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I love the "Related questions" search after you have typed in a title. This has prevented me from posting a new question many times. While reading a question like http://stackoverflow.com/questions/58640/great-programming-quotes, I got an idea about the same thing for answers. From what I can tell, this question was originally closed due to duplicate answers from people not bothering to read all previous answers.

My suggestion: while you are typing an answer, it will (periodically? and before you can press post?) compare your answer with the other answers on this question and show a list of "Related answers".

I guess this is not applicable everywhere, but I think it could help preventing duplicates on questions with many answers.

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related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1274/… (it even has this request as an answer ==> meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1274/…) –  fretje Feb 10 '10 at 8:24

2 Answers 2

Is this really necessary? While searching for related questions is quite handy because other questions can be anywhere on the site, all the other answers for this question are sitting right there in front of you. Do you need a widget to search for "similar" answers? They are all bound to be similar to some degree, at least to a point that something non-sentient would not be able to tell the difference.

Moreover, there is a javascript function running in the background which provides a popup "X other answers have been posted", which alerts you to other recently-arrived answers which may duplicate what you were already typing.

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I agree. On questions with large numbers of answers, it's hard to be sure whether your answer has already been given. On some questions, this is subjective, and it may not be bad to have duplicate answers.

On community wiki type questions, such as "Best book on topic X", then it's probably better to avoid duplicate answers. Is there a mechanism that exists to deal with this case?

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