Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 158 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

I see a lot of duplicate questions asked and closed on both Stack Overflow and Meta Stack Overflow. Is there a Stack Overflow (or Meta Stack Overflow) query to list the questions that generate the most duplicates? If possible, it would be nice to show the questions that have been frequently linked or suggested as duplicates in a highly visible location (such as the FAQ tab) that is easy for new users to find.

I just realized that this information is already displayed in the dialog box for closing a question as an exact duplicate. Wouldn't it be great to make this information easier for new users to find before they ask a question?

Dialog box for flagging a question as an exact duplicate

share|improve this question
What is the purpose of showing them in a highly visible location? – kiamlaluno Aug 19 '11 at 23:44
If certain questions are asked really often, it would help to have a collection of these questions for new users to look through. If they can find the question they want to ask just by scanning this list, they won't have to post yet another dupe. – Chris Frederick Aug 19 '11 at 23:47
I fail to see what would the benefit of this be, considering that questions can be searched. The fact there are questions that are asked really often doesn't mean a user is necessarily going to ask one of those questions again; users could re-ask one of the other already existing questions, even if the question has no duplicates. – kiamlaluno Aug 20 '11 at 0:21
I'm trying to leverage the 80-20 rule here, under the hypothesis that 80% of the duplicates cover the same 20% of all duplicated questions. In other words, I think that there is value in exposing the 20% (for argument's sake) of all duplicated questions that continue to generate 80% of the new duplicates. – Chris Frederick Aug 20 '11 at 0:33
I don't know of a query, but I keep a list:… – George Stocker Aug 20 '11 at 1:13
Yeah, that should really be automated. – Chris Frederick Aug 20 '11 at 1:18
If my DupLinkCount were a column alongside newest/faq/votes/active/unanswered, you'd just sort by it to see the "real, question-generated FAQ". Assiduous users would more easily find originals to link to when voting to close, and probably be motivated to make sure the originals were solid. – FumbleFingers Aug 26 '11 at 0:00

It's already pretty easy to search for questions here; people could. But they choose to post duplicate questions. (It's not always easy to come up with a concise enough description of a problem for a search query, but posting some source code almost always Just Works. I can't blame people too much.)

Anyone inclined to read through a list of "master questions" before posting probably already searches for their question first, so I don't think this would reduce duplicate questions any.

But it sounds like a good educational tool to quickly gain The Community Knowledge on 250 diverse topics, serve as as the basis for a printed and bound college textbook, etc. :)

share|improve this answer

We have a built-in search function, including some advanced options. That should allow you to find not just the duplicate questions that have been closed recently, but all of them, including the one that pertains to your particular issue.

Some people think that the built-in search isn't quite up to snuff yet (despite some recent improvements). If you fall into that camp, you can always use Google's site search with the following query:

"your search terms"

As some of the commenters have noted, it is neither very useful nor very inviting-sounding to publish a list of all the questions that have been recently closed as duplicates. We don't want to focus on those questions, we want to focus on the master questions: that's why the others get closed as dupes in the first place.

The moderator tools (available, obviously, to moderators as well as all users that have attained 10k or higher reputation on the site) do provide a list of recently-closed questions. But that's intended for moderation purposes, not general use. I can't see a good reason to broaden access to that list.

share|improve this answer
Oh, sorry, I must have phrased my question incorrectly! I don't want a list of the questions that have been recently closed as duplicates—I entirely agree, that's not very helpful—I want a list of the master questions that generate the most duplicates! If you'd like, feel free to edit my question to make that clear. – Chris Frederick Aug 20 '11 at 16:49

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .