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When a question is closed as a duplicate, the ideal result is presumably that the questioner, potential answerers and future visitors will head off to the linked question and that any new answers will be posted there. But how practical that is in reality depends on how close a duplicate it actually is and on the quality of the original and its answers.

I think it would be useful for the linked question to include some message along these lines:

Several questions have been marked as duplicates of this one, meaning that anyone viewing them is directed here for the answer. Please help by ensuring this question has high quality answers. If you answer one of the duplicates here, please be sure to include any additional information from the duplicate in your answer.

The bold text would be a link to a list of the duplicates.

I think this would

  • encourage people to edit the question and answers into a suitable form for linking to
  • help answerers to easily find the duplicate questions if they need to
  • encourage answerers to check that their answers will also help people who arrived via a duplicate question.
  • in some cases, indicate the need to keep and improve the question rather than delete it
  • make it easier to find and tidy up groups of duplicates
  • make it easier to identify unsuitable "duplicate targets" so as to choose better ones.

Any thoughts?

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  • $\begingroup$ I tried to tag this [duplicates], but [exact-duplicates] is appearing instead. $\endgroup$ – timtfj Feb 11 at 17:05
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    $\begingroup$ On the comment, the two tags are synonyms. Thus, this is expected. $\endgroup$ – quid Feb 11 at 17:17
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    $\begingroup$ @quid Highly appropriate that they duplicate each other! Thanks. $\endgroup$ – timtfj Feb 11 at 17:21
  • $\begingroup$ On my last bullet point: if a poorly answered question displayed the message, someone could click to see the duplicates and maybe identify one with better answers. In any case they'd have been alerted to the fact that duplicates were pointing to a low quality original. $\endgroup$ – timtfj Feb 11 at 21:29
  • $\begingroup$ Haha, I just realised that I have no idea what is written as a message when a question is closed as a duplicate so I had to check it right now. Maybe a better idea is just to put the list of them duplicates and a much shorter version of that description since most of the people (in my opinion) will just ''accept the terms and conditions'' (ignore it) and move on. Also I believe it's quite hard to find even a single duplicate sometimes even though you have that deja-vu that you've seen similarly questions before, so bringing a list won't be easy. Other than that I think this is a great idea! $\endgroup$ – Number Feb 12 at 3:27
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    $\begingroup$ I think it is fairer to move all the answers (by merger) to the older thread. That way the new answer will face the competition from those old answers that have stood the test of time. As opposed to simply harvesting "oh yeah, this works" -votes from passers-by. The problem is exarcbated by the fact that the number of passers-by is nowaday much higher than it was when the original was posted. Not as a rule, but as a tendency. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Feb 12 at 8:39
  • $\begingroup$ My thought was that the system automatically adds the message and link—so once something is marked as a duplicate, you can quickly find other questions also marked as duplicates of the same one (and start moving answers over if you want). I see the "vote harvesting" issue though. $\endgroup$ – timtfj Feb 12 at 11:00

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