Upgrade Ubuntu 10.04 to 11.04 is a duplicate question, merged with the more general How to Upgrade from a very old release to the latest.

The problem? How to Upgrade has about nine thousand views. Its closed, unanswered duplicate has over twenty-five thousand, making it one of the most popular questions on AskUbuntu. At least sixteen thousand people came to that question through search engines, and did not follow the "Possible duplicate" link to its answer.

Clearly more people search "upgrade 10.04 to 11.04" than "upgrade from old release to latest", and they don't understand SE's duplicate redirection system. AU is failing them. What can we do about situations like this?

January 13: I just proposed something on meta stackoverflow. Little chance of getting noticed, and probably not ideal, but it's something.

  • I've tentatively mark Oli's as the accepted answer. I don't think the current system is ideal, but there's not too much we can do better than follow a colelction best-practices when the issue comes up. If a more-upvoted solution come up, I'll switch over to that one.
    – Jjed
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 20:29
  • New feature, new accepted answer
    – Jjed
    Commented Mar 16, 2012 at 15:23

2 Answers 2


As part of a new Stack Exchange feature, anoymous users are now redirected through duplicates transparently, provided the duplicate has zero answers. If you run into a high traffic duplicate with answers, please flag for moderator attention! ;)

See also: Automatic duplicate redirection SOP


I do think this is a major flaw in the duplicate system on Stack Exchange. It's good enough for us because we know what a duplicate is. But for non-users, they're not necessarily going to notice the "possible duplicate" banner, nor know they should follow it.

There are a few manual options without having to get SE to redesign things:

  1. Mods can merge.

    We can merge things so that if you visit the old URL, you're redirected to the new one. One danger in this is we lose traffic over time as the ranking is earnt for the duplicate.

  2. SEO the main question

    People are landing on the duplicate because it best satisfies their search. If we can pull the key phrases over onto the master question, this might make that one gain ranking and search-traffic.

    But that may come at the cost of quality. Nobody likes a dump of SEO text.

  3. Add bigger signage to the duplicate

    This is probably the least offensive. We "deface" the duplicate post so that it better shows users that they should be clicking through to see another page. It's not going to work for everybody - but it may work for some.

    I'm thinking a big blockquote, big header, bold text, link to the duplicate along the lines of:

    This post is a duplicate of another on Ask Ubuntu

    To view the original question and its answers, please use the following link:

    Ideally, it would be nice if the auto-text was similarly clear.

I'm not sure how viable those options are, I'm just putting them out there. Discuss!

  • 2
    note that deletion causes redirection, but pay special attention to my answer here: meta.stackexchange.com/a/118916 -- also you may want to undelete that to taste.. your call as mods. Commented Jan 13, 2012 at 7:19

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