I have searched the site before asking this question. So, hopefully it is not a duplicate question.

While answering to questions, once again I see the similar questions prompt on top of the answer. I am aware of the feature, since we have had the discussion about this feature.

However, my concern is that, when there are no similar questions at all, what is the real need to prompt at all? It is a waste of time, and somewhat irritating when you click to see similar questions, however you get to see this:

enter image description here

It draws my attention unnecessarily, when it has actually nothing to show.

  • @AnnaLear, I thought of adding the feature-request tag, but I thought to first wait for the responses. I would make a feature-request depending on what the community thinks. You edited it straight forward ;-) – Lalit Kumar B Apr 21 '15 at 14:51
  • Roll back my edit if you disagree. – Adam Lear Apr 21 '15 at 14:52
  • @AnnaLear No problem, it is fine. Since, it proves that at least one person(lucky you) thinks it could be a new feature. And, no doubt about it when it is the moderator cum Full-time member at Stack Exchange. – Lalit Kumar B Apr 21 '15 at 14:53
  • Maybe we just need better similar questions and then this will become moot. ;) – Scimonster Apr 21 '15 at 15:13
  • LOL ;-) It will take some time to read Kevin's question. Thanks for the link mate. – Lalit Kumar B Apr 21 '15 at 15:16
  • Technically, this already happens. The search is run at answer render time, and the prompt is suppressed if no questions are found. This is a race, where the returned questions are answered (actually, the search index becomes aware the questions are answered; there's a bit of a delay) between render time and when you click the button. That being said, I think I can tighten it up some... digging. – Kevin Montrose Apr 21 '15 at 16:57
  • @Kevin I think it might be a too tight/close race. Thanks a lot for the heads up. – Lalit Kumar B Apr 21 '15 at 17:24

This is a race. The search index (what's finding the similar questions) is already queried before displaying the prompt, but between the facts that it lags a bit and the questions it found can be answered between the time we render the button and the time you click it (and the search it run again) there's always the possibility we'll have nothing to show you.

I've just deployed a change that should make it a rarer occurrence, I now require at 2 least similar questions be found in the "should we prompt"-check. It is still a (small) possibility though.

  • Thanks for the insight. +1 – Lalit Kumar B Apr 21 '15 at 17:27

However, my concern is that, when there are no similar questions at all, what is the real need to prompt at all?

I think that the similar questions list is only calculated when you click the link and load the page. When you answer the question, it has no idea whether or not there are similar questions, nor does it care -- it just shows the button.

So, while from a UX point of view it might make sense not to show it, from a programming/performance POV, showing it would cost an expensive query with every single answer. It's just not worth it.

  • Thank you for the answer and your time. So, what's your conclusion? – Lalit Kumar B Apr 21 '15 at 15:01
  • Final sentence: It's just not worth it [to check]. – Scimonster Apr 21 '15 at 15:02
  • Hmm, never mind. Appreciate your opinion. I would upvote. But, I think it is wasting my time, at least drawing my attention unnecessarily when it has nothing to show ;-) – Lalit Kumar B Apr 21 '15 at 15:03
  • At least 2 people involved themselves in it already. But it does happen to be the middle of the workday in the US East, where there are lots and lots of users. – Scimonster Apr 21 '15 at 15:07
  • Aah, I see. it has to be two opposite timezones. – Lalit Kumar B Apr 21 '15 at 15:09

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