I have a robot model that consists of several objects and I want a scene with many robots in different positions. My current approach is to group all of the objects of the robot and then make a linked duplicate of that group. Every time I do that, however, each part of the robot (left arm, right leg, etc.) gets duplicated with a unique name ( left arm 001, right leg 001, etc.). I don't want each object to have a unique name, I just want each robot group to have a unique name. Can I make folders or use parenting so that my Outliner isn't flooded with duplicates? Any suggestions?
Use a parent empty (or parent armature) for the robot. If a robot has a parent then its children display can be collapsed in outline view thus reducing clutter. When you duplicate include the parent empty to maintain this feature. All robots will then have collapsible view from parent. As you duplicate an original group ... remove the duplicate from all groups and create a new group for it. Thus each robot will be in a single new group including parent.
Parents in the outliner and ... Groups in the group view of the outliner have a collapsible interface ... like folder views in OS UIs.
Once this is done your concern about object names may lessen. It may not be possible to have duplicate object names in Blender.
Perhaps consider Linking the robot from a different file and using group instancing . Particles and Dupligroups may help.