We have some feature requests.

https://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/11/dr-strangedupe-or-how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-duplication/ even acknowledges the need to not have such problems:

Having dozens and dozens of variations of the same question is clearly bad.

One of the trilogy sites, which is near and dear to me, ServerFault, is currently dying the death of drowning in boring duplicates. When we search for the canonical questions we have made by name (remembering the names of all our 60 canonical questions is hard), usually what comes up is all the zillion questions we've closed as duplicates.

Worse still, by making closing duplicates as duplicates a pain, we've seen a lot of duplicate questions closed with off-topic reasons out of laziness. Clearly this is no way to go, as it pushes the users away instead of giving them the answer we've written.

We need to do one or more of these things, since duplication is a very severe problem on some sites and current work hasn't managed to help. Or, maybe we need to do something else. But, we do need to do something. What do?

More than we are right now, we need to do more to:

  • Make it very easy to close duplicates
  • Prevent duplicates from cluttering search and the front page
  • Leverage the network's incentive mechanisms to reward people who do the annoying work of closing duplicates
  • Discourage users from asking duplicates in the first place

Does anyone have any thoughts as to what of these things would be most effective network-wide? ServerFault is in urgent need of salvation from this problem but I imagine at least some other places have a similar frustration.

  • @MartijnPieters I was just dealing with that :)
    – user147520
    Jun 25, 2014 at 12:04
  • Aah, thanks; we edit conflicted the same edit :) Jun 25, 2014 at 12:05
  • 2
    With the dupe hammer hammering away at dupes is a lot easier now, but the search UI is what bugs me the most when doing that. Jun 25, 2014 at 12:16
  • One of the big problems with any sort of reward for moderation-related activities is abuse. Every incentive we provide (reputation for suggested edits, badges for review, etc.) gets horribly gamed by some group of people, so any proposed improvements must first account for that. Jun 25, 2014 at 17:31
  • I think it will still help more than it will hurt. Jun 25, 2014 at 18:06
  • Perhaps adding an screen on submitting a question (maybe just to low rep users or on the first X questions asked by a user??) asking if the user is sure that it is not a duplicate of questions with similar titles could help. Jun 26, 2014 at 4:05


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