# How should new users be pointed to duplicate questions?

When the Ubuntu Stackexchange website gets used more (and possibly a lot of questions that would otherwise have been asked on the forums get asked here), we're going to run into the issue of pointing out duplicates to newbies and non-native English speakers (who may not be able to find good keywords to search). On a forum, there's a neat way to inform the newbie that it is a duplicate and as long as you attribute the answer, you can copy the answer from the original thread.

Let me you know if you don't agree, but I'm worried that the whole "closed because it's a duplicate" will not be very welcoming to newbies and non-natives speakers. I can imagine a comment on the questions like "Duplicate", followed by a url. A few minutes later the question will be [closed].

Should there be some extra guidelines for those pointing out duplicates that make Ubuntu SE friendly for newbies and non-native speakers? Should we allow answers to be copied from other questions when the question is a duplicate? (Maybe award only half rep points if the question is a duplicate?)

I'm pretty sure the closure text reads something along the lines of "closed as an exact duplicate of http://url/to/proper/question".

Copying answers is unnecessary duplication of content.

Feel free to recommend rewordings of that text. As is, I don't think it's a problem, but I'd be open to other arguments.

• I won't accept an answer just as yet, I'll wait to see whether there are other opinions. So you think that it isn't "unwelcoming" to newbies and non-native speakers? If so, could you put that in your answer also? – Umang Aug 18 '10 at 5:02
• Alright, I'll accept this answer for now. If later on, I see a question that demonstrates why I feel the current way doesn't work, I'll come back to this question. – Umang Aug 19 '10 at 11:50
• Sounds like a plan. – lfaraone Aug 20 '10 at 3:35
• Here's an example. How do I remove an application. Looking at how the question was asked, the user probably doesn't know anything about apt, synaptic and software center. The question that is, I feel, an exact duplicate and mentioned in the comments, doesn't do the kind of hand holding that seems to be required here (this particular question has an answer that does). So what happens when a newbie asks a dupe but needs more hand-holding than the person who asked the original question? – Umang Aug 20 '10 at 5:54
• Again, I'm not saying you're wrong, I'd just like to discuss it so that I'm satisfied with the it's-fine-as-is resolution. – Umang Aug 20 '10 at 5:57
• @Umang: if the new answers is better than the old one, then they can be merged to the old question. Votes will then determine whether the new answer is better than the older ones. The format of this site is specifically designed to minimize duplicate answers, which is a problem on normal forums. – Lie Ryan Mar 9 '12 at 13:49

This site makes quite a lot of effort to help duplicate questions. When you enter the question subject suggestions appear that help (at least me) find questions that are similar to mine.

I think the current procedure of closing a question via vote of duplication by peers is the best. It'll say why the question was closed and link to the duplicate question. It also keeps false increase of points because someone was able to copy an answer from another question on this site (even with proper attribution).

• OK. And what about no reputation points for answering a duplicate (whether taken from another source or not)? It gives the user what he/she wants (an answer) without making the user feel lost. Although SE isn't a forum, it could borrow Vanilla forum's neat "sink" feature for duplicate threads, so new answers don't bump the thread (in this case question) up the list anymore. – Umang Aug 18 '10 at 5:08