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I seem to have a hard time finding good answers for my meta questions. I usually have an issue I'm curious about on SO, so I search MSO using appropriate keywords to see if there are any similar questions.

Having found none, I then type the question into Ask Question and carefully examine the suggested questions to see which are similar (just as I do on SO.) If I don't see any there, so then I post the question.

Then...BAM! I get immediate downvotes and the banhammer/duplicate police close my question within 5 minutes.

More than half of the questions that I still have live have been marked as duplicates. The rest I've deleted due to being marked as duplicates or having downvotes. If you check my SO profile, which I've recently started becoming much more active in, you'll see I'm not a troll...I swear.

  • What can I do to avoid this situation?
  • Why is it so hard to find existing information on MSO than SO?
  • Is there some other way to find questions other than the search box and the suggested Questions that may already have your answer box?
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Google never hurts...I use Google to search SO all the time; I imagine MSO is well-indexed too. For example, your question from 2 minutes ago has already been indexed. –  Tim Medora Feb 28 '13 at 7:41
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"Why is it so hard to find existing information on MSO than SO?" - Because some people are terrible at making good titles. –  animuson Feb 28 '13 at 7:41
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Keep in mind that MSO is small and some of us spend far too much time here. We've seen most roll past before, even when the wording is significantly different. –  Bart Feb 28 '13 at 7:42
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In general, I don't understand why people down vote a question that is duplicate. After more than 1 year on a fairly smaller SE site, I still often have problems to find a post even though I know it exists! So IMHO downvoting a duplicate just because it is a duplicate is misuse of the button: it should be just (quickly) closed (and up-voted if the question is good). –  tohecz Feb 28 '13 at 8:58
    
You shouldn't delete your questions just because they're duplicates. They're still useful as search targets (and, bonus, you'll score an upvote or two from time to time right before someone who landed on your question clicks through to the original). –  Josh Caswell Feb 28 '13 at 19:54
    
closely, closely related: How can I avoid asking duplicate questions? –  Josh Caswell Feb 28 '13 at 19:56
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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

MSO is a lot more relaxed than SO and as @animuson already mentioned, questions here often have misleading titles. A few examples:

Other than that, it wouldn't hurt to check the FAQs (conveniently assembled in the FAQ index) before you post your question on MSO. Almost everything you could ask about the normal usage of the site has already been asked before. And when it comes to questions about new features, in all likelihood the answer is already somewhere in the changelog.

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What do you mean by lot more relaxed? Seems the close-or-duplicate police are constantly on the prowl here. I'm surprised this question wasn't a duplicate... –  Andrew Mao Feb 28 '13 at 7:58
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@AndrewMao I'm not so sure what you mean by "duplicate police". Having your question closed as a duplicate is awesome, you get instant answers! And by more relaxed I mean that no one has (so far) barked at me for my horrible titles. –  Yannis Feb 28 '13 at 7:59
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