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One of our moderators recently posted about the increasing need to keep the site tidy - and one of the tasks there is voting to close questions that are duplicates.

Of course this often a good thing to do - but one thing I am seeing more often is someone asking a question in a commonly-asked-about area - "How do I get started" is an example - and one of our experienced users will often start their answer by saying "I'm sure I've seen some similar questions before, but..."

I take this to mean that other users often feel the same as me: I recognise a question that is in an area that gets asked about frequently, and I do a few searches using different combinations of keywords to see if I can find a duplicate, but I'm not really able to find a question with a good answer to the particular new question that has been posted. Often I might find a somewhat similar but ultimately distinct question with a good answer, and a very similar question without a good answer, but no similar question with a good answer.

I think part of this is because text search is a bit difficult on this site - very similar questions can be asked from so many angles, with so many different wordings, that text indexing only goes so far.

My question then - could we could we curate a list of questions in commonly-asked-about areas with good answers? This should greatly speed up some VTC-as-duplicate tasks, and avoid the whole "I'm sure I've seen this before..." scenario. We could start with what to learn/do first questions, and expand it out from there. "What keyboard/guitar/telharmonium should I buy" would also be an area where we could find some questions that give suitable general recommendations (not of specific products, of course, but of features/characteristics to consider looking for.)

A good way to initially populate this list might be to go through the list of questions already closed as duplicates, and see if there are any obvious target questions there that would qualify.... though I'm not sure how you search for questions closed as duplicate...

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Over on Stack Overflow under the C tag on the tag info page there is a list of Frequently Asked Questions with links to canonical answers. Maybe something similar could be done here at SE Music. For example, the theory tag info page, the learning tag info page, and other frequently visited tags could be edited to include FAQ lists of theory-related questions, learning-related questions, etc. This might be a natural way to keep this information organized and easy to find.

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I wonder if such a task would be a good time to implement a community wiki question that lists various topics. We could also go the TeX.SE route; they have a big-list tag that often provides such lists that don't follow the standard question-and-answer format.

(With that said, I also have some reservations that such a move would be a slippery slope that could do some damage to our current format.)

  • Where do you think the slope might make us slip to? – topo Reinstate Monica Apr 13 '18 at 22:47
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    I just think the big-list option is good for something like TeX.SE, but I don't think it's good for our field. As long as we're aware that such an option would be a very rare occurrence, I'm all for it. Also, that's just one option among many on how to approach your idea. – Richard Apr 13 '18 at 22:49
  • @DavidBowling Exactly my fear. – Richard Apr 13 '18 at 23:09
  • We'd definitely have to be more on top of it than we are our current tags. – Dom Apr 16 '18 at 14:22

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