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Seems to me the biggest cause of duplicates is that the search engine does not do an accurate match on what is a duplicate.

Now I know it's hard, but sometimes it's a little difficult for the questions asked to match the right search terms that are going to match something that already exists.

So is there any work that needs help in improving this?

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    I'm a little confused by what exactly you are trying to discuss. Are you asking about trying to improve the search engine to make it easier to find duplicates? Mar 2, 2014 at 12:45
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    There are related questions here and here. The search engine uses Elastic Search.
    – rene
    Mar 2, 2014 at 13:23
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    You might want to dial the aggression/sarcasm down a bit, people are much more responsive to a neutral approach
    – Clive
    Mar 2, 2014 at 14:19
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    @Neil I'm sorry you feel that way (genuinely), I don't think people were trying to make you feel unwelcome, but I get that it can come across that way sometimes. However, you may well have a valid point here and it would be a shame for focus to be lost from that. If others ask for clarification, I always find the best assumption is that they've done it in good faith, and just want to properly understand what you're getting at
    – Clive
    Mar 2, 2014 at 14:27
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    @NeilLunn I retracted my answer simply because you left the impression that the answer did not address your question exactly as Bart suggested. If it does address your question, I'll be happy to undelete. despite that fact that you seem positive I downvoted, I haven't simply because I still aren't sure what you are trying to get at. Yes the search engine as limitations, but what are you trying to discuss? How to fix? Does it need fix? Where does this relate to "possible duplicates". I simply am trying to understand what your question is. Mar 2, 2014 at 14:33
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    I don't get why you're so upset @NeilLunn. We're trying to clarify this question so we can discuss something. We're spending time on our Sunday to help you out here. I could have voted to close as "Unclear" and moved on, but none of us did. So help us help you out. And if that is too frustrating for you, just take a break.
    – Bart
    Mar 2, 2014 at 14:35
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    As a dev I can't do anything with this question - please clarify what you think is not working. You can do this by explaining what is currently happening that should not and what you believe should be happening - the more detailed the examples, the better. As it stands, this is not actionable.
    – Oded
    Mar 2, 2014 at 14:43
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    Once again I have no clue what that last sentence is supposed to mean, but let's give this a go: All I get from you post is "Search is not all that good to find duplicates", right? So then what? What did you experience? Where does it fall short? What does need to be adjusted? How do you propose it gets adjusted? If you don't have a proposal, what information are you looking for? Right now, to me at least, it is not so much a question as it is a statement.
    – Bart
    Mar 2, 2014 at 14:44
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    You can always email the community team via the contact us form. We do, however, prefer having discussions in the open, here on Meta.
    – Oded
    Mar 2, 2014 at 14:47
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    Can you clarify? What is returned that you don't expect? What is not being returned that you do?
    – Oded
    Mar 2, 2014 at 14:51
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    That link to search you posted returned this question within the minute. It was the third result at least.
    – random
    Mar 2, 2014 at 14:53
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    I shall reiterate. "something in setting up the search tokens needs fixing" is fuzzy and vague. It is not actionable. You claim this question doesn't return in search results when it plainly does. You wish the community and the team to take you seriously but will not clarify when requested?
    – Oded
    Mar 2, 2014 at 14:56
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    You came here. The community and team have requested you do clarify the issue, which you have refused to do. That's when it was over.
    – Oded
    Mar 2, 2014 at 15:01
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    If you are happy to help, why not give a full description of the problem as you see it? Why insist on keeping things vague?
    – Oded
    Mar 2, 2014 at 15:04
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    We don't want to listen? We have asked for more information from you repeatedly. We are still waiting for that, instead of comments about "buddy weighting" and a general aggressive tone.
    – Oded
    Mar 2, 2014 at 15:24

1 Answer 1

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For me, the search engine of SO and the 'ask a question' form do a very good job of finding questions and answers that I wanted to find. The majority of the questions that are marked as duplicates are asked by people that do not look for questions that might answer their question. In some cases even googling the exact title of a question will yield pages of useful information. In the very few cases where searching didn't yield any useful posts, the search terms just don't appear in the questions or answers. No search engine improvement can find something that isn't there.

TL;DR The people that ask duplicate questions are usually the problem, not the search engine itself.

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  • On the general point of "people do not search for the answers to their questions (first)" I'll agree with you. But I have been in this industry for over (hate to admit it), but 25 years now. And the SO (SO sites) do not match a natural language search. Otherwise I would not post this.
    – Neil Lunn
    Mar 2, 2014 at 13:19
  • @LowerClassOverflowian Well done. You just duplicated my number one repsone to people who don't search. What do you think that someone who actually understands search engine semantics did first?
    – Neil Lunn
    Mar 2, 2014 at 14:13

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