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I'm wondering if this could be useful:

In some case you will add a link to an useful resource in the answer provided to a question. Like a link to the documentation of function X on SO, a link to apache documentation on SF, ... Do you think it could be good to have a page showing question where the same link has been given as result ?

I guess it could be helpful to close some question as duplicate. But I think it could give useless information as I may ask "How rewrite rule are working" and "Why this rewrite rule is not working", I will probably get a link to apache mod_rewrite doc in both case even if question are not duplicate.

I do think having this information could be good, the implementation has probably to be different from what I think.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

This is a very interesting idea, but I believe the complications that arise make it less than useful in the end.

The first complication is the requirement to assume that the link will be correctly applied to the question. Answerers are not infallible, so we would have to deal with any questions that were given the link to no avail. There is no effective metric to assist in mechanically judging how related a particular link is to the question, as well; acceptance can change over time and votes may be more attracted towards a well-written answer than the answer with a link.

You also bring up the second complication, which is the fact that a particular link is not guaranteed to be addressing the same answer at all times. As a SharePoint user, I often see the same 2-3 people running about and posting the same software suggestions (typically custom written to apply to the question, of course). I also personally have linked the same tutorials for basic workflows when answering how to accomplish a variety of non-related tasks.

Perhaps the final complication is in the scenarios where this does work, it means that the duplicate has already received an answer. If it is a satisfactory answer, the author may be fine with the ensuing closing since the need has already been handled. But we now end up with the duplicated content we were trying to avoid in the first place (which also may make merging redundant). A post-resolution solution doesn't really help address the duplicate problem itself. If the author has already been satisfied (and by extension visitors with the same issue), then it is arguable how useful those linked questions will really be.

So with these 3 complications, I find that we would have a lot of noise in trying to use this constructively, and very little gain on any grounds.

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The functionality of listing posts that link to a certain URL already exists:
Use a Google query with site:stackoverflow.com link:http://some.url/.

Example: site:stackoverflow.com link:http://www.cplusplus.com/reference/std/limits/numeric_limits/

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Right, but you need to know the link. –  radius Aug 27 '10 at 12:43
    
@radius: Quoting you, if "you will add a link" you should know it? –  Georg Fritzsche Aug 27 '10 at 12:45
    
The person adding the link probably has even less need to see such a list. –  Grace Note Aug 27 '10 at 12:49
    
Yes, I was thinking the page useful for the community (moderator and people that can vote to close question) of course people that answer can already check for duplicate themself –  radius Aug 27 '10 at 13:04
    
@radius: Ok, that may be interesting in some cases - but how should that work UI-wise? There is often more than one link in an answer, not to mention in all answers. –  Georg Fritzsche Aug 27 '10 at 13:38

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