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The bar which pops up that "X new answers were posted. Load?" while typing an answer is nice, but so many people just ignore it. Which sometimes ends up in a flood of identical answers, especially when the question is trivial.

I propose that loading the answers is obligatory - the answer being typed can't be saved before the user clicks the "load" button and the answers are shown.

Hopefully, when the user sees that similar answer was already posted, he won't bother submitting the answer.

Some PHPBB forums go even further aspect - they check if there are unread posts while saving the answer (and require further confirmation before saving the answer).

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Interesting, but I'm not sure the community would go for this. –  ChrisF Feb 11 '11 at 14:47
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Any example where we're sure the alert was displayed (polled every 30 or 45 seconds, apparently) but ignored? (In fact, I find loading new answers without saving first a bit scary, but I do know where to find the "delete" link.) –  Arjan Feb 11 '11 at 15:07
    
@Arjan Usually, I do load it, but because I had just finished my writing I actually skip it just yesterday for this answer. It seemed to have gone over fairly well. –  Grace Note Feb 11 '11 at 15:11
    
I don't know it doesn't seem like a bad idea but something is off... maybe it is the obstructive nature of the proposal? –  Trufa Feb 11 '11 at 21:06
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2 Answers 2

I'm opposed. It imposes an inconvenience on contributing what is most valuable for the site - answers.

Also, the expectation that people will stop posting identical content when forced to see what has been contributed so far is unrealistic - see the many, many instances where duplicate answers are posted minutes or even hours after the first correct answer.

Plus, it is often not even desirable not to have any duplicates. Two answers stating the same thing can be very different in how they are put or how they approach the issue, something that can be a valuable thing to have.

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How is posting identical answer desirable? And I agree this could sometimes add an extra click to submitting an answer, but I believe most people already load the answers if the popup bar tells them that there are some (and those who don't are those who post the duplicate answers). –  Matěj Zábský Feb 11 '11 at 14:58
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@mzabsky duplicate answers are not that much of a problem because different people put things differently, and sometimes you understand one person's contribution better than the other's. I do see the issue, but I don't feel it's a big problem. It's an unwritten SO law that everyone has the right to take a shot at answering a question better and in more detail than the existing answers do. It's part of why there is so much good content on SO. I really think the solution to this is promoting a culture of deleting own superfluous contributions - something more sesoned users often do already. –  Pëkka Feb 11 '11 at 15:07
    
I only propose that the website makes sure, that the user knows that there are potentially similar answers, it would not take away the right to post an answer. –  Matěj Zábský Feb 11 '11 at 15:10
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@mzabsky if somebody wants to know, they will look out for the load button. I don't see the need to be forced to click the button once one is done writing the answer –  Pëkka Feb 11 '11 at 15:12
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In addition to Pekka's points, I am opposed because once I am finished I might click on load new answers, but seeing them before I am finished might hurt the quality of my answer. (I might see a duplicate answer and not put the time in to complete an example I am working on, or my out of the box thinking might be hampered by someone else's assumptions about the issue.)

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