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?

  • 2
    In the flag dialog under "Exact Duplicate" it will suggest similar questions that the system has found.
    – Seth
    Jan 31, 2013 at 17:35

1 Answer 1

  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. If that doesn't work, try removing the parts of the message that are variable (like exact /dev/... names or packages)
  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: click flag or close and check the suggestions that come up in the Duplicate dialog, see if the suggested dupes that come up are a match. For a tip on searching there, see How do I quickly find the duplicate questions I'm searching for when flagging/closing?
  9. Add tags to your search terms using square brackets, eg [kernel] [disk-usage]
  10. If you know a particular user often answers questions about this topic, go to their profile so that their userID appears in the search box, then add the tag and/or keyword to the search box, eg user:93977 [uefi] GPT
  11. Exclude answers from the search using is:q
  12. Google with site:askubuntu.com
  • 4
    (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, 2013 at 21:18

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