I've been wondering whether new users of the site might get a little disenchanted when they find that, whatever question they ask, some old hand pops up with a link to a previous question and says 'we've already had that'. And then closes their new question.

Is this likely to become a problem ?

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  • "Yes". Did that help? (this isn't an answerable question, since we won't know until it happens) – Rahul May 1 '12 at 16:55
  • @Rahul except no, there really isn't. This post begs the question by implying there are in fact limited problems in this space. – Ben Brocka Jun 23 '12 at 15:39

Just as information for readers, here's a graph of closure rates (percentage of questions) per month up until Mar 2012. Clearly there is an upward trend for closures generally.

enter image description here

data source

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  • Thanks Roger - and from looking at your data - the left scale is a ratio / not the absolute amount. So a greater percentage of the questions are being closed off recently. – PhillipW May 1 '12 at 21:34
  • April continues the upward trend with 23% of questions closed. – Roger Attrill May 14 '12 at 10:53
  • @PhillipW and Roger: To stem the alarmism of the incomplete graph, June is currently at 15.4%. Plus most closures aren't duplicate closures, so I don't really even consider this relevant. We get a lot of NarQs, Not Constructive and Off Topic posts. Since the moderator elections we've had more active moderators as well, so it's been easier to keep control over things. There are far too many factors doing into this graph to assume it says anything about duplicates. – Ben Brocka Jun 23 '12 at 15:34
  • Thanks @BenBrocka - I was kind of assuming/hoping that this graph wasn't going to keep going right past the 100% mark :-) Something else the graph doesn't relate to the viewer is the time between open and close. Stand down from amber alert - we are now on green! – Roger Attrill Jun 25 '12 at 10:31


There are, at this exact moment in time, a finite number of user experience problems. It is an extremely large number of problems and could probably keep this site going on for the rest of our lifetimes, all technology, software and people remaining the same.

But that's not how it works. We end up with new technologies, new interaction patterns and even new conventions, social expectations and laws. There's new psychological and market research to base decisions on, new findings to critically evaluate and test.

When we have tactile touch screens suddenly there will be a burst of new situations for questions. The same is true for if 3D becomes common for interfaces, or virtual reality, or smart homes/ect. To assume there is a limited amount of questions assumes there is a limited amount of work to be done. There isn't.

If this site was shifted back in time 6 years do you think we would have 200 questions? No, because mobile was almost a fevered dream, cell phones were awkward dumb devices and Blackberries and PDAs were only used by the tech elite or savvy businessmen. Now we're on the road to Smartphones being more popular than just "phones". There wasn't or or , and a was just a Wacom; only viable for the design industry, not normal users. In 6 years the world of tech has shifted more than other industries have in decades, and with that comes more UX challenges.

See also Ninefinger's excellent post on a Meta Stack Overflow post about the same topic.

Yes, we've covered many of the big issues in current UX. Yes, we had that discussion on the Floppy disc icon. Yes, we talked about progress bars animating "backwards". But there's still a lot of ground to explore and much of that ground to cover doesn't exist yet.

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  • Nice response Ben. I guess technology will continue to evolve. – PhillipW Jun 24 '12 at 20:34

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