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iamthemob's avatar

Do you think Fluther should have a section consolidating/archiving questions?

Asked by iamthemob (17159points) August 31st, 2010

I feel like much of the time there are multiple questions because people don’t know it’s been asked before. Searches bring up a lot of irrelevant results. The cousin function is fantastic, but you need to locate a question in order to use it (as far as I’ve seen). And people attempting to be diligent are only going to look back so far to see if there’s something similar…and even if there is, if it’s too far back, the better option may be to post it again to get new feedback (you can’t assume everyone is still following it, although the notification function is great at partially addressing the issue).

I would love to see a new section of “previously asked questions” where these were consolidated in a manner for quick viewing. If this were grouped into categories, such as “Questions Asking When You Need A Lawyer,” and then was followed by a summary of the majority opinion of the community and some interesting outlier responses, that would be great. I have a lot more thoughts on possibilities and problems…but I was wondering if people had thoughts.

And if this has been asked or tried before…I apologize…but ain’t that the point? ;-)

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26 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I wouldn’t mind such a change.

iamthemob's avatar

Sure…but would you want it? :-)

And what would you want to see in it, what functions…if any, etc.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

I would love some version of a search engine so that I might be able to get some answers from a question I would have asked myself.

iamthemob's avatar


Have you used the search tool bar at the top of the page? Or do you mean something more specific then…

rooeytoo's avatar

I thought there was a search engine??? And I think it is a good idea from a research point of view.

But regardless I think there are always new people coming and going so even if a question has been asked before, there are new responses when it is asked again. And some questions are fun no matter how many times they come up.

iamthemob's avatar


Of course…but this isn’t necessarily to stop duplication so much as reduce it. And yeah, there will always be questions that make you go “hmmm?” (or “really?”). But those can always be glossed over.

Those people coming and going, however, aren’t always (or even usually) asking the exact question…and even if they are, they would then be consolidated with the older questions (like if someone did a weekly sweep).

This might even function as a blog post, or new blog, to reduce search time…

augustlan's avatar

We have something kind of like that now (very new). If you click on any topic, it will take you to a page where you can view questions that have been tagged with that topic. You can also see who has listed that topic in their profile.

iamthemob's avatar


I almost referenced that in the original question, and then thought it was getting too long and would inevitably just be skimmed and missed anyway…so thanks for bringing that up! :-)

I like this function, and indeed it solves some of the problem. But don’t you have to be on a question with the relevant topic to do so? And doesn’t that sort of depend a little too much on the poster listing the topics fully? It also doesn’t really allow quick and dirty searches, which is what I think is missing…or a summary of what people thought of the question so far…

augustlan's avatar

@iamthemob It’s in its infancy at the moment, and I suspect the functionality of it will improve over time. Something we’re definitely working on.

iamthemob's avatar


Of course…I’m not demanding full functionality now now now! :-)

What kind of functionality are you considering adding then?

timtrueman's avatar

Just thought I’d give an (semi) official response as one of the developers at Fluther…

We are going to build out a new search feature that actually works. Once we have that we’ll probably eventually add in an automated search to pull up possibly related (or duplicate) questions while you are asking questions. There’s no known ETA on this stuff but I’d say after Apple releases new iPods and before we colonize Mars but perhaps as early as the next full moon if I had to guess.

iamthemob's avatar


HA! I love that time frame. I might begin judging my time frame by cycles of the moon…

Awesome about the search feature. And that’s a great idea about related/duplicates.

So what to people think about consolidation and summarization? I feel as if we’re trying to tap into the community intelligence…we should start trying to track it (before it gets too out of control to start).

timtrueman's avatar

I’m not 100% sure what you’re envisioning with “consolidation and summarization” but I’d wait to see some decent improvements to the topic system that are on the way.

iamthemob's avatar


I mean something that can’t really be done through a tech solution…where the questions are grouped, consolidated or summarized in a means that allows the community to see the general responses or response bias of the community (no complex calculations needed). So if there are a couple of questions regarding what the nature of god is, and this could consolidate all the answers, removing unresponsive or duplicate answers, and summarizing the general responses (50% of responders believed in a God, and that entity was essentially good).

I realized that my question regarding the community could have been read to be addressed only to you…sorry! That was meant to read as a question to the community in general…:-)

timtrueman's avatar

We’ve talked about various ways to “curate” content like that but taking any action on that is a little further off…we’re focusing our efforts on the core of the product right now.

iamthemob's avatar

Great – what kind of options did were discussed?

Or, what does everyone thinks should be involved in such a system. Again, I’m sort of interested in some form of community response record…anyone else?

flo's avatar

That sounds like a very helpful feature, I am for anything that saves time,

zen_'s avatar

I want fluther to be able to read my mind.

iamthemob's avatar


“There’s an app for that.” ;-)

Actually, it’s not as fun as you think. There end up being some MESSED UP questions using the mindreader app. Messed…up….

You should probably suggest something a step or two below that. ;-)

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

I’ve found that the search bar at the top searches for profiles. I mean like when you click on a tag under the question and it takes you to other questions with similar topics.

iamthemob's avatar


Did you see timtrueman’s comment above? They’re apparently working on making the search actually work (to paraphrase his words).

YARNLADY's avatar

Yes, I can hardly wait.

wundayatta's avatar

Out of curiosity—has anyone tried to use Google’s main search to find stuff here (instead of the so-called “customized” search)?

Anyway, what you are talking about is called cataloging a collection. It is labor intensive because there aren’t really good automated cataloging programs. Without true AI, I’m not sure it’s possible. Human minds are very quirky things. They all organize material differently. Only other humans have half a chance of sorting stuff in a way that will help others. Software? I don’t think so.

iamthemob's avatar


Indeed-that’s exactly what I’m talking about. This would have to be done by a human (or several, more than likely). That part of it requires living decision making.

But we have moderators, and blogging about the site, and content that requires writers…so this is possible as well.

ETpro's avatar

Sounds like a good idea to me. It would take some serious thought to design a structure that actually accomplishes the goal, but if it can be done, it would be a great boon. I agree, search is currently weak. I search before asking questions and have still ended up asking a duplicate because the search didn’t show the dupe.

iamthemob's avatar


And if there is one dupe, maybe you missed two?

Enough manpower starting at an early enough time, and after a certain point data can be compiled at certain intervals by a much smaller group of people. That’s what I would call “tapping the community.”

Of course, I always want to say “tap THAT community,” cause it sounds more street.

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