I've noticed quite a few questions coming in on META that are definitely duplicates of other posts. To the point where I think the titles may have even been almost the same verbatim (ok, a tad bit of a stretch...).

My gut is that this is occurring by users with lower rep and folks not used to the SO experience yet.

What are your thoughts about the Ask Question really be a search for question first, where users enter the tags and title first and then if no results pop up that interest them, they can get the body to type their question in?

I know that after the title is entered, users can see some items that may be similar, but I'm thinking of expanding that to a forced search where they have to see, still need to ask type of thing...

I have nothing against the auto search and use it myself.... BUT, how may duplicates do you see where a user must completely ignore those results and post their question anyways? If the search worked and process worked, we'd get few duplicates.

@Jeff - completely agree + 100.
@TheTXI - A barrier, but its not like a barrier to entry, its just one more thing to say I'm positive my question is not here. I think at the end of the day, folks are a bit lazy and just want to have their question online and that is that.

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    Consider: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/7441/… for instance. – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Jul 31 '09 at 15:29
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    @dmckee: That's what we call, in the technical parlance, an OH SNAP comment. – Hilarious Comedy Pesto Jul 31 '09 at 15:36
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    You are correct, users are lazy. – Troggy Jul 31 '09 at 15:52
  • @Pesto: If you look closely enough, you'll find that my version was pretty close to a duplicate, too. And I spent some time looking before I posted. Which I think suggests that our efforts will have only limited success. But I am in favor of success, limited or not. – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Jul 31 '09 at 17:12
  • +1. I was about to ask a similar question, and then I found yours. No need to ask mine now. – Anthony Jun 11 '12 at 2:16

We've talked about adding an interstitial post-ask search page that new users are required to click through, as documented here:

Can (and should) more be done to encourage users to search first and ask only if they don't find an existing answer?

edit: this is now deployed, and enabled on Stack Overflow only. All new users (rep <= 10) get this mandatory advice page ...


... when they attempt to ask a question via questions/ask

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What's wrong with the automatic search that suggests related questions as you type? Every time I've been about to post a duplicate, the original has appeared in the list and I've found the answer there.

I wouldn't want to see a system like the "help assistants" that you get on many large websites, where they make you jump through hoops before you can report a bug, presenting you with a series of unrelated & frustrating FAQ entries that happen to contain some of the same keywords.

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The auto search after typing in a title works decently IMO. This is kind of the feature you requested, but it is up to the user to go through those search results. You can only force so much on the user before the site becomes annoying to use.

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The number of duplicates are definitely coming from a majority new users, but there are still a number of vets who are posting the same thing and not realizing it.

Your biggest issue with forcing them to do a complete dupe search before posting a question is that it will provide another barrier of entry for newer users who may get frustrated having to jump through all the hoops to get their question raised.

It could also be argued that with a high enough active population (or very fast mods), the questions would be closed as dupe and links provided faster than it would take a newbie to search for a dupe and find it.

Sure it can be a little frustrating, but to me the closings show the system is working as intended.

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