Thanks to a recent comment in CRUDE, a duplicate question from a new user was found and deleted. However, I can't cast a deletion vote on its duplicate target, which has been closed and inactive for about a month, and has a negative score with no answers.

I know that in a duplicate target can't be deleted unless the duplicate is reopened or deleted. The later option has already been done, so why can't I vote to delete the former duplicate target?

(Edited in response to a comment)

The situation in the linked duplicate is different:

\begin{array}{c|c|c} & \text{linked question} & \text{this question} \\ \hline \text{duplicate target} & \text{deleted} & \text{not deleted} \\ \hline \text{duplicate} & \text{not deleted} & \text{deleted} \end{array}

I'm asking for clarification for the accepted answer in the linked question because at the moment I wrote this question, the solution in that answer failed to be applied to this situation.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Maybe it takes some time for the system to catch up. The deletion was very recent. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    May 12, 2018 at 9:57
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Deleted by a moderator – from the timing, I'd guess in response to this post. $\endgroup$ May 12, 2018 at 13:13
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of Duplicate of a deleted question $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    May 13, 2018 at 0:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @amWhy No, the linked post has an existing duplicate pointing to a deleted target, which is odd. I'm asking for deleting a former duplicate target after deleting its duplicate. They are different processes. $\endgroup$ May 13, 2018 at 1:12
  • $\begingroup$ The answer there answers your question. You maybe didn't wait long enough. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    May 13, 2018 at 1:13
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy You're simply repeating the first comment, which is not included in the accepted answer of the linked post. $\endgroup$ May 13, 2018 at 1:15
  • $\begingroup$ The system works as in the linked post. That you may not have waited long enough to let it work is simply common sense, and perhaps due to impatience. And why in such a rush to delete questions, anyway? $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    May 13, 2018 at 1:17
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy Therefore, this is a legitimate question about the working of the SE duplicate and deletion system. Please assume users have good intentions for their actions. Again, the insufficient waiting time is not addressed in the answer in your linked question. That's a follow-up question on that answer. $\endgroup$ May 13, 2018 at 1:26

1 Answer 1


The question got deleted shortly after the post (by a moderator).

This further supports my hypothesis formulated in a comment that the system only needed some time to catch up on the deletion. (Note that moderators are not exempt from that deletion-block either, see the question linked in comments Duplicate of a deleted question, thus the fact that a moderator deleted does not undermine this theory too much.)

Thus, my tentative answer to the question is: you could not delete it because the system had not yet realized it is not a duplicate target of a non-deleted post anymore.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ From the timestamp of the deletion of the former duplicate target, one can conclude that the system takes about 45 minutes to recognize this. $\endgroup$ May 13, 2018 at 13:05
  • $\begingroup$ @GNUSupporter I do not even see any sense to prevent delete-votes just because a question has a duplicate. The spirit of the site should be that a question can be deleted when there are good reasons without such exception-rules. $\endgroup$
    – Peter
    Aug 26, 2018 at 13:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Peter the problem is that when a question is marked as a duplicate it will contain a link to the target. This link will become "broken" when the target is deleted. The idea is to prevent this "link-rot." Also if the target is deleted the other question might stop to be a duplicate, and then maybe needs to be reopened or pointed to some other target (or maybe it should also be deleted). The current mechanism ensures that these problems are dealt with in some way. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Aug 26, 2018 at 14:08

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