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Every once in a while I have a question I am certain must have been asked and answered before on some Stack Exchange site, but it takes me a considerable amount of trial and error until I find the right words for Google or the Stack Exchange search to provide me with the post I was looking for.

There is a value to having duplicates around. Jeff Atwood said:

There’s often benefit to having multiple subtle variants of a question around, as people tend to ask and search using completely different words, and the better our coverage, the better odds our fellow programmers can find the answer they’re looking for.

That made me wonder if it wouldn't make sense to ask a duplicate on purpose using my own words and marking it as a duplicate immediately. This would prevent future researches from spending their precious time. Also if the question were to be asked again, it would linger around longer unclosed, again wasting resources as people try to answer the question.


I am well aware of the irony if this turned out to be a duplicate..

Edit: Well..

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  • How come that dup didn't show up in my searches? It already has pretty much the same wording.. That kinda disproves my point.. – Neuron Apr 24 '18 at 6:46
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    Re: the edit: relatable. – Nathan Tuggy Apr 24 '18 at 7:11
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    @LonelyNeuron because it was badly worded, e.g. contained "purposes" instead of "purpose". You could find it via title search though: meta.stackexchange.com/search?q=+title%3Apurpose+duplicate – Shadow Keeps Social Distance Apr 24 '18 at 7:13
  • Well, I think I have an identical question on Meta.SO, which is by itself a duplicate of <something I can't remember>. – user202729 Apr 24 '18 at 7:44
  • +1, as I can't find the exact question that talk about the search problem, but I personally think the search should be better, and in a perfect world the system should had shown you the dupe while you typed your question title. – yagmoth555 Apr 24 '18 at 12:50
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I think doing this would attach a strong risk of downvotes for your deliberately duplicate question.

Consequently, I think the time taken to write such a duplicate might be better spent editing the original to make it more findable in searches like you had attempted.

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  • But what if there are simply different ways of phrasing the question, neither being much "better" than the other? I could edit the title in my favour, but that might make the question unsearchable for others – Neuron Apr 24 '18 at 6:42
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    @LonelyNeuron having the alternate phrasing in the question body would be enough, wouldn't it? – muru Apr 24 '18 at 7:23
  • @muru doesn't it pollute the question if we artificially add the same question again only worded differently? – Neuron Apr 24 '18 at 7:33
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    @LonelyNeuron Like every edit the guiding principle would be to avoid making a question and its title less clear, and less searchable. So I think you would be looking for places where an extra keyword could be carefully edited. Including a whole extra question in the body to me should be avoided totally because I think there should be only one question per question. – PolyGeo Apr 24 '18 at 7:35

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