I see a problem with people asking questions which have already been asked and answered. This seems to happen regularly as a number of new users are joining this site, and it seems to annoy a lot of people. The result is a lot of down-voting of questions and snappy "RTFM" answers, or "see my answer on this question, or this one".
This response would be fine, except that it doesn't help build the wiki of knowledge here. Questioners are encouraged to accept an answer to their question quickly, sometimes before all possible answers have been explored, and answerers are incentivised to focus on answering questions with no accepted answers, and not look at old questions that already have accepted answers. As new features are available in WP core, sometimes new answers are possible to old questions. And sometimes a new commenter will have a new way of solving a problem that nobody thought of when the question was asked previously.
The question I have in mind is this one (change set_post_thumbnail_size according to post type admin page), which Jan Fabry answered with a link to a nearly identical question asked a month earlier. The temptation would have been to flag the question as a duplicate, but because it was re-asked, some new answers came out - I proposed another (clumsy) way of solving the problem, and somatic pointed out another context available that solved the issue much more cleanly.
I don't know how to address the issue, but I have a couple possible ideas:
- People with edit capabilities edit questions to add links to related questions where appropriate.
- A new feature be made available which gives moderators the ability to link questions somehow (so that the links be reciprocal, and associated somewhat more tightly than the current tag system does)
- Give questioners the opportunity to reopen questions which have been asked, answered, and accepted - if they don't believe the accepted answer is the best possible one.
Each of these issues have their own problems, and the 2nd and third require major changes in the SE system which would probably cause a number of other unintended problems, so I don't suggest them as serious feature requests at this point. I just want to hear what ideas other people here have on dealing with this. I've foubnd myself starting to down-vote some of the more negative answers on here, but I understand the frustration that leads to them. Does anyone have more productive ideas for dealing with duplicate/repetitive questions?