This page is part of the Moderating Microsoft Forums series.

Duplicate postings (either as posts within threads or new threads that are created) pose a special problem for forum health. Duplicate postings must be managed carefully because they present these issues:

·        Can artificially inflate the importance of an issue.

·        Can negatively impact searching results as the importance becomes artificially inflated.

·        Will artificially skew some metrics in terms of threads, posts, views, etc.

·        May indicate the presence of SPAM.

A person who creates duplicate posts usually does so because they want to sensationalize their issue or they want to make sure their issue gains traction. Additionally, duplicate postings can occur when a novice user is not aware of a duplicate post.

Guidance

Duplicate Posts in Same Forum

As explained in the article on Managing Posts and Threads: Merging Threads, true duplicates by the same user in the same forum can be collapsed into a single thread:

 

  • If there are no replies to one of the original posts in a thread, the one without replies can be deleted.
     
  • If there are replies in either or both of the original posts, merge one into the other. 

 

Duplicate Posts in Multiple Forums

To describe guidance for situations where a user creates multiple posts in multiple forum properties in an effort to gain traction for the issue, refer to Figure 1.

Figure 1: Reference to Another Post
This post was created in Microsoft Answers, but points to an MSDN thread. What to do when a thread starts in one brand, but is also posted in others to get traction. The correct procedure to follow in this situation is:

1.      The problem should be solved where the problem should actually live. In this scenario, A Visual Studio 2008 post should be discussed on MSDN. However, since the issue is already discussed on MSDN without much success, we don’t want to simply move the thread to MSDN. That would leave the customer with a bad experience.

2.      Escalate the issue to a forum owner or the private moderator forum to help gain traction where the thread lives (MSDN).

3.      Once a response is given where the thread lives, the thread is now effectively “owned” by the other property.

4.      Notify users of the thread being discussed in the incorrect place (Microsoft Answers) that the thread is now being handled correctly and that the thread will be locked for one week and then deleted after that.

5.      Immediately lock the thread.

6.      Delete the thread after one week.

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