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I have seen a lot of repeat questions on SO recently, mainly in the CSS tag. Things like "2-3 column layout, how can I do?" Questions that have been asked multiple times, and have almost always been given very similar answers.

The solutions not only can be found on SO, but just through a quick Google search as well.

What do we do about these redundant questions? I feel that just going through the motions and re-answering these questions is against what SO stands for. It's not adding anything new to the site.

Of course new people to the site might still ask these questions (as is the case most of the time) but what can we do to encourage them to search SO and or Google instead of asking redundant questions?

I hope this is clear :)

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The thing is 1) Asker come here and ask question directly without going through Google or even search function 2) Answerer doesn't bother to search SO to find duplicate - one reason can be the search function may not turn up good result, and also the rate limit or may be they just want to harvest some easy rep. – nhahtdh Dec 13 '12 at 9:01

Flag or vote to close the question as a duplicate if you can find a similar question with a definitive answer, or vote to close as Not A Real Question if the question is really basic.

Additionally, leave a comment explaining how the asker could have solved the problem by referring to SO/ Google /documentation. This serves as a signpost for anyone that sees the closed question later.

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Yes, but the point is that this isn't enough. It won't stop SO from stagnating if there are a thousand closed questions. Although that will add to the amount of links pointing to a few good answers.. – Kyle Dec 13 '12 at 9:46
@KyleSevenoaks Stagnant closed questions get deleted after a while, so they won't be around forever. – Asad Saeeduddin Dec 13 '12 at 9:50
@Asad Duplicates are usually not deleted, except in the case the question is using exactly the same words used from a previous question, such as in the case a user asks the same question twice. – kiamlaluno Dec 13 '12 at 12:38

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