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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. Nov 20, 2014 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. Nov 20, 2014 at 17:37
  • Thanks @Robert, will do soon, need to add some meat on that before it can become a fair answer. Nov 20, 2014 at 18:24
  • I got many down votes when doing so. Nov 22, 2014 at 8:18

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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? Feb 16, 2019 at 17:17
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    @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, 2019 at 17:36
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    @hat agreed. But if one can't find the dupe, it falls under "unintentionally" which is indeed fine. :) Feb 17, 2019 at 14:09
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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.

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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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In my opinion, posting duplicate questions for searchability purpose would be a good idea. The same question may have different wordings and different wordings are searchable by different search requests (different keywords). I described my unfortunate experience here.

First, I spent my time trying to find an answer to my question. I couldn't find it, so I spent more time writing a question at Stack Overflow. And it happened to be a duplicate.

After that, I spent my time trying to find an answer to the question of this topic. I couldn't find it as well because I used different wordings, so I spent my time again writing a similar question at Stack Exchange. And it happened to be duplicate again. It means that the question fell into the trap it itself describes.

I would save a lot of time if there were duplicate questions in wordings similar to what I used when I was searching them. So it would be a good idea to intentionally ask a duplicate question in different wordings and close them as duplicate just after creation so that no one has a chance to spent their time to write an answer. It would be a good idea, but it isn't!

My decision was to create a duplicate question in such situations to help others to find answers to their questions. But unfortunately such duplicate question are not searchable, because they are set as redirects to the questions they duplicate. So it doesn't make sense to create such questions. No one will find them.

As a workaround I created a blog where I post my duplicate questions with links to corresponding questions at Stack Overflow with "?noredirect=1" parameter added to URL. I hope this will make my questions searchable.

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  • Re "...they are set as redirects...": Do you have some examples of such redirects? May 17, 2022 at 12:15
  • @This_is_NOT_a_forum, the link to my question, if you open it as anonymous user (for example in browser's private window), it will be automatically redirected to the original question. This was added by this feature request.
    – anton_rh
    May 17, 2022 at 12:22

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