When you try to close a post as a duplicate, you are given the opportunity to search for the dupe target.

Still, searching for that dupe target you know exists is hard and more often than not I have to wade through a large number of irrelevant posts to find the one I want. You rarely remember the exact keywords from that one post, there may be many other related questions that hit on the same keywords.

I feel searching for dupes could be made much more efficient if the incoming dupe link count for posts were taken into account. If you added the incoming dupe link count for a given post to the elasticsearch engine, then give results a ranking boost based on that number, then often-used duplicate targets are at least going to be ranked higher and should be easier to find.

Take How do I test one variable against multiple values? for example. It is an often encountered Python problem where beginners try to apply English grammar to boolean logic. Yet searching for test variable against multiple values places it 20th in the list of results. It currently has 155 incoming dupe links, using that number to boost the post rank would easily place it above the scrolling fold. The current top 4 search hits have one incoming link between them.

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    +1 for sure, but I see it as the third search result. Is it 20th in the dupe search dialog but not main search? (...if so, why on earth is dupe search worse?)
    – mhlester
    Commented May 23, 2014 at 17:25
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    @mhlester: indeed, even more reason to improve the dupe search then. Perhaps a previous attempt at tuning it has backfired somewhere. Commented May 23, 2014 at 17:29
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    I've found the dup search is horribly inconvenient to use and I always just open a new search in another tab to go duplicate hunting. Anything to make the dup search better would make the interface easier to use. Commented May 23, 2014 at 17:44
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    I like this, as it makes finding the canonical you know exists much easier, making the 'gold hammer' even more efficient.
    – user50049
    Commented May 24, 2014 at 6:51
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    Whatever is being used to populate the frequent tab should be given extra weight in normal search. We want new users to find those canonical questions & answers too, not just old-timers who are looking to close a duplicate. Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 12:25
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    For what it's worth, meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/289364/… lists some additional signals to maybe use for boosting.
    – tripleee
    Commented Apr 7, 2015 at 6:14
  • MartijnPieters, this would be a great enhance, what's the current update 4 years later?
    – smci
    Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 23:09
  • 2
    @smci nothing changed in 4 years so far. Commented Jul 6, 2018 at 9:10

1 Answer 1


This is a great idea, I'd add that the date of the question matters greatly across the board. Small example: Phones and devices evolve greatly each few months with features, and something that once was impossible may now be a simple click away.

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