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I just opened up a question with 10+ pages of answers. It was more of a poll-style question, but it was one I wanted to participate in. I'm not a big fan of duplicate answers (adds more noise than signal) so I would much rather up-vote somebody who gave the same answer (or close enough).

Having a small search-bar just above the answers would be a tremendous help.

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25  
call me crazy, but I'd like to see something like similar answers while typing an answer. You know, like how it dynamically searches for similar questions while asking a question. So the answer box would double as a question search. –  dotjoe Aug 21 '09 at 19:57
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I'd love this feature. I just about asked this question again. –  Derek Nov 3 '09 at 5:34
    
Wanna revisit this feature? Sampson's sample. –  bobobobo Dec 10 '10 at 3:16

4 Answers 4

up vote 13 down vote accepted

I do like your mockup, but I just don't know how big a priority it is -- that many answers is such a rare occurrence on the sites.

edit: we now support the inquestion:1234 operator which does allow you to do this via the search box, at least..

edit: I also implemented an inquestion:this -- it works on the referrer so it'll only work for the first search from the current page, but hopefully that's enough.

see:

http://meta.stackoverflow.com/search

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Yes, but it's that kind of questions (polls mostly) that really could use this feature, as you see in the specific question shown here, there are LOTS of duplicates which could be easily avoided with the proposed search feature. –  fretje Jul 1 '09 at 11:37
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NOT having some method of discovery ensures that duplicates will be created more and more. Rather than tediously searching through page after page, some people will just go and add their answer. –  Jonathan Sampson Jul 1 '09 at 12:02
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It could be solved with the planned search filters. Maybe doing it the gmail-way something like "in:1274 mockup" or "question:1274 mockup"? –  jonelf Jul 28 '09 at 6:41
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Such questions might be rare, but they seem to have lots of exposure on the front page by virtue of being answered often. –  nagul Aug 22 '09 at 13:57
    
Somehow related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4391/… Sometimes you see the front page that someone did "something" but you don't know what. You have to go for each page doing Ctrl+F to find out what that user did ( if it was TOWSNBN it was a "Hello" removal of course ) –  OscarRyz Sep 15 '09 at 16:08
    
@oscar there is now a link to click through to the latest change in the question, at least on the mini question view style (homepage, user page) –  Jeff Atwood Feb 10 '10 at 10:05
    
@jeff Yeap I know that ( I asked for it ). BTW Thank you guys for that improvement. That's like the rest of the features awesome. :) –  OscarRyz Feb 11 '10 at 6:13
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The real trouble is that for the few use cases where it does apply it is pretty frustrating. There are some truly excellent question threads that go on for several pages and searching within them is simply not possible. I agree that a search filter in the form of question:#ID# query would be excellent. –  Nathan Taylor Mar 16 '10 at 17:07
    
I never ran into the need for inquestion:xx but while that's in place now, indeed a inquestion:this would be brilliant! –  Arjan May 8 '10 at 12:46

A different implementation approach, could be that the search is performed as you type an answer. (in the same way that "Related questions" are highlighted as you write a question).

This would only occur on questions with more than 'x' 1 answers.

As to the 'value' of this feature:

I agree that there are few questions to which this pertains -- but for those questions the problem is chronic, and because those questions are 'frequently answered' they appear on the front page often.

So to determine the 'importance' of the feature we'd need to look not just at the number of questions if affects, but the total number of answers it would help with (this is a much bigger number)


1. 'x' would be a number at least big enough to cause answers to spill onto a second page.

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Here's a Greasemonkey script that implements your mockup using the inquestion: operator. It takes the question id from the URL and doesn't use :this, so it also works if the browser hides the refer(r)er. Works in Chrome.

It will only display the search box if there are at least five answers to the question.

install scriptview source

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Since the site is not focused on poll style questions, I would think it is of low priority.

A question with that many answers will get duplicate answers (and most defiantly has many many duplicate answers if it's that big)

Adding features that are outside of the big picture scope of the site is something I think is not a good idea.

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