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Here's a problem that I have run into a couple of times recently.
When writing a question - how could I effectively search that the puzzle hasn't been asked before?

This problem is, I believe, unique to puzzling SE. This is because the search for duplicate questions searches through the titles of the question. And in Puzzling SE - the title of the question is hardly an indicator for the actual puzzle (as opposed to other straightforward Q & E SE's). Therefore, it is extremely difficult to find if my puzzle has been asked before.

My suggestion is perhaps to spread awareness through the community to be easier on people asking a duplicate question. We may certainly tag it duplicate but try and avoid down-voting etc.

Am I going wrong somewhere?

P.s. if this question is a duplicate... :-)

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    $\begingroup$ You can also search on Google using site:puzzling.stackexchange.com. Can be helpful for context-aware searching. $\endgroup$ – Aza Feb 25 '16 at 19:19
  • $\begingroup$ related : Should we downvote duplicates? $\endgroup$ – Fabich May 30 '16 at 14:07
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+1 for thinking on duplicates. I think you're right that it can often not be avoided by newcomers, but I don't agree with "beeing easier" on those question.

As a poster, you should not feel personally attacked if your puzzle is down-voted. It is a measure of how well your puzzle is received and helps "bubble-sorting" the content of the site.

Down-voting is at least as important as up-voting or closing.

Personally, I wouldn't automatically downvote just because it is a duplicate, but I surely would downvote a duplicate, if it doesn't offer anything new or could be easily spotted as duplicate.

It is rather rare (on Puzzling) that anyone would loose massive amounts of rep due to downvoting, so if you post a puzzle and it is as duplicate, just accept it's going to be down-voted and don't be angered by it. Try again with a newer puzzle to make up for it!

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    $\begingroup$ I’m a partisan of down voting “bad” questions. On most other SE, when the asker did little work (say “What does ‘dog’ mean?” on ELL.SE – the answer being “well, have you tried looking in a dictionary?”); badly written question , etc. Well written, well researched duplicates? Mark them as duplicates. No need to down vote a good question because someone else already asked it before. $\endgroup$ – Édouard Mar 4 '16 at 15:56

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