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I hope i'm not in the wrong place with my question.

I have a complex, but coherent, question for Stack Overflow. I'd like to know whether it is acceptable to maintain a parent question (containing all of the necessary background info and child questions) while asking the related (child) questions separately.

Is this OK, or will I break some kind of rule with my plan?

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Popular Demand: Thanks for editing (and sorry for my poor english) –  fabrik Sep 23 '10 at 14:01
    
I remember having seen a question about a split up tutorial idea, but that was related to the OP "unveiling" the answer himself after a week or so. I just can't find it right now... maybe @Grace? –  Tobias Kienzler Sep 23 '10 at 14:44

2 Answers 2

The only reason why one question should reference another that I can think of is when you ask a supplementary question based on the answers you got on your first.

For example, you ask how to display user details on a website (name, e-mail address, etc.). You get some answers and implement something.

You now need to display 10,000 user records - so you ask a new question, but reference the first as it will explain why you are using the particular algorithm you are now having problems with.

In this case it might have been better to ask how to display 10,000 user records straight of, but you get the point.

In your scenario the "master" question will more than likely get closed as "not a real question" very quickly.

Don't forget you can access your questions from your profile page.

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Your example is totally clear and i'm afraid your presume about closing my 'master' question is more than probable. Because i'm confused about this whole thing is Stack Overflow's fragmentation: as you said, it's better to ask "how to display 10,000 records". I saw a lot of fragmented questions where user asks for something then he don't know the second (third,...) step and asking it. I think this isn't good for SO and the community too. –  fabrik Sep 23 '10 at 13:42
    
@fabrik: the intention is not only to help the question asker with his specific problem but to make it possible for others to benefit from the answers as well. and that is easier possible if one question post contains really one question only –  Tobias Kienzler Sep 23 '10 at 13:47
    
@Tobias: So you advice instead of creating a 'master' question (a wiki maybe) i should place my 'bookmarks' in each question? –  fabrik Sep 23 '10 at 13:51
    
@fabrik: it really depends on your master question. If you think someone could benefit from the master question itself offering a context, you can ask the partial questions and add comments linking to your master question and back, but if it is very specific to your project this master question will be closed as "too localized" I guess. Still, your "real" questions might help others –  Tobias Kienzler Sep 23 '10 at 14:07
    
@Tobias: As i said, my (master) question is complex. No redundant questions (at least i don't found), no SQL hocus-pocus ("How can i join..."), no programming language blah-blah (is my code clean enough?) but together with related questions it's a coherent one. Each different question can be answered and i think anyone (interested) can benefit from the whole one. Like a tutorial which a lot of people asking for. Maybe my main question would be too localized without the related ones but the related ones may be too general without the main one. –  fabrik Sep 23 '10 at 14:18
    
@fabrik: well, give it a shot. Add a comment linking to this meta question at your master question, too, and see how the community reacts. You shouldn't use CW for it though, since you don't expect others to edit it (and you might even receive unexpected answers to your master question which deserve reputation by upvotes) –  Tobias Kienzler Sep 23 '10 at 14:26
    
@Tobias: you're right, i can't loose anything if i'll try it :) I'll wait a bit maybe somebody will leave a comment too. –  fabrik Sep 23 '10 at 14:31

Each question needs to stand on its own merits. If you wanted to track many related questions—and don't find links within each question fulfill that need—you may want to use a personal blog or similar. Each question still must stand by itself, in that case.

I would try to write a single question containing your overall requirements—the broad strokes. Be as specific as you can while still asking about the problem rather than your initial perceived solution; this is known as the XY problem. Both initially formulating your general question and seeing the answers you get should help you narrow the issue to what really matters to you and show you where it makes sense to ask additional questions.

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