3

After reviewing a large number of questions suggested for closure because of being duplicates, I wondered whether there is (as I would expect) a correlation between the number of questions closed as duplicates and the total number of questions asked.

4

I did this the hard way, by manually running searches per year, filtering by duplicates and total. This isn't necessarily the best indicator, as it doesn't address deleted posts.

Year | Dupes | Total | % Dupes
2019 | 82    | 1221  | 6.72%
2018 | 238   | 3362  | 7.08%
2017 | 224   | 3249  | 6.89%
2016 | 233   | 3224  | 7.23%
2015 | 266   | 4199  | 6.33%
2014 | 179   | 3984  | 4.49%
2013 | 98    | 2886  | 3.40%
2012 | 71    | 2707  | 2.62%
2011 | 44    | 2197  | 2.00%
2010 | 16    | 1375  | 1.16%
2009 | 0     | 50    | 0.00%

Perhaps a breakdown by month may be more informative, but one thing which shows up very blatantly is that while, as you'd expect, the first several years had relatively few duplicates in proportion to the total questions asked, from about 2015 on, it's plateaued around 6-7%. There's certainly not significantly more duplicates this year than previous years; indeed, it's the lowest percentage since 2015.

A slightly different picture emerges when deleted posts are accounted for; h/t to Monica for this list:

Year | Dupes | Total | % Dupes
2019 | 95    | 1386  | 6.85%
2018 | 350   | 4046  | 8.65%
2017 | 341   | 4013  | 8.50%
2016 | 385   | 4095  | 9.40%
2015 | 354   | 4846  | 7.30%
2014 | 250   | 4515  | 5.53%
2013 | 132   | 3223  | 4.10%
2012 | 90    | 2893  | 3.11%
2011 | 53    | 2267  | 2.34%
2010 | 22    | 1427  | 1.54%
2009 | 0     | 52    | 0.00%

While 2019 isn't on this list, we do see a slightly different pattern here: rather than plateauing at 2015, it takes until 2016, and then the percentage begins to drop.

Either way, I don't think it's much to worry about.

  • Thank you. [15 char] – Avrohom Yitzchok Apr 1 at 10:27
  • With deletions: 2018 350/4046; 2017 341/4013; 2016 385/4095; 2015 354/4846; 2014 250/4515; 2013 132/3223; 2012 90/2893; 2011 53/2267; 2010 22/1427; 2009 0/52. Arithmetic is left as an exercise for the reader. – Monica Cellio Apr 2 at 15:49
  • @Monica Thanks! Edited that in. – DonielF Apr 2 at 15:58
  • Oh right, forgot the current partial year. Here you go: 2019 95/1386. – Monica Cellio Apr 2 at 16:01
  • 2
    I wonder how duplicated our most-duplicated questions are; I don't think dupes are evenly distributed, but rather I think there are some foundation questions that have been asked many times in different ways and ultimately lead to a single target (possibly through intermediate duplicates). Constructing that kind of graph is way beyond my querying skills, though. – Monica Cellio Apr 2 at 16:03
  • These conclusions lead to the question: are there more deleted questions as there are more questions? – Lo ani May 4 at 22:04
  • @MonicaCellio ^^ – DonielF May 5 at 1:59

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