Would it be possible for the auto-generated

possible duplicate of Blah blah blah

comment to add text like the following when the selected duplicate is in the sidebar?

possible duplicate of Blah blah blah, found in the Related sidebar

I've found a number of questions this weekend that have had duplicates ready and waiting for me to find in the Related sidebar. I've taken to adding "from the Related sidebar" to the "possible duplicates" comment, to try to point out the fact that the list of questions that drops down when a question title is typed in isn't just cosmetic.

It's easy to ignore features of a UI that you're not familiar with already, especially when you're frustrated with a problem and just want to find out the answer. Doing research seems like it will take more time than just throwing a question out there and hoping somebody drops some code in your lap.

The link to the potential duplicate in the auto-comment and in the "Possible Duplicate" box are, I believe, intended to allow the questioner to get the desired information while still enforcing the standards of the site. I'm just proposing an extension of that idea -- indicate to questioners that the site is trying to help find the answer by performing a search on their behalf when they type in a question, so that they learn and can take advantage of that help next time they ask.

Oh, and how about an uppercase initial letter, while we're at it? :p

  • 5
    What's the point? To beat the user over the head for their stupidity? Just vote to close the damn question as a duplicate already. Commented May 16, 2011 at 8:34
  • @Cody: No, the opposite: to point out a feature of the website that they missed and should be aware of next time. To try to inform them.
    – jscs
    Commented May 16, 2011 at 8:37

2 Answers 2


You can edit that comment if you want. Be polite about it though; the questions that show up in the "Related" side-bar aren't necessarily the same as those that are suggested while composing the question, so the user may not have seen them.

I'm not sure adding it automatically really adds anything.

  • I didn't know that the Related and Suggested lists were different. That's interesting. Why is that? I have been editing the comment, and I think I'm being polite: usually just this text I've suggested, sometimes "Please search before posting." too.
    – jscs
    Commented May 16, 2011 at 22:00
  • 1
    @Josh: because the suggested list is based entirely on the title (since that's all that's been written...) whereas the Related list takes tags into account (which can go a long way toward narrowing down the subject).
    – Shog9
    Commented May 16, 2011 at 22:13
  • Well, that makes sense. Thanks for that note. Is the suggested list still accessible later? Is it as simple as entering the title into the search box and picking the top fifteen results?
    – jscs
    Commented May 16, 2011 at 22:20
  • Looks like this has just been changed: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/42878/…
    – jscs
    Commented May 17, 2011 at 3:18
  • 3
    @Josh: HA! That Jeff, always implementing new features just to invalidate my answers...
    – Shog9
    Commented May 17, 2011 at 4:26

This is not necessary anymore as a list of Similar Questions is now shown in the right hand sidebar on the /ask page, which takes into account the body text and tags.

Citing Jeff from "Feedback requested: Similar Questions displayed in sidebar on /ask":

Here's how it works:

  • it is specific to the /ask page
  • you must have entered a title (any length) and a minimum body length of 220 characters.
  • every 45 seconds while you compose your question, we will query for Similar Questions based on the title, body, and tags you have entered
  • if we found a different set of similar questions since the last time we checked, the sidebar on the right will update with a fade animation and the Similar Questions, replacing the How to Format help.
  • Thanks for the notification. This just makes me even more in favor of my own idea, though! ;) "Remember all that stuff that was in the sidebar when you were typing up your question? It really is helpful! Look at it next time."
    – jscs
    Commented May 17, 2011 at 22:25
  • @Josh: That's a point. It can easily have a touch of "beat the user over the head for their stupidity", so one would indeed need a friendly formulation. Commented May 18, 2011 at 7:45
  • Agreed; I want a helpful message. (I generally try to refrain from beating a person over the head until it has been conclusively proven that the head is made of such dense material that nothing else could have an effect. :) I'm not suggesting newb-baiting, but I do understand the concern that it may come across that way.
    – jscs
    Commented May 18, 2011 at 17:33

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