Not sure how familiar you are with the way Digg did their analysis, but I see that the "related questions" when submitting a question here are poor matches to say the least. Hence why some may get duplicate questions. And lets face it, people are naturally lazy, and may not hit the search function before asking a question.

The way Digg did this was after you try to submit the story, it would list the related questions, and make you confirm. This allows an additional refinement based on Tags. And yes, I realize many people will click through a confirmation as well, but it may filter.

Does StackExchange allow for such a mechanism? Could this perhaps improve the noise to signal ratio of the "related questions"?

  • The actual current best method to prevent duplicate topics you can find on wikipedia, not digg.
    – cregox
    Apr 28 '11 at 3:12
  • 2
    Ah, didn't know that. I was just familiar with the system Digg had in place. Thanks for the info. Apr 28 '11 at 4:43
  • I'm actually surprised you didn't know about it! But wikipedia has no such system to prevent duplicate posts, it's a methodology: the topics are given names, and if you're going to create a new topic, it's either a new name or a repeated one... to which you immediately are able to find the "duplicate" even before doing anything. It's a very effective proven "system" by design, but it doesn't come without its flaws and issues.
    – cregox
    Apr 28 '11 at 4:57
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    Well, I've never started a page on wikipedia. :) And I have submitted many articles to Digg, only to find that someone beat me to it (well, back when I used Digg). I was only hoping that the system here could be improved to make life easier for the moderators and staff. :) Apr 28 '11 at 5:13

Sure! Try it for yourself.

When you type in the title of your question, the system automatically suggests a list of possible duplicates. It's pretty slick.

As a matter of fact—

Super-Secret Ninja Searching Technique #23:

To search this site for a topic of interest, try the 'Ask Question' dialog. Type in a question title as if you are asking the question yourself. Oftentimes, the "related questions" list of suggestion are better than the results you get from the built-in 'search' box above!

But, shhhh, don't tell anyone. This is for super-secret ninja black belts, level 3 or higher.

  • 2
    I see this, and as I said, it's a very poor system. I (for grins) phrased a question about Astrology, and it didn't suggest the current question on astrology. Same for acupuncture. It has too high a noise to signal ration as to be rather worthless. Hence why I suggest using a system to generate the possible hits after tags have been added. Apr 22 '11 at 16:19
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    @Larian the astrology example seems like an edge case, as none of our older astrology questions contain astrology in the title. For acupuncture I get our old questions listed if I ask a question, so that works as intended. The whole system works quite well on other sites, but it is of course not perfect.
    – Mad Scientist Mod
    Apr 22 '11 at 18:57
  • I love Super Secret Ninja Technique #23!
    – cregox
    Apr 28 '11 at 5:44

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