I had a question a while back that was closed because it was thought to be an exact duplicate, and it almost was. The reason I asked the question again is because I found no answer that, I believe, would help me. So my question is, how do I get a question re-opened after it was closed, and how can I stop my question from getting closed in the first place? Thanks.

3 Answers 3


The answer to both of your questions is the same: make your question not a duplicate.

Since you didn't link to your question, and I'm too lazy to search for it, I'll just give you some general advice:

  • If the answer to the existing question didn't work for you, mention that. And don't just say, "It didn't work" - tell us how it didn't work. Example:

    How might I frobnicate a widget?

    I have three widgets that need frobnicating. I found this earlier question on the subject, but the answer there doesn't work for me - you see, my widgets all have flywheel grommets, and the Potrzebie method recommended there results in clogged ducts.

  • If the answer to the existing question works, but you're interested in finding other solutions, describe the attributes of an alternate solution, and why you might want a solution with such attributes:

    How could I measure the effectiveness of adding more team members to an already-late project?

    I'm about to hire 30 consultants to slam our doomed re-write into overdrive, but my boss wants us to collect metrics to justify it. The answer here suggests counting lines of code produced per week; while I have to admit that seems like a simple and effective metric, I'd like to have a fall-back in case the consultants catch wind of this - are there any measurements I could take that would not be so easily gamed?

    Be aware, if you end up getting good, general-purpose answers, your question may be merged back into the original...

  • If you simply don't understand the existing answers, then do some research first. Ask specific questions as they come up. Once you have a solid understanding, go back and post your own answer, or edit the existing one for clarity.

  • If you're convinced that the world has changed completely in the 8.5 months since that last answer was posted, and by now we must have better ways of accomplishing the same thing, then leave a comment or post a bounty and ask. Who knows? You might be right. But don't ask the same question again; even if you're lucky, chances are you'll just get the same answers... Or links to the existing answers. If you're unlucky, you'll get worse answers. And then get closed.


Since you only have one question closed as a duplicate, let me speak specifically to that one. The duplicate question received an impressive amount of helpful answers on the subject. Your only distinction seemed to be that those answers were not basic enough for a complete beginner, but it's not a beginner topic. It requires a foundational understanding of computer science of the sort one usually gets in a university degree.

I'm not an elitist who believes a university degree is the only way to learn those concepts, but there are a few tasks that require that knowledge one way or the other, if you want a halfway decent chance of succeeding. Designing a programming language and its tools is one of them. Even with that background, only maybe 10% of professional developers I know could design a compiler.

I would suggest revisiting the duplicate's answers, looking up any concepts you aren't familiar with, and keep digging deeper until you hit concepts you know, and build from there.


In general you should edit your question so that you are clear about the distinction between it and the possible duplicate. Once you've done that, flag the question for moderator attention and we'll review it. The fact that it's been closed will mean that you've a slightly higher bar to reach, but we try to be fair and often questions do get reopened.

However, be careful that you don't end up making the question too localised to your specific situation and this time. This would mean that the question isn't of wider use to the community and could end up staying closed. Take a look at the FAQ - particularly the diagram. You're aiming for the blue part.

You can also post a link here where other members of the community will see it and can vote to reopen if they agree. Having other votes to reopen are a good thing.

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