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Duplicate questions are still rampant on SOFU, despite the Related Questions list.

Feature Request

I propose that in order to display more relevant questions in the list, the tags given for the new question should be taken into account.

If a questions doesn't share any tags with the question I'm about to ask, it's highly unlikely that the question is related.

Similarly, if a question shares many tags in common, that question is more likely to be related.

Recent Example of Related Questions Fail

I was going to ask a question:

"How can I get the End key to move the cursor to the end of the current line in Xcode?"

I found the key bindings preferences, so I didn't actually ask it, but the list of Related Questions included questions about jQuery, vim, the CSS propery cursor:move, how to count lines using awk, and several other totally unrelated questions.

Of the 25 listed questions, 5 were about shortcuts or cursor movement in Xcode.

If the list had taken a look at my tags (xcode keyboard-shortcuts not-programming-related tools) it would have been able to give a much more accurate list of questions, and omitted the questions that were unrelated.

Next time you ask a question, read over the list and and count how many questions share a tag (or more) and whether or not other questions were of relevance.

How does this help avoid Duplicates?

Since the tags would narrow the list of questions down, fewer related questions could be listed for the user. If the list were shorter, users would be more likely to read through it and would therefor be more likely to find an a duplicate question in the list.

Of course, this feature would work best when users use the correct tags for their question. To continue to help users that do not tag ideally, we may not want to completely bar questions that don't share tags from showing up.

Usability Implications

Currently, the tags are entered below the question description. In order for users to know that their tags are involved in the Related Questions search, it may be more intuitive to place the tag input above the Related Questions list.

Alternatively, the Related Questions list could display a message such as: "Enter a tag to search for Related Questions." until the user enters tags.

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1  
Pretty long post for suggesting shorter lists. –  Ladybug Killer Oct 28 '09 at 15:19
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Shorter, more accurate lists, using provided tags, yes. –  Ben S Oct 28 '09 at 15:21
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Starting a bounty to hopefully bring more attention to this issue. –  Gnome Oct 23 '10 at 0:04
    

3 Answers 3

Agreed.
screenshot of proposed feature

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1  
I'd prefer putting only the tags field above the related questions fields, or even before the title. Having entered the body text and then noticing that below there is a list containing the very question might by annoying... –  Tobias Kienzler Aug 17 '10 at 14:08
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@Tobias: Not as annoying as posting it then seeing it as a related question or getting closed. –  GManNickG Oct 31 '10 at 4:42

I agree that assuming a mostly accurate tag list (which is assuming a lot in some cases), using the tags should help create a better related question list and (hopefully) reduce the number of duplicate questions.

I would suggest moving the tag input box below the title and above the related questions, and populate the related questions after the tags have been filled in. I'd rather find the duplicate early on in the process. (assuming I even look at the list of related questions and/or care what's there... also assuming a lot in some cases)

I would hope that this would key in some of the ... semi-engaged thinkers ... that the title and tags are two different things, and that replicating the title in the tags doesn't help much. But that may just be wishful thinking on my part.

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This is completed in the sense that the dynamic /ask page does use title, tags, and body

Feedback requested: Similar Questions displayed in sidebar on /ask

However, I don't support re-ordering the form; I think title, then body, then tags is the best flow.

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1  
I hate tags down at the bottom, users would type less tag names in the title if tags was just below the title.....would be an interesting survey though to see which majority would prefer tags under the title....run a poll. –  Dean Hiller Nov 15 '12 at 21:03
    
Apparently it doesn't anymore or it got removed. Now it only appears to filter suggestions with the title. –  Loïc Faure-Lacroix Jan 2 at 20:10

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