I just noticed that Is there a measure of code rot?, which was created in February 2011 was closed two weeks ago as a duplicate of How can I quantify the amount of technical debt that exists in a project?, which is a year younger.

Putting aside for a moment my annoyance at people seemingly randomly closing old inactive questions like that, what earthly purpose does it serve to close an older question as a duplicate of a newer one? If anything, it should be the other way around.

Turn away a bug if no reproducible test case exists?, https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/45230/do-programmers-at-non-software-companies-need-the-same-things-as-at-software-com, How do you know you're writing good code?, and Code Smell: Inheritance Abuse are other examples.

  • 2
    related MSO discussion: Why is an older question marked as duplicate (with several duplicate discussions, helping to understand this issue in more details)
    – gnat
    Commented Sep 10, 2013 at 8:11
  • I notices this earlier and decided to consistently skip such reviews if I encounter them in the queues. I don't want to spend the effort to decide if the duplicate vote is justified or not for such old questions. Commented Sep 10, 2013 at 18:28

2 Answers 2


While in general the newer question should be closed as a duplicate of the older, there are occasions when the new question is "better" (in some way):

  • It expresses the problem more succinctly.
  • There's a better answer


In these cases it's perfectly acceptable for the older question to be closed as a duplicate of the newer.

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    I understand that exception, but do you think that condition applies to any of the questions I linked? They seem roughly equivalent to me. Commented Sep 9, 2013 at 21:25

(wrote this as an answer, it got a little too long for a comment)

For the examples given, compare the following stats:



This looks to be the right relationship. While the views is lower, the rep is higher. The answer appears to be more authoritative and less opinionated.



This one you might be able to argue a reversal on... though I do have a slight preference for the answers in the 'master' over the 'dup'.


Judging by these metrics, the dup relationship seems to be reasonable as those are the ones that people have voted up and find when looking for that problem more often.

Are there any specific ones were there is some reason why the relationship should be reversed from what they currently are?

I would also contend the "people seemingly randomly closing old inactive questions" -- they are not all inactive (some activated just before their closure). Furthermore, inactive questions (especialy popular ones) often attract attention of new, well meaning new users who want to add their $0.02 in this forum. Yes, I know its not a forum.

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