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I have been trying to search for an answer to a problem for the last few weeks. I found a question that was identical to the problem I was facing. However, there didn't seem to be a real solution posted to the question. I thought of contacting the original poster to see if he/she ever found a solution to the problem. However, the poster didn't have any contact information listed and I couldn't find a way to IM the poster.

Since there was no way to IM the original poster, posting a question on the original thread itself seemed to be the best way to get more information short of creating duplicate questions. So I posted another question in the thread since the existing thread didn't provide sufficient information; perhaps the original poster just forgot to update it. However, my post was deleted by the moderator.

So how do you try to find out more information about a problem that has already been posed before without creating duplicate questions and without having the moderator delete it?

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(As an aside: see also How do I contact other users?) –  Arjan Dec 2 '11 at 10:12
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4 Answers 4

up vote 18 down vote accepted

If the original question has:

  1. Been marked as accepted (there's a tick next to the top answer) but the accepted answer doesn't help you.
  2. Been asked a while ago and there has been no recent activity (see the side bar on the right, the last edited date or the date of the newest answer).

then post a new question.

Make sure you reference the existing question and explain that the solution doesn't work in your case. Basically highlight the differences between your problem and the existing one.

Then (hopefully) your question won't get closed as a duplicate.

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+1 This can be a difficult place for a newer user who is trying to fit in or getting questanswers deleted. –  Andrew's a Unitato Dec 2 '11 at 10:20
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Your first wrong assumption is the word "thread". There are no threads on Stack Exchange, there are only questions. Questions do have answers, and not further questions.

There's a guide on what to do with old, unanswered questions which need some attention, though, that most likely will not apply to you.

Your best possibility to get some attention to that question is to edit the question and add your research and what you've found out so far as additional information.

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You posted a question as an answer, so it got deleted.

If you have an identical question, comment on the original question and on the answer.

If you have enough reputation, you can post a bounty on the question. That will certainly cause it to get renewed attention.

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I don't think the OP has enough rep to comment yet. –  Flexo Dec 2 '11 at 10:19
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Stack Exchange sites are not forums, where somebody can post a question about the question asked from the OP; the format of Stack Exchange site is question/answer, where an answer really provides an answer to the question being asked (and it is not a comment about the question). This means that posting something similar to the following will cause the post to be deleted.

  • Me too!
  • I have a similar problem: [description of the problem]. Can you help me?
  • Did you find a solution for your problem?
  • This is not the site where to ask this type of questions.
  • What do you mean? I am not clear what your problem is.

Editing the question to add more details is not what you should do; you would add details for your question, not for the question asked from the OP. The block that suggests how to edit a post that is show to who doesn't have the privilege of editing any post reports the following notes:

  • fix grammatical or spelling errors
  • clarify meaning without changing it
  • correct minor mistakes
  • add related resources or links
  • always respect the original author

If you add details that are not given by the OP, you are changing the meaning of the question. It could be that your details apply also to the question asked from the OP, but you are not sure of that, as you don't have any confirmation from the OP.

As you don't have the privilege of commenting everywhere (that is a privilege you get when your reputation is at least 50), and you cannot offer a bounty (you need a reputation of at least 75), you can only ask another question, reporting that you have already seen the other question, reporting the link to the other question, and pointing out the difference between yours and the existing one. This doesn't assure the question is not closed as duplicate because, if the community see little difference between the questions, the community will vote to close your question.

About your answer being deleted from a moderator, it is more probable that your answer has been flagged from a user as "not an answer" and a moderator deleted it once verified the answer was a new question. Moderators don't look for questions that are posted as answers, and rely for that on the reports done from the community. Of course, they first verify the flag is valid, and they will never delete a wrong answer, as it's not their task to give a technical judgement of the answer's correctness. If you see a wrong answer (which is different from something that is not an answer), then you should down-vote it.

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