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I was browsing recent questions on Earth Science, and came across this question, which is closed as a duplicate of this other question. However, the latter appears to be a deleted question.

Now, I'm not making any determinations of quality regarding the first question, but a question being closed as a duplicate of a deleted question feels "off" to me.

In this case (or similar), should a different dupe target be identified, the question be considered for reopening (if it's of sufficient quality), nothing at all, or something entirely different be done?

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I voted to close both of those questions. I thought it was most likely that the OP had rethought the phrasing of their original question about 90 minutes after posting it and, instead of editing it, had just posted the revised phrasing into a new question. One of them needed closing as a duplicate (it didn't really matter which one) and the review momentum was with closing the later one. The hope was that the OP would focus their attention on improving the original question, rather than splitting their attention across two questions.

In most cases I don't see a problem with a duplicate pointing to a closed question. After all, a duplicate of a poor question is also a poor question, and they both eventually get deleted. In this case, it was also about tidying-up an ongoing interaction to try to get the best outcome overall.

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  • $\begingroup$ Ah, interesting. Didn’t realize it was two by the same OP (I can’t see the deleted question, after all). I don’t disagree at all with pointing to a closed question as a duplicate; it was pointing to a deleted question that was more odd to me. I guess the now-deleted one was Roomba-ed or deleted by the OP? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 19:53
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    $\begingroup$ @fyrepenguin Ah yes, and I forgot that I can still see both questions because of my rep, but you won't be able to. I can see why it looks confusing. $\endgroup$
    – Deditos
    Commented Feb 15, 2023 at 9:56

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