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I know the "Links" section is recommended to track duplicates, but I feel it doesn't go far enough because it doesn't list all the duplicates, and moreover, it makes it hard to find the question.

Rather than link two questions together, a real duplicate link should add the question to a group of duplicates. Whenever a question is a member of such a duplicate group, all other duplicates would be listed in the right pane, along with the question vote count, sorted by the votes.

Advantages:

  • Easy navigation among duplicates
  • Extra incentive for voting on questions
  • Extra incentive for properly linking real duplicates (example of unlinked that would benefit)
  • Better motivation for only closing as exact duplicate when a question is an exact duplicate and not merely somewhat related.

Disadvantages:

  • significant implementation effort

Example:

Example of a question that would benefit: What programming language for a beginner? [closed]

The Linked section contains a single other duplicate (out of 12 links, i.e. <10% signal to noise), and then recursively apply this algorithm. After a while I discovered these duplicates:

At which point I started to get lost in my recursive search, because I kept stumbling across questions I've already found and the signal-to-noise (w.r.t duplicates!) in the Linked section was consistently very low.

This feature would have encouraged people to actually use the duplicates rather than re-ask a question after stumbling across one like this one.

Notes:

  • I'm not suggesting that the Link section should go. I'm just saying its purpose is orthogonal (but superficially similar) to linking duplicates together.
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The "duplicate section" is an interesting idea, but a note. The linked section isn't just for Duplicates, but for anything related that gets linked. A lot of us use it, especially in Metas here and in SE2.0, to give quick access to non-dupe related conversations from the past. It's very convenient for that. –  Grace Note Aug 10 '10 at 12:54
    
@(Grace Note) I got the wrong impression about what Linked was trying to address then, but I'm certainly not suggesting that it be removed :) –  romkyns Aug 11 '10 at 11:11
    
@Grace Note thanks; I thought the opposite used to be the case... –  romkyns Aug 11 '10 at 11:53

2 Answers 2

Links was not created to list duplicates.

It's for questions that are linked to the current question in either direction.

The Linked sidebar is very straightforward: it gathers up any links to this question provided by the community via comments, answers, or questions, and presents them in simple list format on the right-hand side of the question. It’s important to note that these links are bi-directional — that is, if another question links to this one, the link will be listed on both questions.

http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/04/new-linked-posts/

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2  
This answer does not address the feature request in any way (not even the subject line). Perhaps you meant to post this as a comment? –  Timwi Aug 11 '10 at 11:12
up vote 1 down vote accepted

It would really help if "status-declined" came with comments. Even connect.microsoft.com posts comments for their "closed" results.

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