Sometimes I run into merged posts asked by the same OP (so, nearly identical posts) which are then marked duplicates (the stub) from the canonical ones (the master). As a consequence of this process, the master question ends up having all the valid answers, and the stub question is cleared/emptied.

Examples of merged/duplicate questions asked by the same OP:

Should we delete merged questions (the stub) (i.e., adopt as a best-practice action, or at least as a guideline) in cases where merged questions are nearly identical and asked by the same OP so that the website is less cluttered?


In the answer to What is a "merged" question? it says:

If you believe a merge stub is no longer useful, flag it for moderator attention and ask for it to be deleted.

I think that is the way to proceed.

I do not think it matters whether a merged question (merge stub) has come from the same asker as its master. If a merge stub adds nothing of value to the site then it should be a candidate for deletion.

From your question it seems that @Mapperz has already deleted one such merge stub after you flagged it, and I agree with both your actions.

Since then I have processed a few flags for deleting merge stubs. The case for deleting them seems to not always be clear-cut so I find myself deleting most but not all in response to those flags. The best way to process them consistently may become clearer as more of them are processed.


After thinking a while on this, I realized this is not only about merged questions from same OP, but also about duplicates from same OP. The merged ones are more appealing though, because they are locked posts and hence, not qualified for auto-deletion.

Most times (there are exceptions) this will happen because OP asks a question, then nobody answers it (or answer in a way OP is not satisfied), then OP asks the same question again instead of editing/improving the original one. Those are not useful to have around because as written by the same OP, stub and master are likely to have the same wording, hence, not useful for broadening the search scope (and consequently finding the canonical answer).

With that in mind I wrote a query in Stack Exchange Data Explorer (SEDE*) to find duplicate unanswered questions asked by the same OP which outputs the list of stub posts. The unanswered aspect is because we can evaluate if it is a useless post (equal to the master) and flag it for moderator attention and ask it to be purged without being worried with a valid answer being deleted.

Now (jan/2019), the query is outputting 200 candidate questions for deletion:

Duplicate unanswered questions with same OP in source and destination (list of source Qs)

[This is a work in progress, after the clean is done, I plan to find dupes from same OPs, but with answers in the stub, so they can be merged and purged as well]

*SEDE is updated in a weekly basis.

  • 2
    Thank you for writing this query which from a quick look at the first question it returned looks to be very useful for identifying some question deletion candidates. – PolyGeo Jan 10 at 20:37

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