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Reviewing an old answer of mine, I noticed that one of my links to another answer of mine had gone stale, losing both the content and the context of that answer.

Now I seem to remember that the second question was considered a duplicate of another closed question, and it was probably right to be closed, but did it really deserve to be deleted?

I think that a number of answers there were valuable. I certainly put some effort into making a balanced, impartial (as far as one can) response that tried to cover different ground to other questions/answers. In fact, my own answer aside, I remember that it contained more useful answers than the earlier question which hasn't been deleted.

Incidentally, is there any way for me to get back the content of my answer?

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In this specific case, the user who asked the deleted question asked the same duplicate question about 2 dozen times. And the question was exactly the type of question we don't want here:

  • "I don't know what language I should learn next, is Java a good choice?"
  • "What's the difference between C# and Java: is Java better?"

Finally, the question was closed for a month without any activity: nobody tried to save it, make a case for it being the better duplicate, or vote to reopen it. Thus, it was deleted as part of the ongoing cleaning of the site.

Closure sets a question on the path to deletion. If a question is worth saving because of its answers, let's save it before that happens: make a case for it on meta, edit the question to improve it so it fits on our site, and/or flag it for reopening explaining why the question now (or always) fit the site's guidelines.

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As a duplicate question it becomes a candidate for deletion.

Not all duplicates are deleted the wording of the question may be sufficiently different to make it useful as an alternate route to the initial question on the subject.

In this case it looks like another moderator decided that the deleted question wasn't sufficiently different. The fact that your answer linked to another answer would tend to support that view. If both questions could have effectively the same answer then they are clearly duplicate questions.

  • 1
    Unfortunately, it is often the case that questions are closed as duplicate even though they are actually better questions than the question they duplicate. Just because a poor question is asked first shouldn't give it precedence over a better question on the same topic which was asked later. Surely we should only be deleting questions which don't contribute anything to the corpus of knowledge here at P.SX. Once a question has gained some good answers which have been voted up, surely that shows they were valuable to enough people to protect it from arbitrary deletion? – Mark Booth Oct 17 '11 at 12:07
  • @MarkBooth - in the case where the "wrong" question has been closed as a duplicate flag one of the questions for moderator attention and we can swap the duplication round. – ChrisF Oct 17 '11 at 12:09
  • We can also merge questions and clean up the worst answers to create the best of both questions in one, if needed. – Adam Lear Oct 17 '11 at 20:56

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