I am looking for tips how to find out if a question is (possibly) a duplicate. I see how I can use my "google fu" to do it, and I am certain that many of you "know" it just by reading the question. Do you search for every question?

In the flag dialog under "Exact Duplicate" it will suggest similar questions that the system has found. – Seth Jan 31 '13 at 17:35
up vote 8 down vote accepted
  1. Skim the questions in the 'Related' sidebar, sometimes it is that obvious.
  2. Type a very abbreviated version of the question in the search bar, check the first 2-3 results. This doesn't even need to be a complete sentence or grammatically correct.
  3. Look for any code/error messages in the question. Copy these verbatim into the search window.
  4. Replace generic terms like 'photo viewer' with 'Eye of Gnome' or 'Shotwell', and search again.
  5. Check the OP's profile, I frequently find several variants of the same question (not necessarily a bad thing, they are refining their attempts to get an answer by re-posting rather than editing the original).
  6. Just plain-old remembering very common questions, frequently used as the duplicate to link to.
  7. Ask in chat. Crowd-source the effort if you are sure it's a dupe but can't find the exact one.
  8. @Seth's comment above: Flag as a dupe, see if the suggested dupes that come up are a match.
(1) was especially useful for me - I still don't look at the complete screen it seems - One reason might be that where we have 'Related' most other (non SE) sites have ads. – guntbert Jan 31 '13 at 21:18

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