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I'm a bit curious about this, and I'm sure others are too.

Do we have any statistics on duplicate questions? Or, perhaps, some data based on user observations? If so, I'm curious as to how many dupes slip/make it through our system because we either:

  1. give up on it because of difficulty in finding the question(s) it's a dupe of;
  2. don't realize it's a dupe, so we don't look for the question it's a dupe of or act on it;
  3. don't get enough attention or support from other users to close it as a duplicate; or
  4. (similar to above) have a disagreement among users (with the privilege to VtC) as to whether a duplicate claim is legitimate (as in, whether the question really is a dupe of another question).

This interests me because it'll give us a little bit of a detailed analysis of this whole system—perhaps benefit future studies or satisfy someone's thirst for knowing this information.

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1 Answer 1

I like your question, because it's clear you're trying to improve the system. However there's a major flaw in your logic... you're asking:

Do we have any statistics on [...] how many dupes slip/make it through our system [...]

By the very nature of your question, you're looking for statistics which can't exist. You're asking for stats on duplicate questions which have not yet been identified as duplicates. So therefore it's impossible to calculate how many duplicates aren't marked as duplicates because they have not been marked as duplicates.

Now, your question #3:

don't get enough attention or support from other users to close it as a duplicate

This information could be determined by the mods, because they can view close votes. There have been a number of related Meta questions, I can't search for the right now but will do that tomorrow if you're interested. My guess would be that on most sites it's close to zero. Due to the sheer volume of questions on Stack Overflow I am sure that some don't get closed, but in my experience duplicates, once found, do get closed by users / mods who see it's been voted / flagged as a dupe.

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Yeah, I considered that there wouldn't be a statistic. I had written something more along the lines of "Do we have a general number, not based on statistics but rather observation?" but I edited it. The first two of my examples match that description more while the other two can be derived statistically, I think. –  Purag Feb 22 '12 at 1:24
    
It might be possible to derive some sort of rough statistic by looking at the data dump, comparing two versions of the data dump and seeing which questions were closed as dupes in the later version which existed in the earlier version but were still open... but that would only be a rough idea... –  The Unhandled Exception Feb 22 '12 at 1:29
    
I'm headed AFK for the evening now Purmou but will check back tomorrow and expand my answer. –  The Unhandled Exception Feb 22 '12 at 1:30

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