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There were two questions marked as duplicated of each other in the closed votes list today:

Why doesn't an electron's charge rip the electron apart?

If like charges repel, why doesn't a charge break itself apart?

The first one is older but apparently got few attention. The second was posted today and attracted much more attention.

What is the policy to be followed in such cases? I mean, which question should be closed, the most popular or the most recent?

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There are several competing desires for how to close (and possibly merge) duplicates (listed in my preferred order, but that shouldn't be taken to represent official policy):

  • Priority to the best question.
  • Priority to the oldest question.
  • Priority to the most popular question (As indicated by views or by votes or by number of non-trivial answers.)

Actual policy seems to be "whatever the people who get off their backsides and do it decide".

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I got off my backside and, spurred into action by Qmechanic, proposed closure of the earlier question.

I think that is the right decision here. The recent question is not quite as clear - I'm still waiting for the OP to confirm that he is asking about sub-atomic particles rather than macroscopic charged bodies - but it is broader and the answers are considerably more developed. It makes sense to me that further answers should be posted where they are most likely to be found - on the more popular question.

That was quite an easy decision. Generally it isn't easy.

Suppose a new question is posted and gets several upvotes. However, before any answers are posted an exact duplicate is found, with one answer which the OP finds unsatisfactory. Should the new Qn be closed? According to policy, I think it has to be closed. But if it is closed, the OP is unlikely to get an answer, unless somehow the earlier Qn is publicised. This situation seems bad for the site as well as for the OP.

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