I just received a badge for a trivial answer to Unable to resolve host. This question was asked on 7 April 2012, has about 15.3k views and 15 upvotes. Shortly after posting my answer, I noticed the duplicate answer on the right and closed this one as a duplicate for Error message when I run sudo: unable to resolve host (none). That question was asked on 31 August 2011, has only 8.2k views and 12 upvotes.

How is it possible that the new question attracted such a huge amount of traffic, even if it was marked as duplicate of the other question? I am also attaching the bug tag because the [duplicate] mark does not seem to express the correct message to search engines (assuming that as the source of clicks).

1 Answer 1


This is because of the intended way that the duplicate system works.

If a anonymous (not logged-in) user visits a duplicate with an answer, they will not be redirected to the linked question. Hence the large page view numbers.

I have solved this by merging the two questions, to preserve the excellent answers on both.

  • 1
    I had trouble parsing your not/when/not sentence, but python clarified this: if duplicate_question.answer: if not user.logged_in: no_redirect (does not imply that a logged in user is redirected though). I am still wondering how it is possible that a more recent question attracts more views. It is almost if a distro got a severe bug that caused this.
    – Lekensteyn
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 14:21
  • 5
    @Lekensteyn: I think its more about SEO. Most of the views are generated by search through Google (I believe). That duplicate question had a clear title as "Unable to resolve host" - this is what most people would search for, and google must have been listing that question higher in its search results.... This should explain higher number of views for that duplicate question in shorter span of time. (Google's results lists that duplicate question at 3rd and the original question at 5th for me).
    – Aditya
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 14:33
  • @Lekensteyn sorry, fixed my blargh english.
    – jrg
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 14:48
  • @Aditya I was indeed thinking of SEO. As a moderator, can you see a distribution of the visitors to a question?
    – Lekensteyn
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 14:48
  • No, I can't. However, that is a educated guess based off of my knowledge of the way the system works, which in turn is based off of lots of time spent reading meta.stackoverflow.
    – jrg
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 14:54

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