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This is annoying. I spend $15$ minutes looking for resources online for a question I have, I check SE, approach$0$, all the wikis, etc. and have found nothing. So, I spend a good while writing up my question on SE. Then, a few minutes after I post it, a user posts a direct link to a duplicate of my question that wasn't even listed in similar questions while I wrote mine.

To make matters worse, I find questions like this and this, obvious duplicates of each other, that have been allowed for 7 years...

Not only is this really frustrating in and of itself, but then these closed and dup questions go down as my error and prevent me from having a positive question record.

So my question is: why do dups appear all over the sight and aren't flagged, but my dup questions are found in an instant?

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    $\begingroup$ Having your questions closed as a duplicate don't affect your "question record", if I understand correctly. $\endgroup$ Apr 29 at 18:18
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    $\begingroup$ Clearly it's a conspiracy and everybody is out to get you. What answer are you looking for here? Sometimes people remember a similar question or search for a similar question and flag and sometimes they don't. $\endgroup$ Apr 29 at 21:00
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    $\begingroup$ I have had such an experience. I used my search skills for a problem that occurred to me, the converse to a well-known proposition. Shortly after it was answered, it was closed as a duplicate. Seeing why my search strategy failed in that particular case was interesting, and I feel fairly treated. But I can empathize! $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Apr 29 at 22:45
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    $\begingroup$ @ArcticChar FYI, the answer/comments, to Will asking too many duplicate questions lead to a question ban? from $2013$ indicates duplicates could be a factor. However, as specifically indicated in Do non-duplicate closed questions contribute to a post ban?, the Revision 34 in $2018$ from Tim Post (who was a SO community manager then) states "No, there's no automatic penalty applied for questions that are marked as a duplicate of another." ... $\endgroup$ Apr 30 at 2:01
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    $\begingroup$ @ArcticChar (cont.) Also, his Edit summary is "Other misconception: dupes don't automatically get you banned or something, it's the votes that patterns of low quality tend to attract that does that." I guess that SO realized later it's often not easy to search the site to find duplicate questions, so it's not fair to penalize askers, such as Clyde, who had put in a good faith effort. I've read almost all Meta questions, as well as most answers, since then, but nothing about this. Also, my search didn't find anything more recent, plus Tim's edit is to the FAQ, so I assume it's still current. $\endgroup$ Apr 30 at 2:10
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    $\begingroup$ One can look also on the positives: 1. When asking a question on Mathematics, the OP is usually interesting to find some answers. Any links (to duplicates or to related posts) certainly help with that. 2. The effort you put into the question is not in vain - the next time somebody searches for the same problem, if they use similar keywords as in your post, they will find your post and in that way they'll find the duplicate. In short, duplicates can help with searching. $\endgroup$ Apr 30 at 6:05
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    $\begingroup$ I only see three duplicate questions among your posts - so the situation is definitely not too bad. (Of course, I do not see whether some of your questions are deleted - there might be some duplicates too.) In case you think that some advice on search would help you to locate duplicates, you can check out the searching chatroom and the advice in this post: How to search on this site? $\endgroup$ Apr 30 at 6:06

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Positive aspects of duplicates

One can also look at the positives when a question is closed as a duplicate.

  • When asking a question on Mathematics Stack Exchange, the OP is usually interested in finding some answers. Any links (to duplicates or to related posts) certainly help with that.
  • The effort you put into the question is not in vain - the next time somebody searches for the same problem, if they use similar keywords as in your post, they will find your post and in that way they'll find the duplicate. In short, duplicates can help with searching.

Don't worry about this too much

I do not think that you have to worry about duplicates too much. You have mentioned positive question record. As far as question ban is concerned, downvotes are definitely more relevant than duplicate closures. A well-written question can end up with a positive score, even if it is a duplicate. And in any case, you don't seem to be in any immediate danger of a question ban.

One can consider positive question record also in connection with the Curious, Inquisitive and Socratic badges - but still, if there aren't too many duplicates, this should not be a problem.

I only see four duplicate questions among your posts - so the situation is definitely not too bad. (Of course, I do not see whether some of your questions are deleted - there might be some duplicates among those, too.)

As far as the Socratic badge is concerned, it seems that you're safely above the threshold. (Again, the data are based only on the posts which aren't deleted. The query is taken from Glorfindel's answer to this question: Track next Socratic badge progress.)

Avoiding duplicates

Still, if you want to make it less likely that you post a duplicate question, some possibilities what to do:

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I too was frustrated by this effect earlier, and, I think I can give a plausible explanation. For a new question, there are more people seeing it than an old one. Since the statement of intent of the site has changed over time, people's behaviour have changed and have started to close such questions.

As it is used right now , the close as a dupe feature is more about triage than filtering/ curating content on the site.

I an fairly certain that this won't be an issue in the long term as with technological development there would be auto dupe closing software, and then, we'd have a reopen queue used mainly rather than close votes queue.

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    $\begingroup$ The first two paragraphs make a lot of sense. The third paragraph is just speculation. I'd also speculate that it is wrong, but I've got almost no evidence to back that up. $\endgroup$ May 13 at 14:59

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