Yes, this is a likely duplicate. I should have searched meta first. In that self-referential spirit....

There has been imo an uptick of late, possibly seasonal, in homeworkish posts, many likely duplicates of earlier posts. This seems then a good time then to reflect on what is the best way to handle duplicates.

Recently I posted on books and reference-requests and commented that answering such requests amounted to doing other's work for them, which is arguably in the spirit of what this site is about. Well, finding duplicates is also in that spirit, except that the referenced source is another post on this site.

We have some regular devotees who, upon encountering new questions, make as necessary the effort to find duplicates among old posts. Part of this post is a collective thank you for doing so. It helps keep the site tidier and also helps visitors find information.

Others choose to ignore duplication, commenting on or answering duplicates rather than reporting them as such. I am sometimes such a one. Some questions are not exact duplicates, and participants are allowed to judge for themselves on a course of action.

Still, the site has an official policy of avoiding bloat, and since many participants seem to ignore this, I call for opinions on how duplicates are best handled, with historical considerations allowed. The site was founded years ago, times have changed and maybe the rules should also.

Note finally that down the road many dupes get the hoover treatment. You may want to take that into consideration if you don't like to see your contributions to the stack obliviated. There is a spring-cleaning room and while inactive for a while now, it might be time to turn the light back on. I served time there and you are welcome to participate (note some coordination is required before the process begins).

And in the spirit of not being focused, this post also asks you to remind visitors to search the site. Also, if you have other ideas on how to encourage visitors to search and find existing answers on the site, please contribute them.

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    $\begingroup$ you may have noticed that with the apparent surge in posts I am again closing posts more aggressively of late. Feel free to comment on that, too. $\endgroup$
    – Buck Thorn Mod
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 7:51
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    $\begingroup$ It's fine Buck. I am one of the user who frequently dig up old posts and see if it related or not. Even if is partly related, then I still comment on the question to check the post with keyword "Related" or "See". To check if there are related posts require some effort: chemistry.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3071/… but the posters doesn't go through the effort and most of them are one-timers, so they don't even bother to come back to see if it got any comment or answer or doesn't care even if it is closed. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 17:28
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    $\begingroup$ chemistry.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4611/… $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 17:59
  • $\begingroup$ @NilayGhosh thanks for the comment and link. I don't remember seeing that one before. $\endgroup$
    – Buck Thorn Mod
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 18:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithoron those posts by Karsten are very recent too and a thorough attempt to tackle this issue. But it doesn't seem to get better.... $\endgroup$
    – Buck Thorn Mod
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 18:19
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    $\begingroup$ Having more tags would most likely make finding duplicates easier $\endgroup$ Commented May 2, 2023 at 9:45
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps in the most chaotic moment (that's when most homework/frustrated-after-juggling-alot questions arrive) a poster might not look at the "intelisense" dropdown of possibly similar questions. We could make it a point to direct them to existing answers via a welcome comment than downvote on day1. Personally in the past there are times when a comment is left to an existing answer post, no response received from the answerer for months/ever. (happens across the SE). Automatic +5 is awarded if they could demonstrate that their question includes related duplicate, but doesn't solve the question $\endgroup$
    – bonCodigo
    Commented May 2, 2023 at 9:52


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