I noticed this in a question from today:

I remember there was another question on this site regarding this, but it was less focused, and the answers haven't satisfied me

The question was eventually closed as duplicate but I can't tell if the dupe target is the one mentioned above; the wording is quite similar but doesn't look identical, and the asker didn't link to the older question.

How okay is this? My concern is that keeping answerers oblivious of older question puts them at risk of repeating points that were already made and explained there as well as depriving future site visitors of learning about related issues that may have been discussed there.


3 Answers 3


If the original is open

The appropriate response on Stack Exchange is to place a bounty on that other question, probably with the 'Improve details' as the bounty reason:

Bounty dialog

The model for Stack Exchange is that people come with a question and find the answer to it. Having multiple questions where the previous answers aren't satisfactory means that future visitors will have to look in multiple places to find the answer.

We try to alleviate this by having a clear to follow 'duplicate' system for closing questions. Asking duplicate questions just because the other answers weren't satisfactory is a clear breach of this in an attempt to work around the system.

If the original is closed

Think long and hard about why the original was closed. If you are to ask the same question again, you will likely have this question closed too.

If there is additional material that would make the original able to be reopened, considered adding that to the original rather than asking a new question.

If you cannot figure out how to make the original able to be reopened, asking the question again, especially when you clearly know it will be closed is poor etiquette on the site. It means people have to spend time answering your points or closing your question.


I think this can be summed up with one of your own canned responses to poor questions:

Sharing your research helps everyone. Tell us what you've tried and why it didn’t meet your needs. This demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to try to help yourself, it saves us from reiterating obvious answers, and most of all it helps you get a more specific and relevant answer. Also see How to Ask

When asking something that is close to another question it helps to research previous questions, provide links, and explain what is different.

If a question is a duplicate and the asker does not explain the difference between the new and old questions (if any) I will vote to close. If the question is different, even slightly, and the asker explains why his question is different or the accepted answer to the other question does not apply, I will give it the benefit of a doubt.


I would be tempted to vote down and comment such a question for insufficient research. If the questioner knows of a relevant existing question (whether open or closed), I would like them to take the time to find it, link it, and make the new question distinct.

The example question is much more specific than the linked duplicates, and attracted precise and concise answers. So I did not vote down.

Yet, everyone's experience would have been much nicer if we knew exactly which question had already been read and found to be too broad. That responsibility lies with the asker.

  • 1
    worth keeping in mind that we don't really know if any of the linked questions is the one mentioned by asker, since they didn't tell. Because of that, there is no way to tell if that other question (known only to asker) is better or worse, duplicate or not (and this is my concern)
    – gnat
    Sep 23, 2014 at 7:55

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