Let me give a specific example. Today, I answered this post, and my answer seemed familiar. Looking through my old answers, I found that I'd answered this post a while back. The older post is a less thorough question, in the sense that answers to the older question won't completely answer the newer question, while answers to the newer question will be above-and-beyond answers for the older question.

Had they been posted in the other order, I'd mark the newer one as a duplicate without a second thought. I wonder what I ought to do in this case, though. I have three thoughts:

(1) Mark the older one for closing as a duplicate.

(2) Change my answer to the older question so that it actually answers the newer question, then mark the newer one for closing as a duplicate.

(3) Leave them both alone.

I think the last option is the least preferable, but I'm torn between the other two (though I'm leaning toward the first). Is there some consensus as to what should be done in such cases? Is there perhaps a better option that I'm not considering?

I think a consensus is important, here, because if there's enough disagreement, I worry that both of them will end up closed as duplicates of the other. To facilitate things, I've posted these three options below as answers. Give an upvote to whichever option(s) you favor. If you care to discuss you reasoning, put them as comments under your selection. If you've another option that you think is better, then please post it as an answer so we can all consider it. What say you?

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This post and answers were helpful to me today, as I reviewed an older Question nominated for closure as a duplicate of a fairly recent one. I voted not to close, and left a link on the newer one to the older one. –  hardmath Jul 10 at 12:43
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5 Answers

up vote 18 down vote accepted

Leave a link to A at B, and a link to B at A, with a brief explanation at each. Don't close anything, and don't chnage the old answer.

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This is what I generally do for similar instances. I've probably posted more links than answers. We need more links. –  Bill Dubuque Nov 6 '12 at 2:39
    
Sounds good to me! And it's unanimous so far. I'll do that. –  Cameron Buie Nov 6 '12 at 6:20
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Close the older one as a duplicate.

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Since dupe-loops are prevented by the system, it is perfectly in order to mark both questions as duplicates of the other and see how the community decides... However, ideally the better one should remain open.

The problem often is that an old question may already have some good answers the newer one would also benefit from, yet the newer one may be asked better and also have received a great answer. Then in order to obtain the "best" overview, one basically has to check both questions' answers, which also means you have some interleaved sorting.

So ideally one question gets closed as a duplicate of the better one (be it newer or older), and either the dupe-answers would also show up in the "original" (I wonder if that has ever been feature-requested) or the answers were migrated (manually by their respective author, or maybe by a mod if possible).


However, questions should not be closed as duplicates if they are actually merely subsets, since the most awesome answer to the latter may fail for a more general case and might never have been posted to that one - at least on gaming.SE consensus is Duplicate information in answers (in part or in whole) does not automatically make questions duplicates.

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That's a fair point. I know duplicate questions are sometimes merged, but I'm not entirely sure of the protocol behind that. –  Cameron Buie Oct 2 '13 at 11:11
    
Merging is almost exclusively limited to exact duplicates due to it's irreversibility, e.g. when someone reposted the same question, or cross-posted it to another site which migrated it here thus yielding a duplicate. –  Tobias Kienzler Oct 2 '13 at 11:23
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Leave both of the answers alone.

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Change the answer to the older question so it answers the newer question, then mark the newer one for closing as a duplicate.

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