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The scenario: a new question on a common subject is posted, one that you believe to be a duplicate. You open a new tab to search and discover that there are -dozens- of clear duplicates of the same question.

Case in point: http://stackoverflow.com/search?q=Text-shadow+in+IE&submit=search

I could, theoretically, go through potentially several hundreds of direct, clear duplicates and flag them all, but I would feel like a "vigilante" or something, not to mention using several hours of time. Is there some better way to flag a large number of questions -- a batch "potential duplicate" process?

Barring flags, is there a need for some better way to highlight and handle large-volume cases such as the one I've linked to? Something like a committee that one could post a single search link to that would, as a group, deal with these cases?

Edit Just to be clear, the problem I am raising is that now I know about a whole nest of duplicate questions. But unless I have the time and motivation to work through them all, then they sit there cluttering up the place unless someone else with the time and motivation makes their own independent discovery. I'd like some way to either quickly handle it when I see it, or to make a note of it for someone who does have the time.

Edit 2 Also, Give an incentive for finding duplicate questions

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2 Answers 2

Since stackoverflow etc are reward driven I'd use rewards to deal with duplicates. We may see an increase in false duplicates but this is just economics and the system will adjust, if it adjusts too far in one direction we can probably prod something somewhere to make sure we still get decent answers.

Note: I feel like John Maynard Keynes suggesting this... ie

"we can turn dials to adjust output, I have a formula, it's really not that complex..."

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I would make use of the "Other" flag. Flag the questions and use the "Other" reason to point the diamonds to all the questions that are exactly the same. Suggest that they would be merged into one reference question like How to parse and process HTML with PHP?.

You suggest adding a new feature like a checkbox to each question to massively flag as a dupe. I think this is inherently dangerous. Questions can get caught in the mix that may be enough different to not be duplicates.

The current system works to slow you down in times like this (even unintentionally). You are forced to review each question before flagging. Furthermore, the 3K+ users that review that flag have to review the question. It's like entering a high-security vault that requires 6 keys to enter. If it's clear that the questions need to be closed, getting enough votes isn't a problem. The current idea is that each and every one of the duplicate flags gets scrutinized. Your proposition dulls that, I believe.

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