Merge questions

There are questions that could benefit from being merged with other questions - either because they are basically the same question worded differently or so similar that they could be better covered in a single question.

I was thinking of dealing with these cases with a flag and close system, the option would be closed from editing and a notice would appear with a link to the other question. That way it would be relatively simple to implement, not delete content that other people worked on, and could be flexible to other scenarios.

This sounds like a great solution. And it would add the ability to notify of all different kinds of reasons, even a deprecated question.

My only real concern is what happens when I search for, say, PHP frameworks and there are two questions that pop-up. They’re both the same question, how do I know which one should I click on? What if the closed one for some reason gets more views and is constantly above the open question? Does the closed one even show up in the results?

I think there should be an auto merge system. Also a system that lets people know that their question has already been asked which will stop them from even having to make the question.

Edit: It seems that I misunderstood what was happening while looking through the categorys. It appears that what is listed is a sort of change log of what has happened recently.

I’m not sure I like this. I don’t like that it will show multiple instances of someone “recomending” an item. This has the potential to spam the front page with the exact same question over and over. If there is a sudden huge influx of people it will be near impossible to see other questions without going extremely far down the page.

I don’t exactly have a solution other than perhaps making it more like a forum thread for each question. You could then have a “recently recomended” with a number of people who recently recommended content from that question.

Edit 2: Once again I didn’t realize that there were 3 sub categorys. “Recommendations” “Questions” and “Activity”. I think that questions should probably be the default here. As you can see having the “Recommendations” as default has already confused the heck out of one individual.

Slant got a major UI overhaul last month, and the duplication issue on the Recommendations feeds comes from that. It’s a known problem and not intended, but it’s considerably harder to fix than one might expect – not strictly impossible, but not trivial and there have been other priorities – and the saving grace is that it actually gets better with more user activity.

(Disclaimer: the following is second-hand knowledge, I’m not personally involved with the site code.)

That feed is generated by first running through the database entries for questions which had options recommended in the previous day, sorting the highest activity questions to the top. If that’s enough to fill the page, it’s left at that – otherwise, it goes back another day and does the same. The process repeats as long as more entries are required. Any given day contains no duplicates; that’s why it gets actually better with higher volume.

The reason it’s hard to fix is that the page script pre-calculates how many entries to request from the database, and won’t know if there are any dupes until it sees them all. The puzzle is how to change this without crippling page-load times. Last week a quick-fix was proposed, to have the feed include date lines to divide the days, so it at least doesn’t look like a bug. That should be in place fairly soon, I think. Embarrassing not to have it already, but nobody anticipated the crazy surge of traffic we got yesterday!