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When a user posts the same thing to several questions a flag is automatically raised. Often this indicates spam or questions that are in fact duplicates.

This happens for just two identical posts. When a second/third/... identical post is made another flag gets raised also - this is sensible, it's important information potentially.

This does however lead to a string of largely identical flags. I took a look through some of these today and missed the fact that there was an extra one, which had a possibly better candidate for dupe question closing until the last flag.

Top of the list today: top of the list

Bottom of the list today: bottom of the list

This could be better handled by the system in a number of ways:

  1. Always sort the list duplicate posts by length of the string - more dupes more recently is more important.
  2. Validate the existing auto generated flag when another one with more posts is generated. Move unhandled "other" flags to the new auto generated flag so they don't get lost by auto validation
  3. Edit the existing flag when new posts are added - append the new posts to the original flag, with a timestamp.
  4. Generate all of the duplicate flags against the same post, so they get grouped in the same way 10K users see "Not an answer x 3, disputed x 2, very low quality" all grouped on the same post.
  5. Just hide the superseded flags from 10K users altogether. The visibility of the earlier flags with less posts in the 10K queue never does any good but can mask things when there's quite a few such flags.

Another example:

another example

All those flags are the same issue - they don't even all fit on screen at the lowest zoom of my browser!

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There would be a bit less clutter in the mod tools if these were merged as well. I actually wish there was a cheap way of blocking duplicate answers altogether. –  Tim Post Feb 18 '12 at 13:41
    
Do you mean that the merges should be automatic and then reviewed by the community through the existing SO reviewing mechanism? –  Sergey K. Jul 25 '12 at 17:57
    
@SergeyK. - These flags already happen, automatically, but they all continue to exist even when superseded. I mean that the only "Identical post/s" flag that matters is the recent one with the most posts listed. If something is a duplicate of 10 posts I don't really care that it was once a duplicate of 2 posts, in fact telling me that it's a duplicate of 2 things whilst sometimes hiding the fact that it's also a duplicate of 10 things is counter-productive. –  Flexo Jul 25 '12 at 18:03
    
@TimPost, is that a good ideal, as someone could then just change 1 word and it would be a lot harder for the system to catch it. –  Ian Ringrose Feb 18 at 10:08

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