I have encountered this predicament when reviewing posted questions and answers on AU.

Should I flag a question as a duplicate even if the older question pointed to as the duplicate has no answers yet (or worse outdated) ?

Commenting with a link to the duplicate question wouldn't be much use either since the OP would have no use for a link to duplicate question without answers.

Should the question be left alone? Or be flagged still?


I'd recommend flagging, and then ping the usual suspects in chat (Jorge, myself, there are a few others) about a bounty on the original.

Also, as per JorgeArturos comment, you should leave a comment on the duplicate saying that there is a bounty on the other question.

  • I can't edit your answer so I'm suggesting you add the instruction to add a comment on the duplicated question pointing to the original question and informing about the bounty, two days ago I was in that situation, I noticed the original question was months old so I assumed it was dead, I made my question mentioning the other being unattended and effectively got the answer I needed, the mod did comment with a link to the original question and mentioned it was apparently dead so it was useful that he made use of common sense. Had he flagged and deleted my question I would still me in trouble. Jul 13 '13 at 8:36

I always take two things into account when flagging a duplicate

1: For new (or relatively new) subscribers AU (to be helpful)

2: Those with rep (looking at their profile to see what questions they have asked recently to build a better picture what they are looking for)

For new subcribers when flagging a duplicate, I always make sure the target Q&A has been well asked and the answer will actually help them (without confusion). As well as adding a comment that states "Possible" or "Exact" duplicate" I will also explain the context. The assumption Im making here is that new subcribers dont realize their questions have been asked before. I know others take a more hard-lined view. I never point a new subscriber to an unanswered or badly answered duplicate. In this case I will coach them (in comments) to clarify their question better

For more experienced subscribers, I will comment "Possible duplicate" even if the target Q&A has not got a conclusive answer, and ask them to edit their question for additional clarity to ensure better success. In this case I would flag it to be merged. This sets an expectation with the OP that their question has been asked before with little or no success. I would expect them to go back and edit their question to be better than the original. (we live in hope :-) )

When in doubt I follow jrc's advice, head for chat room, and flag the abandoned question.

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