Something is clearly not working when several times per year, there are seemingly different questions are asked and marked as duplicates, because the answers are identical. Or in other words, the fact that I am the umpteenth person to ask some version of this question because I was unable to find the answer in 10-15 minutes of searching the internet and B&CG suggests that something is broken.

This is a failure of search or perhaps a failure of the stack overflow Q&A system for this sort of question.

Here is the question I asked that triggered this:


Here are a couple questions that well answer the question I initially had:

What order do triggered abilities happen in if multiple things trigger at the same time?

Pyxis of Pandemonium and 'enters the battlefield' abilities

Multiple permanents entering the battlefield simultaneously and “Enter the Battlefield” effects

Cards entering the battlefield simultaneously and "Enter the Battlefield" effects

This is just a sampling of what is available. There seem to be at least 15 versions of the question. Some of the questions are great with mediocre answers. Some of the questions are too narrow or less-than-optimal for other reasons yet had great answers. Some question/answer pairs were excellent but I could not have possibly found them because the questions were so different from what I asked.

I searched for 10 minutes on the internet then another 5 minutes on B&CG before asking the question, because I had not yet found an answer. The difficulty is that there is a single answer that is the same to many seemingly very different questions. For example, entering the battle field seems quite different than damage resolution - yet either of them can cause multiple cards to trigger which lead to the same answer.

I understand the answer now but the questions that had good answers were quite different from my initial question - none of them had to do with multiple cards triggering due to damage assignment.

I'm wondering how messes like this can be resolved to make it easier for people to find the answer to their question, when many very different versions of the question lead to the same answer?

It seems to me that one possible way to handle this is to somehow exploit an understanding of how stack overflow's search engine tends to work, so as to perhaps stack a bunch of different versions of the question and appropriate keywords into one, canonical version of the question and answer.

  • Honestly, I'm having a hard time imagining how you searched before posting. I put your question title verbatim into Google, and every one of the first five hits contained the answer to your question. Simple site searches with obvious keywords from your question also directly lead to the questions you linked. – murgatroid99 Nov 20 '15 at 17:02
  • @murgatroid99 for every mtg question I pose to B&CG, I have asked at least 50 that I found the answers to efficiently. Somehow I missed on this one - not sure what I did wrong with my keywords. I think the interesting thing here is that you can find literally over 15 questions on B&CG that have roughly the same answer, of which mine was just one. I think it's rare for a particular issue to generate so much duplication. The answer below is pretty good in terms of saying "that's okay - some issues are just like that and therefore end up with massive amount of duplication pointing to same Q&A. – Joe Golton Nov 20 '15 at 19:24

To start, we know the internal site search is bad at finding new information; it always has been. It's OK at topic searches, using tags, and it's fine for finding particular questions you've seen before, but if you have a question and you're looking for an answer, you're better off using Google Search.

Years ago, Jeff Atwood wrote a blog post on the official StackOverflow blog called Dr. Strangedupe: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love Duplication. As it says

One thing I want to be clear about, though, is that duplication is not necessarily bad. Quite the contrary -- some duplication is desirable. There’s often benefit to having multiple subtle variants of a question around, as people tend to ask and search using completely different words, and the better our coverage, the better odds people can find the answer they’re looking for. And isn't that, really, the whole point of this exercise?

You asked a question, and then it got closed as a duplicate, and now you have your answer. I'd say that the system worked.

  • OP said he searched the Internet (I assume Google search) for ten minutes. – Rainbolt Nov 20 '15 at 16:47

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