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I while ago I suggested adding this functionality to Area51: Automatically suggest similar proposals for Area 51 site suggestions which was accepted. This stopped lots of duplicate sites appearing on Area51.

Now I would like to propose what I think is the next logical step: search existing sites. There are many coming online and this is likely only to increase.

For example, today I tried entering Developer as a new site in Area51. It mentions existing Area51 proposals but not StackOverflow, Programmers or Game Development.

So I think the ideal solution will not only search titles but also descriptions of all existing sites.

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If you enter StackOverflow you only get this site suggested: area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/22868/… –  Wikis Nov 25 '10 at 18:19
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It does include the proposals of sites that were created through Area 51. The only sites not included are Stack Overflow, Server Fault, and Super User, since they don't have proposals.

As far as I can tell, the dupes we're seeing on Area 51 that really belong in one of those existing sites (SOFU) are all from people who already know about them, but want a more niche-y site for their own interests. I doubt showing SOFU in the dupe results would deter those people.

If you're seeing some proposals that you think we should be discouraging / blocking at the creation phase, could you link to them? I agree there are lots of dupes, but usually when we say "this is a dupe of X" the response isn't, "Oh, I didn't know about X", it's "I know about X, but we really need our own site because...". For example, MMO Games, Everything XML, Videography, Programming Language ... all of those feature the proposal creator arguing against merging into an existing site / proposal which they already knew about.

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@David Fullerton - please remove Status Declined until the discussion here is complete - it's still a live topic! –  Wikis Nov 30 '10 at 12:24
    
@Mark my point was that most of those dupes are cases where the owner is aware of the existing site, but wants their own niche site. Changing the similar proposal suggestions wouldn't help those people. –  David Fullerton Nov 30 '10 at 16:00
    
@David Fullerton - is that the case? Tablet computers - no reply from creator; hjkl - creator objected but Robert closed; Lua - Robert closed; Visual Basic - Robert closed; Minecraft - owner objected but Robert closed; Programming Language - this meets your criteria and is in discussion; Everything XML - also meets your critera. So your criterion was met on only 2 out of 7 times. And that's just one page! Perhaps @Robert would be interested in this implementation as well, since he's doing a lot of the closing? =:-) –  Wikis Nov 30 '10 at 18:22
    
@Mark Robinson: I close proposals that will not be created because their subject is already well-covered by existing sites. But I don't generally close proposals that are duplicates of each other (or just a poor site idea). I let them compete for support or get deleted from inactivity. The inconsistency is that all proposals that should be close have not been closed yet. Between David's response, routine maintenance of Area 51, and upcoming changes (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/70576/…), you're feature-request seems to be well covered. –  Robert Cartaino Nov 30 '10 at 19:26
    
@Robert Cartaino - you wrote "I close proposals that will not be created because their subject is already well-covered by existing sites" That's exactly my point! You are closing proposals that duplicate existing sites - that is exactly what my change request is about! –  Wikis Dec 1 '10 at 18:49
    
@Robert Cartaino, @David Fullerton - I'm really puzzled that this still has status declined when it seems that David and Robert's comments seem to be about something different to what I intended. –  Wikis Dec 4 '10 at 17:42
    
@Robert Cartaino, @David Fullerton - what do I need to do to get an answer? Have I missed something obvious in your replies? –  Wikis Dec 7 '10 at 12:56
    
@Mark Robinson: The developers decided the current implementation is sufficient and not to implement this particular [feature-request]. On a related note, the issue of duplicate proposals will be further addressed with features being added to Area 51 which allow communities for form around groups of proposals, so "duplicates" can be better discussed and dealt with: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/70576/… –  Robert Cartaino Dec 7 '10 at 18:01
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