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From the main meta site, I clicked on the question "How to export my favorite questions on stack-exchange as pdf? [duplicate]" and it immediately opened "Save the answer in PDF?". This is the first time this ever happened to me. (Usually it goes to the question I clicked, not to its duplicate.)

I thought this was a new "feature," so I tried it again. On the main meta page, I clicked "Changes in Mathematics Stack Exchange? [duplicate]", expecting to be immediately redirected to "Updates to the site". But it went to the question I clicked, not to its duplicate.

I then noticed that I was not logged in to site. After I logged in, whenever I click a question on the main meta site, I am no longer automatically redirected to the duplicate.

My question is: while I was logged out of the site, why did clicking one question redirect to its duplicate, while clicking on another question did not redirect to its duplicate?

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  • $\begingroup$ I just tried it again and was able to duplicate what I said above. (I logged out, then clicked question 20093 from the main meta site and was automatically redirected to question 15163. I clicked question 20078 but was not automatically redirected to question 20047.) When I logged in again, no automatic redirection happens. $\endgroup$ – Joel Reyes Noche Mar 28 '15 at 13:34
  • $\begingroup$ I think this happened to me once with meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/19680/… I was looking for an example of a stylistic imposition for the question about editing other people's answers, but decided to go with something else for my example. $\endgroup$ – Robert Soupe Apr 3 '15 at 2:39
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The difference is due to the fact that the latter question has an answer (no redirect), while the former does not have one (redirect).

The rationale for this feature, added in spring 2012, is documented on the MSE feature request that lead to it Automatically redirect anonymous user from unanswered duplicate question to corresponding answered version

As explained there if one wants to disable the redirect one can add ?noredirect=1 to the URL. This is also and even especially relevant for migrations as there (normal) users are also redirected when logged in, and/or one might want to check the original on a site where one does not have an account.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. Is this true for all StackExchange sites? Do you know when this was first implemented? $\endgroup$ – Joel Reyes Noche Mar 28 '15 at 13:38
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, this is the case on all sites, it appears it was implemented about three years ago. See the time-stamps on the relevant feature-request on MSE. $\endgroup$ – quid Mar 28 '15 at 13:40
  • $\begingroup$ Wow, thanks for the link. $\endgroup$ – Joel Reyes Noche Mar 28 '15 at 13:41
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    $\begingroup$ You are welcome. I moved the info into the answer and added the way how one can disable it. $\endgroup$ – quid Mar 28 '15 at 13:47
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    $\begingroup$ In my original idea this feature would not be active for users coming from a link inside SE, but that is not how it was actually implemented. This can be rather confusing, but fortunately those cases are very rare. I have some hope that future fixes to the login system will make those cases even rarer if one can stay logged in everywhere more easily. $\endgroup$ – Mad Scientist Mar 28 '15 at 15:06

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