A recent question about returning to the Dark Ages reminded me of another question I remembered seeing. After some digging, I found a similar question and suggested it might be a duplicate of the OP's question.

Later, when I checked the close review queue, I noticed the Dark Ages question was being closed as a duplicate of a different question that Mołot linked and was the question I had originally been thinking of but couldn't find.

Only thing is, the question Mołot linked is marked as a duplicate of the one I linked.

Is there a general policy on whether to mark questions as duplicates of duplicates? Should we link to any question in the chain or to the root?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I couldn't find any reference in the help center and on Meta after a quick search, but I think it would be best to mark a question as a duplicate of the original question, not as a duplicate of a duplicate. The goal is to show that the question has already been answered - not that the original of the referred question has answers. If you were to make longer chains, which could easily happen in the future a user would need to click through half a dozen questions just to find the answers he is searching for. That doesn't sound useful. $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Apr 19, 2017 at 15:25
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    $\begingroup$ Are any of these similar enough to be merged into a canonical? $\endgroup$
    – apaul
    Apr 19, 2017 at 17:59
  • $\begingroup$ Duplicate (JK) $\endgroup$
    – user23007
    May 1, 2017 at 18:37

2 Answers 2


The general advice on Stack Overflow is to choose the "best one" to use as a canonical question, later duplicate questions can be merged or marked as duplicates of the canonical.

Generally the better canonical questions are a little more general so that they cover a larger portion of similar questions. As in:

How do I foo the bar?

Vs very specific questions, like:

How do I foo the bar in baz, while standing on one foot, on Friday afternoon, in Iceland?


Duplicates can have variations on the theme. So if you're going to chose one, chose the one that is closest to OPs question, even if the one you're choosing is a duplicate of another question that is poorer fit.


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