Before writing a question, I use the search function to try find previous similar posts. If none found, I type the title in and hit "review question" to see if any duplicate questions are listed. I do it again once the body is entered.

Despite this, I have had several questions spotted as duplicates by other members. What more should I do to avoid posting duplicates?

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    $\begingroup$ Do a google search. The stack exchange search functionality is pretty worthless. If you google "graveyard geosynchronous satellites site:space.stackexchange.com" the duplicate is the 3rd hit. $\endgroup$ Nov 7, 2022 at 2:42
  • $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble ... great. Thanks for the tip $\endgroup$
    – Woody
    Nov 7, 2022 at 3:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Woody I disagree that not-as-good-as-google makes something "pretty worthless" but it's true that long term we see more and more that SE's huge body of answers is showing up in big search engine results which is sort-of the point of SE in the first place. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Nov 9, 2022 at 22:20
  • $\begingroup$ By checking if the question has been asked before $\endgroup$ Mar 22, 2023 at 23:25

2 Answers 2


You say that like duplicates are bad.

You asked the same question, but in a different way. Someone may find your question and the linked duplicate with the answer, but not find the linked question itself.

Think of duplicates as guides to help other people find the already existing answer.


I agree with the sentiment of @JRE's:

You say that like duplicates are bad.

in that as long as the fraction of your questions that end up as duplicate is not too large and you're not getting significant complaints about it, don't worry about it. Enlightened SE folks understand that a dupe here and there is a good thing! Sometimes it simply serves to bring new eyes to the old answers, other times, the discussion before and after closing is helpful as well.

While searching yourself within SE using SE's search engine before asking may not be finding dupes, as you continue to write your question you may see suggested duplicates appear in the box at the top.

That box is dynamic - as you continue to draft your question you may see new items appear, and it can be long, so scroll through it a few times while writing to see what all is in there. The top few hits may not match but the next one might.

Although I find that adorable monster irritating sometimes:

it is really useful and I have benefitted from it many times! Sometimes I just stop writing if I find everything I need, but just as often I veer off into a slightly different direction (where answers to the other question don't go) and specifically link to the found question as background, indicating that answers to my new question are not found there - why the new question is different.


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