General Question

gailcalled's avatar

Why do some questions get asked and re-asked?

Asked by gailcalled (54553points) August 4th, 2008

Is there a secret database of questions that some people use as a resource?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

19 Answers

paulc's avatar

Yep and this was was the last one in the database. You have reached the end of the internet. Also, the search box on fluther is a bit diminutive. Coupled with people’s laziness I think it makes for prime re-ask-a-thons.

I wonder if I were to re-ask this question if some sort of endless loop would start.

andrew's avatar

We’re coming up on the boundary of human knowledge….

infinite loop! narrrrg!

gailcalled's avatar

(Hey. I can’t find a lot of questions that I asked here because I couldn’t remember the order of my tags. Type Milo in search box and you will get the novella and not the book.)

gailcalled's avatar

And under “Milo,” I see questions about tomato plants, unidentified bearded men in history and coincidences.

paulc's avatar

@gailcalled, I think you’re to blame for “Milo” bringing up the unhappy tomato plant question. You mentioned Milo in this response. But I’m glad to see you give your kitty fresh, high quality cat narcotics.

gailcalled's avatar

Fair enough, Paul. But the unknown bearded man – who was not U.S. Grant? And when will Milo learn to reciprocate?

gailcalled's avatar

Gadzooks. The umpteenth answer for the unknown bearded guy reads as follows:

“If you hung that beard on Milo, (or on me, for that matter) and then silk-screened it, you’d have a similar image.”

Paul: How did you do the link to my answer in the “You mentioned Milo in this response.”

marinelife's avatar

Apparently, people wonder the same things a lot. If you take some common Fluther questions and google them, you will find versions of them in YahooAnswers, WikiAnswers and other Q&As. I guess we are not as original thinkers as we thought. Or people are all encountering similar problems.

Of course, the answers on Fluther are far superior!

rowenaz's avatar

So who’s going to buy the new Iphone on the 11th??? OOoops…that’s already been asked….

richardhenry's avatar

Not to mention that the current search system seems to return random questions, no matter what you type in…

love you andrew

marinelife's avatar

@rh You are so right. I think of it as a cranky librarian. Some days it gives me what I want and some days it just tells me to go away, because it has nothing for me.

richardhenry's avatar

@Marina: or throws random books at you until you give up. :)

Knotmyday's avatar

Why would one need a secret database when we have this?

The best questions are yet to come.

paulc's avatar

@gailcalled I linked to the comment by taking the URL to the question and appending ”#quip” plus the response ID to the end of it. You can see the response ID by hovering over “Great Answer” or “Flag as…” to see where they will link (on your web browser’s status bar). You’ll find it at the end after ”?id=”

So an example for the question I’m replying to would be:

http://www.fluther.com/disc/19606/why-do-some-questions-get-asked-and-re-asked/#quip178403

gailcalled's avatar

@Paul; so little time, so much to learn. Thank you (and for the other Mac tricks you have taught me.)

robmandu's avatar

richardhenry hit on one aspect of the problem. The current search tool performs the most basic kind of string match. You search for “trip” and it hits on “trip” as well as “trips”, “weatherstripping”, “triplicate”, et cetera.

A tag search, like gailcalled favors, is not intuitively accessible. You need to open up a Question, any Question, and click on any of its tags… then modify the resulting url to use the tag word you want. I’m not sure that there’s a way to perform a multiple tag word search.

As a result, I, like others, rely on a Google search targeted solely at the Fluther site. It doesn’t differentiate between tag words and any others, but it has a lot of advanced operators to help refine your search terms. It works pretty much perfectly every time I search.

Finally, sometimes Questions are best repeated as new users will have new input, and they haven’t yet taken the time to exhaustively run down and answer all of the legacy Questions the pre-date their joining the Collective. Heck, some of us more established users might not answer a Question the first time, miss it/skip it/whatever, and when a repeat comes in, we answer that instead.

zina's avatar

I agree that the search function has a lot to do with this—for instance if yesterday I could have searched for “vegetarian” AND “recipe” (especially ONLY within the question, not answers) I could have found what I was looking for much more easily, instead of feeling bogged down by the many unrelated discussions with the word “vegetarian” somewhere tucked in it.

I also agree that some questions are good to ask again, but that on the other hand it gets tiring for older (longer) users—- and might be better if the older question could be added to and expanded (with new users, new ideas from older users) rather than having several separated discussions on the same/similar topic (which even with better search functions is a lot to flip through). How could that practice be started? Could someone chose to re-ask an older question (re-activate it), popping it to the top of the list? And then people add to it, it reappears in “new activity” , etc. ?

Perhaps eventually when you type a question, Fluther pops up with “have you seen this previous question?” (based on similar content in the words of the question, plus tags)

Also, I’ve been thinking that the repeated questions are an incredible (as yet un-tapped?) resource, for Fluther creators or observant Flutherites. I mean, we know now that there is decisively a need for a well-known vegetarian resource online, with simple tips, nutritional advice, and lots of quick recipes. There are many other examples. Ben and Andrew could sell this information to companies for big bucks!! :-)

nina's avatar

That’s why they are called Eternal Questions,no?

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