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This question is a duplicate of this one, so normally I would vote to mark it as a duplicate. However, the earlier question is of lower quality than the newer one (and that's reflected in its downvotes). Is it appropriate to mark an older question as a duplicate of a newer one so the trail leads to the better-formed one?

I checked etiquette on duplicate questions before asking this question.

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    I think this is a situation where we the users can define our own etiquette. But normally the later question gets closed simply because it doesn't get time to accumulate quality answers, or for the wording to be sharpened up. I myself voted to close the question linked above, and I now regret that. The solution is for "close-happy" people like me to delay voting, and compare the alternatives more carefully, where the reason is "duplicate" and the original doesn't have a showcase answer suitable for both. – FumbleFingers Nov 16 '11 at 22:36
  • Now that I think of it, I have seen a question that was closed as a duplicate of a much newer question (asked about 2 years apart). However, the older question was migrated to EL&U from elsewhere after the newer question had been around for a bit. – yoozer8 Nov 17 '11 at 0:22
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I support closing an older question as duplicate if the following conditions are satisfied:

  • The older question is unclear/poorly written
  • The newer question is asks a clear and legitimate question
  • The newer question receives higher-quality answers
  • The old question has no accepted answer, or the accepted answer (or answers in general, if none is accepted yet) on the new question better addresses the issue than the accepted answer on the old question.

Of course, merging the posts would take care of some of the issues, but why close a question by someone who put in effort to make it clear and useful as a duplicate of a lazy question that is not likely to attract useful answers?

(note: these are broad statements about questions in general, not commentary on the duplicates linked in this question)

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    Good answer. The goal should always be to put the best question and the best answer front and center: if they happen to get posted later, so be it. Merging to unite a good answer with a good question is also a good idea... Just flag for moderator attention and ask for it. – Shog9 Nov 16 '11 at 23:16
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    I don't even think it's necessary for the old question to have no accepted answer. The point is to "keep" the good question. – Marthaª Nov 16 '11 at 23:23
  • @Marthaª agreed. Edited that part. – yoozer8 Nov 17 '11 at 0:19

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