/down voting on questions being under different model). So +1 from me – DVK-on-Ahch-To Oct 3 '13 at 15:53
  • 4
    Duplicates are by no means necessarily "new points to old". It is "poor points to good". Older questions tend to have gathered more (and possibly) better answers. That's why duplicates usually go into that direction, but I see no problem by closing an old question without relevance as a duplicate of a new question with relevant information. +1 – bitmask Oct 3 '13 at 16:14
  • Good idead! This could be a little messy sometimes, with important posts burried, so YES! – Bebs V Dec 12 '16 at 14:30

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