Downsides of Current Duplicates Policy
The downside of this policy of judgement as to which questions and answers are more clear (as opposed to a simple rule of priority based on first question posted) is that it encourages AU members to write new, better, and redundant questions and answers rather than encouraging AU members to usefully edit and improve questions and answers that already exist. This adds new site content and clutter rather than trimming redundant questions and improving already existing content.
I note that when a user clicks on "Ask Question" and enters text in the "Title" bar, AU offers them an opportunity to view questions related to their question Title ("Questions that may already have your answer").
- Why not offer the same opportunity to the Answerer who clicks in the "Your Answer" box?
As an explicit opportunity (and request), this may change Answerers behavior. However, to really change behavior:
- Why not adjust the Reputation Points structure to reward Answerers who find and improve content that already exists rather than creating (better) dupes?
The Answerer is then explicitly faced with possible duplicates and given an incentive to point the Asker to that dupe while cleaning up the dupe's Question and Answer to clarify, edit, and improve them so that future Askers don't create needless duplicates.
Reasons for Proposed Solution
- It is the Answerer who likely understands the question, answer, and where this question fits into the Ubuntu question/answer space better than the Asker, likely has more experience on AU, and thus has a greater probability of realizing this new question is a dupe. Thus, AU should focus on Answerers' opportunities to identify dupes at least as much as Askers'.
- It's possible this may decrease burden on moderators who will deal with less Duplicate Duties in terms of judgement, merging, and ultimately removal as Answerers do more Duplicate Duties.
- It's possible this may channel user and moderator energy toward refining current content into a systematic, coherent, and comprehensive site in terms of style and content that answers AU's 'How do I use Ubuntu' core questions rather than adding new site content and increasing site clutter.
PS- If this should be its own new, meta-question, my apologies.