I was just asked to review a question that was posted in 2010, and that has now been closed as a duplicate of a more recent post (this was closed in favour of this).

Is it normal and/or accepted for an older post to be closed as a duplicate in favour of a newer one, or was this just a mistake on the part of those voting?

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    As one of the people who voted to close the older question, I thought that the newer question was a more general form; that is, the answer Asaf provided to the new question also answered the older one, but also provided other possibilities. But: PLEASE don't reopen the old question without closing the new one! One of the two questions needs to be closed (because it's obvious they should be connected as "duplicate" in some direction), and it would be dumb to reopen the old one and leave the new one open, too. – apnorton Jul 29 '14 at 17:56
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    Possible duplicate of An older question was closed as a duplicate of a newer one – Jonas Meyer Nov 4 '15 at 2:38
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    @JonasMeyer You have suggested to closed this as a duplicate of this question. The other question is not about the general issue, but about discussing one particular instance. (See the tags and this comment by the OP.) This is why I think that the two questions are not duplicates. (We should distinguish posts about a specific question and posts about a general issue.) – Martin Sleziak Nov 6 '15 at 6:37
  • @MartinSleziak: Good point. Thank you. – Jonas Meyer Nov 6 '15 at 17:56
up vote 12 down vote accepted

Yes, it is perfectly acceptable to mark an older post as a duplicate of a newer one. The duplicate banner is a road sign for future readers; it should point to the best answer(s) available, be they under the older or newer version of the question.

(The above is meant as an answer in general, not for the specific situation).

If you think that the direction of duplicate link should be reversed, flag for moderator attention and explain why.

  • That makes sense... although in a case like this, where the original post has more answers than the new one, surely it should be the other way round... or at list both answers should cross-reference each other – Mathmo123 Jul 29 '14 at 17:22
  • @Mathmo123 I expanded the answer. – user147263 Jul 29 '14 at 17:26
  • If this is how it is supposed to go - fine. Directing the readers to best answers is clearly a good idea. I have just always felt that marking a question as a duplicate is first and foremost a signal to the asker (you should search the site before asking) and to the answerers (you lazy bums) who should first take a look at the older copy, then decide whether they can add something of value, and only then type an answer. I don't know what the philosophy is elsewhere on SE network. Basically posting this comment as there may be something I need to learn here. – Jyrki Lahtonen Nov 6 '15 at 21:31
  • @JyrkiLahtonen Directing (potential) hundreds or thousands of users correctly should probably take priority over sending a message to 1 or 2 users; a message that can be sent in a comment too.. Besides, answerers may never even notice that the question was closed as a duplicate, or if they notice, they don't care: the upvotes are still their to keep. – user147263 Nov 6 '15 at 22:06

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