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Referencing Iron before the Iron Age (#18447) was merged to this post (#18453), which was subsequently deleted, resulting in the following unfortunate consequences:

  • 18447 is closed and locked, so it can't be answered, commented upon, or edited. It also can't be reopened, at least not by the normal community voting process.

  • All of the comments previously left on 18447, at least some of which look valuable to me, are now attached to 18453, and are invisible to most users.

  • 18447 has a link directing users to where they can get answers, but for most users, this will be a broken link.

This situation leads me to the following specific and general questions:

  • What can/should we do about 18447? Un-merge it somehow, reopen it, and unlock it? Reinstate the comments that got sent to 18453? Undelete 18453 and leave the merge in place? Delete 18447 and wash our hands of the situation?

  • Should the system be fixed to prevent this sort of situation from coming up? Should merge targets be protected from deletion, or possibly auto-delete their merge sources if they are deleted? Should mods get a "de-merge" button to allow for smooth reversal of an entire merge, or perhaps a "reverse merge" button that points the merge in the other direction and moves comments and answers to the new target?

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I unmerged the question, but unfortunately that does not restore comments. It's also still marked as a duplicate of a deleted question, so at the very least it ought to be reopened and (potentially) closed for some other reason.

I don't know off the top of my head why this isn't an option for moderators. Perhaps it's because merges are intended to be rather final. A situation where reversing a merge is required ought to be rare.

  • Thanks. I've removed the broken link from the post body, voted for re-opening, and posted a couple of pertinent comments. – Isaac Moses Aug 12 '14 at 17:34
  • Thanks. Any idea why the deletion doesn't show up in the post's timeline? It wasn't deleted the day of the merge and the deletion notice just says "deleted" + date; no deleting user. – Monica Cellio Aug 12 '14 at 21:35
  • @Monica Cellio: I have no idea. There's no entries in the raw log table either. My guess is that it wasn't recorded for some reason. – Jon Ericson Aug 12 '14 at 22:09
  • @JonEricson, it turns out that back then automatic deletions weren't attributed to Community, but they are now. – Monica Cellio Aug 13 '14 at 14:06

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