The first has about 6 times the number of upvotes (for the question and accepted answer)... so 66 total upvotes vs 12 upvotes.

I tend to only trust answers with >10... and preferably >20. So I am very comfortable with the first question/answer.

But according to the "duplicate" votes I should be ignoring completely all the upvotes and going straight to the answer with <10 upvotes.

So I think the one with more upvotes should be the authoritative question and the other one be marked as duplicate.

Which question is the duplicate the first or second?

I have come across this sort of thing before on Stack Overflow and other Stack Exchange sites. What is the accepted canonical way to handle this sort of thing.

  • Note that one reason the first has so many upvotes is "Aug 4 at 0:31 history tweeted twitter.com/super_user/status/760996646234759170". That will massively skew any voting statistics.
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 18:33
  • @DavidPostill so one of them was tweeted and one was not... IMO I still think the first one is better quesiton and better answer. Stackoverflow/Stackexchange/Superuser policy is to point to the "best answer" or "highest quality" and IMO the first one is "best answer" and "highest quality". Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 18:37
  • AGAIN... superuser.com/questions/1066261/…: the same thing is happening where a high quality question/answer is marked as a duplicate ... when I click the "this question already has an answer" I find a question/answer that has total upvotes of 2 ... vs the "duplicate" which has 35 total upvotes. So the "duplicate" has 17 times the total upvotes... but somehow that is the "duplicate". Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 18:51
  • Again that one was tweeted. "Aug 2 at 9:26 history tweeted twitter.com/super_user/status/760406311054041089 "
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 19:11
  • 2
    You cannot rely on votes to tell you which is the best answer.
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 19:12
  • I cannot remember for sure but it could well be that the most highly voted questions were also on the HNQ list as well.
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 19:14
  • @DavidPostill you keep repeating the same thing over and over in your last 4 comments without mentioning anything about the content of the questions I have pointed to. IMO the content is better... that is why in my answer I expressed "the first one is better". My second example is also IMO a better question/answer... yet it is marked as duplicate (question1 marked as dup vs question2 ) Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 19:19

1 Answer 1


I did some quick research and found some precedent:

  • example precedent #1 says "Yes, it is perfectly acceptable to mark an older post as a duplicate of a newer one. The duplicate banner is a road sign for future readers; it should point to the best answer(s) available, be they under the older or newer version of the question."
  • example precedent #2 says "If a newer post covers a subject better, has more information and / or covers the subject in a more general scope, then it does not matter which post is the older one. We want to lead people to the best, highest quality information."

IMO the first one Where is the Ubuntu console on Windows10? is better and so the second older one should be marked as a duplicate.

  • 1
    Two thoughts: 1) What you've posted is correct, but consider the basis when making a decision. Ideally, selecting the duplicate would be done by people with some expertise in whatever the subject is. If you're not a subject matter expert, be careful of relying on votes without checking for things like whether one question got some advertising (tweet or Hot Network Question), and what is said in the comments. (cont'd)
    – fixer1234
    Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 19:21
  • 1
    2) If you find multiple decent candidates for the dupe reference, look at whether one of those is already a dupe of the other. If not, start there with the dupe decision and identify all of the candidates for linking. Then consider the "chain" of duplicates. You want to lead the reader to as many answers as possible. If everything points to a single node, nobody will be aware of answers on the other questions. It's more useful to create a chain, where each question links to another with more answers.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 19:21
  • @fixer1234 very good advice. i did not think of this aspect. your advice is very subtle/advanced "if you're not a subject matter expert" and then "relying on votes without checking for things like tweet or Hot Network Question". I think this is sage because "just because everyone says one thing is not always the correct/best advice". In the future, I shall have to make sure to check for tweet/hot-network-question. link to "how to check for tweet/hot-network-question" ? Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 19:28
  • @TrevorBoydSmith To check for tweets look at the question timeline. The easiest way to do that is with a greasemonkey script Add Timeline and Revisions links. I don't know of any way to know whether a question has previously on HNQ.
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 20:02
  • I'm not sure how to definitively check for past inclusion in the HNQ. If no smoking gun, I look for the smoke, indications that a question was advertised in one form or another. Questions that got some advertising usually have views and votes way out of proportion to what you would expect from the content, especially if you have several similar questions/answers to compare and look at relative votes vs. content. Not foolproof, but your radar will lead to a closer look. If you don't have the expertise to evaluate the merits, you can always leave the heavy lifting on that question to others.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 20:09
  • @fixer1234: Are you suggesting that, if four question posts are essentially equivalent, then the 4th best one (i.e., the worst one) should be closed as a duplicate of the 3rd best one, which should be a dupe of the 2nd best, which should be a dupe of the best?  I disagree.  I believe we should always refer to be best available reference. The others can be found in the "Linked" section in the right column. Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 3:01
  • 1
    @Scott, good point. Usually, those chains are only a few levels deep. Also, multiple questions are rarely identical, so some dupes will be closer to the question than others. I usually try to link to the question that's closest (with good answers), and have that link to a less-related question (with good answers), and don't worry too much about linking to every possible answer in the system. The dupe link at the start of the question is much more noticeable than the links on the right, which tend to be surrounded by noise (they're there and ignored at the time the OP writes the question).
    – fixer1234
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 4:54
  • @fixer1234: Yes, "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others …" (Animal Farm by George Orwell), and while duplicates are "the same question", some duplicates are better than others. Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 5:03

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