If so, are there any guidelines on how close the question needs to be to another questions in order for it to count as a 'bad question'?

Are there any particular rules of thumb for searching out questions before asking?

Is a simple google search enough and if so, should it be as simple as 'if you have not at least googled the title of the question you are asking and checked if there was anything useful you shouldn't be asking the question'?

  • 1
    they might be similar but not the same. That said, I've occationally gotten questions suggested as I type a title that solved my issue. So... it really depends
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Mar 12, 2016 at 10:56
  • Some duplicates are actually duplicates of good but very old questions. Some of these will even solve problems some users didn't even know they had, so on the off chance that the new duplicate question solves these kinds of problems, I say no, don't downvote them! Save them from the reaches of oblivion!
    – ecube
    Mar 12, 2016 at 17:42
  • Without specific examples its tough to answer this question.
    – Ramhound
    Mar 12, 2016 at 23:56
  • Just an observation: For people with enough rep to vote on closure, closing as a duplicate is the normal solution to duplicates. Users with insufficient rep for that can flag a duplicate question. People don't generally downvote on the basis of a question being a duplicate. The downvote reason is typically that the question is poor independent of that, or it is aggregious; like a user reposting the same question over and over because responses weren't fast enough, or Googling the key word finds the answer in the first few results, so obviously, no effort was made.
    – fixer1234
    Jun 13, 2016 at 6:45

1 Answer 1


Let's see what the downvote button's tooltip has to say about this:

This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful

If you ask a duplicate question without mentioning things you've searched for and looked at, people very well might downvote you. You should at least look through the questions suggested by the new-question title box's search feature. If a duplicate question appears in the sidebar under "Related" after you post your question, you're going to get closed in a hurry and probably downvoted once or twice too.

I suggest using Google to search for several ideas/terms related to your question. (Bonus points for using the advanced features - putting site:superuser.com in the query makes Google search only Super User.) If you think your question is widely-applicable enough that people have probably thought of it before (e.g. "Aaaaah! My drive shows up as RAW and I can't access anything!"), you'd better do some serious searching here first. Be aware that Stack Exchange search - the box in the upper-right - is not the best, and Google does a lot better.

A well-written duplicate question that somehow didn't find the original in reasonable searching efforts is not a terrible thing. Conversely, if you ask a duplicate and ask it badly (unclear or poorly formatted), prepare for downvotes. I personally downvote duplicates very rarely.

  • I just type superuser.com: my question in google. Also seems to work. Even better with Chrome you can have a custom keyword e.g. SU:
    – jiggunjer
    Jun 23, 2016 at 1:40

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