I know that according to Dr. Strangedupe, leaving existing duplicate questions is good for searchability. But what about intentionally asking a duplicate question with different terms?

This comment made me think of that.

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    No, I do not encourage that and tend to downvote questions posted intentionally as duplicates. To improve searchability, one can edit the original and add keywords, improve title, etc. – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Nov 20 '14 at 14:32
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    @ShadowWizard You should post that as an answer. Comments don't really help folks vet that (correct) information. – Robert Cartaino Nov 20 '14 at 17:37
  • Thanks @Robert, will do soon, need to add some meat on that before it can become a fair answer. – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Nov 20 '14 at 18:24
  • I got many down votes when doing so. – Degen Sharew Nov 22 '14 at 8:18

No, I do not encourage that. I consider questions posted intentionally as duplicates (e.g. OP writes "I know it's asked before but think it did not get enough attention) as bad practice. Posting duplicate for the sake of searchability is no different or better, in my opinion.

To improve searchability of a question, one can edit the original and add keywords, improve title, etc. No need to intentionally add duplicates to the system.

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    What if one can't find the original, but knows it exists? – TheWanderer Feb 16 '19 at 17:17
  • @TheWanderer: Hmm... while in general I don't support deliberate dupes, I have had a few experiences where I asked a dupe unintentionally after searching long and hard to see if my question had been asked before. In those cases the wording used was totally different from what I expected. In such a case, maybe a duplicate would be helpful. Such a case would be very rare however. I would be more than extremely careful in asking deliberate duplicates. – hat Feb 16 '19 at 17:36
  • @hat agreed. But if one can't find the dupe, it falls under "unintentionally" which is indeed fine. :) – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Feb 17 '19 at 14:09

While I agree with Shadow Wizard's answer, what I meant with my comment was that submitting a question that only turned out a duplicate after you basically finished typing it, maybe even not via the related questions feature, e.g. you didn't know the perfect keyword to search for and only the full description of the problem yields the duplication, it may yet be appropriate to post the question nonetheless. But that should indeed only be done if you honestly believe future visitors will otherwise end up typing yet another full question before finding the dupes, and not for the mere sake of adding keywords.


I'm more of a 'descriptivist' than a 'prescriptivist' when it comes to what we should do on the SE sites.

It's the case that SE site search is bad enough that it's easy to create duplicate questions, even unintentionally. See my inadvertent duplicate of this very question:

It would be ideal to (always) be able to edit a question so that it can serve as its own 'signpost', i.e. to directly improve its searchability.

But improving a question's title may not improve its searchability. It's common for beginners, in anything, to not yet be familiar enough with the terms or jargon of the relevant area to be able to ask a 'good' question. Because of this, I think one should be very careful to NOT remove potentially useful search terms or keywords from a question, even if doing so would overall improve it.

The alternative, that doesn't ever damage searchability, seems to be to just add extra search terms directly to the question itself. That seems like it might be unwieldy in its full generality because of the shear number of possible ways of asking a question.

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