A couple of questions that I have asked on this site have been marked duplicates and I have seen people attach the link of the previously asked question quickly (not just on mine, but on all other people's questions as well). I would like to know how they search for the question so quickly. Thanks!

P.S. So as no ironical situation is generated, I tried my best to search the site for questions that my question could possibly duplicate. I seriously hope my efforts brought me success, and if not, then my question will have a live example.

Edit: As shown be Arnaud Mortier, I was unsuccessful as we have a live example here. But partly because, the question whose duplicate is my question, happened to be on meta and my search was limited only to Math SE.

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    $\begingroup$ I think it is an excellent question, $\endgroup$
    – Slup
    Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 9:49
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    $\begingroup$ @Slup It is, but it is a duplicate of another 15 questions already. Just kidding. It belongs in the meta site, however. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 9:50
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    $\begingroup$ Approach0 lets you to search postings in this community more efficiently. It also supports search by expression, which is quite helpful for finding duplicate questions for integrals, limits, and so forth. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 10:22
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    $\begingroup$ Of course, we expect all new users to read the previous 1,163,856 questions before posting. ;-) $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 10:46
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    $\begingroup$ If you have sufficient reputation to talk in chat, you can also as in the room devoted to searching. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 11:24
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    $\begingroup$ @Hans, I think Asaf and quid have actually done that. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 11:31
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    $\begingroup$ @Gerry: To be fair when I started using the site it was very possible to read all the questions. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 14:32
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    $\begingroup$ @Asaf those were the good old days. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 21:42
  • $\begingroup$ Some useful advice on searching is summarized here: How to search on this site? $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 8, 2019 at 6:31
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    $\begingroup$ @HansLundmark I would be happy if the answerers had developed a sense of what has already been asked. Actually, I think they have developed that sense, for it is difficult to imagine a prolific answerer without an upward learning curve. Anyway, the answerers could then pass that knowledge to the askers. What irritates me is that some of them choose not to do that. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 8, 2019 at 8:27
  • $\begingroup$ @JyrkiLahtonen: Couldn't agree more! $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 8, 2019 at 11:13

1 Answer 1


People here are able to find duplicates quickly because they have a broad view of the different topics and questions being asked, and know what are the relevant keywords that may help them find a duplicate.

If you don't have much experience, it may be harder to find the relevant keywords in your problem (they are often not the ones you would use yourself to describe your problem).

There is also a database of very frequent duplicates, which helps answerers find duplicates with no need to use the searching tool. However, I don't think that it would be very efficient for someone who wants to ask a question to check if it's not already in this list, as the probability of this happening is still low, and the list is not so easy to browse for the untrained eye.

  • $\begingroup$ What about the "not so frequent duplicates"? Is there something for those? Like, for the questions not in that database. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 10:01
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    $\begingroup$ @AryanSonwatikar Just try your best to find the key concepts in your question. But if you fail, it's not the end of the world. Most questions are duplicates anyway now, even if the speed of the flow does not allow for all of them to be caught. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 10:04
  • $\begingroup$ It isn't the end of the world, but it does feel embarrassing. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 10:07
  • $\begingroup$ searching by tag is semi helpful, if you've thought of the correct tags, but useless otherwise. $\endgroup$
    – user645636
    Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 13:19

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