Continuing the discussion from Move X down to bottom to close "Your topic is similar to…" popup:
Yeh I’ve been pondering this one a bit myself. Improving the relevance check is definitely one part of it, but I also frequently encounter new duplicate topics on Meta that I know had good suggestions upon topic creation (I’ve tested it by creating a new topic and inserting their title & body).
I think an equally important side to this is getting the user to actually look at the suggestions. Personally I’ve become practically blind to it at this point. I don’t know how prevalent this “blindness” is, but in my case I frequent such a large portion of Meta that I feel pretty confident any new topic I make will not be a duplicate (also I tend to search before posting, but that can’t be expected of the average user IMO, that’s what the automatic topic search is there for after all). I fear this habit might have transferred with me to other forums as well, where I’m nowhere near as well versed in the forum’s content.
One idea I’m playing around with is to move the JIT notification into the preview field:
The way it could work is:
- You start typing, and at first all you see is your preview.
- Two paragraphs or so in, the suggestions pop up.
- If you just continue typing however, the pop-up will be folded down to an expandable “Your topic is similar to…”. This has the added effect of maybe making the user curious: “hmmm, I wonder if the suggestions are different now”.
I don’t know how exactly the relevance algorithm works, but it would also be very nice if there was a distinction between very relevant topics and only moderately relevant ones. Then the relevance search could further peak user’s interest with the occasional “Your topic is very similar to X other topics”, referring to topics with >80% relevance score (not a real thing afaik). Suddenly there’s an exact count for you to look at.
Not sure I’d even want this, but, further building on the hypothetical relevance score, we could also put an actual stop gap in front of “Create topic” if your topic has other topics >95% relevant to it. You’d click “Create topic” and you’d be hit with a warning like: “These other topics seem very closely related to yours. Could you please take a look and see if your topic isn’t already being discussed?”