4

I think it would be much more convenient to allow users to vote to merge a post with another post along with all the answers retaining the titles of both. Essentially symbolically linking the names to the same data(merged)

That way the benefit of having multiple search entries would be retained and the added convenience of now having to look through similar posts.

Another benefit would be that these duplicate posts might breathe new life into old questions.

9

We close questions as duplicates instead of merging all questions for a few reasons:

  • A question might cover the same ground, but it's not a word-for-word duplicate. The answers on the master question may answer the closed question, but the answers on the closed question might not answer the master question.
  • The same questions can be asked in different ways, and it's important that people searching for answers through, say, Google find what they're looking for no matter how they phrase their question.
  • Merging is destructive, closing isn't. A person can reformulate their closed question to be less of a duplicate if they feel the original question isn't what they're looking for. But once a merge happens, that's it: there's no way to save the newer question.

More information: The Wikipedia of Long Tail Programming Questions

  • You beat me to it. – Walter Jan 21 '11 at 23:47
  • Hmm makes sense! – zhenka Jan 21 '11 at 23:50
  • What about having a box of related questions then? – zhenka Jan 21 '11 at 23:52
  • @Eugene on the right side of every question, there's a list of related questions. And the block quote you see on a question closed as a duplicate is actually injected into the question body: if there are more than one duplicates of the question, a person with editing capabilities can go in and add those to the list. – user8 Jan 21 '11 at 23:53
  • Damn this website is well designed! I've been having nerdgasms for two days now : ) Can't even pick on anything. It is almost perfect. – zhenka Jan 21 '11 at 23:54
3

Merging is a special case for when two questions are deemed to be identical rather than just very similar.

I think you'd have to ask this question on Meta Stack Overflow to get a definitive answer.

However, if you think there are questions that should be merged flag them for moderator attention and we'll look into it.

3

Information about enhanced question merging:

http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/06/improved-question-merging/

Rationale for when to merge and when not to merge:

http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/04/handling-duplicate-questions/

I’m not necessarily advocating deletion, either; we want some of these merge stub questions hanging around so people can find two “identical” questions that were asked in two totally different ways. The exact, perfect duplicate question, in my experience, is much more rare than people think.

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