When a user has multiple questions closed, the system sometimes notifies moderators, who might contact the user. There is a template for mod messages that covers this case, so it seems we're supposed to (sometimes) send such messages.

A good duplicate helps the site, but a lazy duplicate, or one that is worded essentially the same as the original, is something we want to discourage. Fortunately, the system suggests possible duplicates as you're asking, so the user can avoid asking a clear dupe -- if he's using the full site.

Someone asking a question using the full desktop version of the website is shown a list of potential duplicates as they ask:

However, someone asking same question using the mobile version of the website is not shown possible duplicates.

Therefore, what platform a user asked a duplicate question on affects what a moderator should tell them, in case the moderator needs to contact them. If they used the desktop site and still repeatedly ask a poor duplicate, we want to point out that they should cut it out and how they can find previously asked questions before asking. If they used their phone, we'd need to tailor that information to someone who doesn't have the list appear when he asks. Knowing which platform was used also may affect, in some cases, how much good faith the moderator should ascribe to the asker.

It would be helpful, therefore, for moderators to be able to see what platform each closed-as-duplicate question was asked on. Ideally, this would appear in the multiple-closed-questions list, and perhaps also accessible from each question.

  • I don't understand exactly what you're talking about. Are you referring to questions on regular Q&A sites, or reports on meta? – Sonic the K-Day Hedgehog Feb 1 '18 at 7:46
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    A duplicate is a duplicate, you think it should stay open just because you asked on a phone? Why? The OP gets an answer if it's closed as a duplicate, why wouldn't that be a good thing? – Robert Longson Feb 1 '18 at 7:46
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    @RobertLongson, I didn't say this is to keep the question open. I said this is to know "what a moderator should tell him, in case the moderator needs to contact him. It also may affect, in some cases, how much good faith the moderator should ascribe to the asker". Did you even read my question? – msh210 Feb 1 '18 at 8:10
  • @Sonic questions on SE sites. – msh210 Feb 1 '18 at 8:10
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    Thanks for the info, but I can't really understand what it is you're requesting. – Sonic the K-Day Hedgehog Feb 1 '18 at 8:11
  • @RobertLongson, I didn't say a moderator should be involved in closure. I said the info "would appear in the multiple-closed-questions list" that moderators see (already) when a user has multiple closed questions. – msh210 Feb 1 '18 at 8:14
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    Moderators and high rep users don't really contact users to ask about their questions. If a question is off topic, they close it, period. What "platform" you talk about? It's totally unclear what you're really asking here. – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask Feb 1 '18 at 8:23
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    Related feature-request: Add the duplicate suggestion feature to mobile theme. The rest of the request related to moderator is unneeded though. – Meta Andrew T. Feb 1 '18 at 9:40
  • @SensibleAlexander yes, that's a very clear request which makes much sense. If it's indeed related, guess it's also a dupe. Let's wait to see what OP says. – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask Feb 1 '18 at 9:48
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    @Shadow re "Moderators and high rep users don't really contact users to ask about their questions": high-rep users don't; moderators do, when there's a pattern of behavior that needs changing, which is the case I'm asking about here (note my reference to the multiple-closed-questions list, which appears only after such a pattern). – msh210 Feb 1 '18 at 12:30
  • @Sensible, thanks for the link. If that feature is implemented, this one will be moot, but it's no duplicate. – msh210 Feb 1 '18 at 12:32

What platform a user asked a duplicate question on affects what a moderator should tell him

I disagree.

The expectation of researching a question before posting isn't limited by what platform you're posting the question from and the fact that you're proactively shown possible duplicates in some cases and not others is merely a convenience; you're expected to search for duplicates regardless.

Knowing that a user has asked duplicates from a mobile device rather than a desktop browser shouldn't make any difference, the advice should be the same in both cases; research your question and search for duplicates first. If the user ignores that advice then the result is the same regardless of where they're doing so from.

The information is, in my opinion, worse than useless. Taking it in to account at all would just be blaming the system for a user's lack of effort.

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    Hrm. It's certainly true that users should still do research, but to deliberately ignore the effects of bad UX under the principle that a truly dedicated user can with difficulty overcome it seems wrongheaded. – Nathan Tuggy Feb 1 '18 at 14:07
  • @Nathan it's not the effects of bad UX though, that feature isn't the principal tool for prior research, and OP is talking about cases where there is a pattern of behaviour. I agree it is bad UX, but the behaviour OP is talking about has little to do with it. – Cai Feb 1 '18 at 14:11
  • Well, SE site search is admittedly not the main prior research tool, but on a given site, "possible duplicates" is usually the best way to search for a given topic, and I frequently use it for the purpose even if I'm not necessarily planning on asking a question at the moment. – Nathan Tuggy Feb 1 '18 at 18:32
  • @Nathan I’m not disputing it can be useful, but what action would you take differently to a user who persistently asks low-quality duplicates by knowing they didn’t have access to it? – Cai Feb 1 '18 at 18:38
  • I don't have a diamond, but I'd probably give them more leeway after recommending that they change their approach to increase research before cutting off posting. (As the question suggests, if they've never used anything but their phone I'd probably also offer advice on how to research on SE sites more effectively.) – Nathan Tuggy Feb 1 '18 at 18:47
  • @Nathan that’s my concern; you’re giving a user with a pattern of bad behaviour leeway because of something that shouldn’t cause it. Encouraging and advising to search is great, but you don’t need to know beforehand what platform a user uses to do that – Cai Feb 1 '18 at 19:38

As a moderator - it doesn't matter. It also feels like a very odd metric.

Post quality is important here - as opposed to platform. I personally could not care less if they were posting on chrome on linux, an old version of qtweb on OS/2 or very careful loading of engineered bread into a toaster.

More amusingly, you could easily switch between mobile and desktop views on many browsers, and I for one am using both views on the same browser on chrome/android (I prefer the full page view for moderation tools) and vivaldi windows (for a web sidebar on chat).

Its even more fun since browser identification is arbitrary and you could identify yourself as a bogus browser

If there's a bunch of duplicates, seeing closevotes should probably be a clue, and one would hope OP would realise what's going on.

I like the alternate approach of dupe suggestions on mobile

If I was a dev in SE, it matters if things break, but that's a different issue

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  • My guess: Fewer than one SE asker in five thousand asks in mobile view on a desktop or vice versa, who isn't already used to SE mores (i.e. new/newish users). – msh210 Feb 2 '18 at 9:16
  • Quite a lot of mods use desktop view on mobile. Mobile view on desktop resizes well, which is nice in some situations. and my browser, which I admit isn't common, identifies itself as an android phone on X86 in some situations and edge has a fairly obvious user agent switcher functionality. And as a mod, I don't see any benefit here. You arn't exactly winning over the people this is supposed to help. – Journeyman Geek Feb 2 '18 at 9:24
  • I don't see the relevance of how many moderators use desktop view on mobile. The relevance of how many newbies do so is that the question assumes that platform info is reasonably accurate when supplied about people whose many duplicates are flagged for mod attention. Presumably mods' many duplicates aren't so flagged, as they don't exist. – msh210 Feb 3 '18 at 21:20
  • WIder context being the platform is less important, and user-patterns vary more than just based on apparent platform. You're throwing in a bit of information that's typically not that useful, for a specific situation, where we should be looking at content, not ancillery information – Journeyman Geek Feb 4 '18 at 0:46

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