Recently while reviewing close votes, I've come across retrograde duplicate flags. That is, the older of the two questions was the one being closed. Is this kosher? Does original post date determine which question stays open?

In the past, I've seen date take a backseat when the old question and answers were much poorer than those on the newer duplicate. But for the case I just came across, I don't see a huge disparity in quality. These are the questions:

Laptop Keyboard issue - is it a virus? asked Nov 23 '09 at 14:28 (3 close votes)
My keyboard is typing by itself, could there be a ghost in it? asked Jun 26 '12 at 5:48

Am I wrong to think date should be the rule to determine which question is closed and which stays open (with certain exceptions)?

I also ask because I saw another pair of duplicate posts BOTH appear in the review queue to be closed as duplicate recently, and this blew my mind.


Neither of the above questions currently has any close votes. Either they both passed the close vote review queue or the close votes expired. They're still duplicates though, and one needs to be closed. This specific case highlights a problem with not having clearly defined rules for closing as duplicate.

  • 4
    As far as I'm concerned it is the quality of both the question and its answers that should determine which gets closed. Just because you asked first doesn't mean you asked better, and personally I favour quality over "first past the post" for who wins. A lot of old questions fester and die and we get new more knowledgeable community members who provide better answers. I'd much rather we closed the low quality questions and answers than the high quality ones.
    – Mokubai Mod
    Oct 16, 2014 at 17:12
  • @Mokubai I'm more inclined to make that judgment only when there's a significant disparity in quality. Otherwise, it would set the standard where a user could be justified in asking a duplicate if they thought they could ask it better than the original poster did, even if the original question was clear enough to get useful answers.
    – Excellll
    Oct 16, 2014 at 18:10
  • 1
    (What we really need is a system to merge (replace)a high quality question which is a duplicate of a old perhaps less detailed question ) but that has high quality answers but I admit does not happen very often
    – Ramhound
    Oct 16, 2014 at 22:00

1 Answer 1


I agree with Mokubai. Generally, I prefer the older question, simply because it was here first.

But if the newer question is better or has better answers, it is perfectly acceptable to close the older question in favor of the new one.

  • 1
    "I agree with Mokubai." yet you prefer doing the opposite?
    – Braiam
    Oct 17, 2014 at 9:56
  • @Braiam: You're misunderstanding. Oct 17, 2014 at 10:11
  • I think I am too... Personally... Oct 20, 2014 at 18:59

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