Sometimes, we ask a question which elicits numerous answers. As you read those answers, you form related questions that don't probably merit entire new questions on their own but little one line answers as a follow-up to the original question.

The mechanisms for doing this today are using comments or posting a new question with a link to the original. Both of these are sub-optimal because they don't really show up in search, as being related. Further, modifying the original question to ask the follow-up query doesn't intimate the people who have already answered the original question and hence, loses its significance.

Should there be a way to post follow-up questions?


The way I typically do this is to either edit my original question with the followup question, or to post my followup as a comment to the answerer (and sometimes both at the same time). The former is useful if I have more information that can help people solve my problem gained through attempting suggestions in my first set of answers, the latter is nice when I need clarification or have a question specific to that answer.

So between starting a new question, editing your existing question with a followup, and requesting more info from those that have already answered by way of comments, I'd say that we probably don't need another, dedicated mechanism to perform this exact function.

  • 1
    This seems sensible, but see here: stackoverflow.com/questions/1231616/… The original poster asked a question, the question was only partially answered, with no reputation I had to add a follow-up question as a new answer because I couldn't comment. If I posted my follow-up as a new question, it's simply a duplicate of the original question which isn't very good. – jhabbott Sep 30 '10 at 13:54
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    I think that editing the question is not very fair to the people who have provided answers -- they have answered the initial question, and editing the question in some sense removes value from their work. While I don't know if if this justifies explicit mechanisms for follow-up questions, I disagree with your recommendation of making questions moving targets. – mitchus Jan 28 '13 at 13:38

If the answer to a follow-up question could easily be worked into an existing answer, then it should be asked in a comment and answered via an edit to that answer.

If the answer would require a significant departure from the topic of the first question, then the follow-up question should be posted as an entirely new question, optionally with a link to the original as part of the background information. This question should stand on its own, be titled and tagged appropriately, and will therefore be fully-accessible to both internal and external search engines.

I'm not particularly fond of seeing major edits to questions that already have good answers. It's one thing to clarify your original question, or refine it with additional details... but editing to tack on tangentially-related follow-up questions can easily render perfectly-good answers invalid or incomplete... IMHO, that's kinda rude.

  • As long as the answer is still valid for the original question, I don't really see that it's that much of a problem to include additional followups to your question. – Kyle Cronin Jul 28 '09 at 4:57
  • It works. And it's no big deal if the question was fairly specific to begin with. – Shog9 Jul 28 '09 at 5:15

I feel that there are some questions that deserve a context which may best be derived from the communication within another question. By directing other users to another question, they can skim the questions, answers and context, and then appropriately answer the new a question.

I know my comment is a bit vague without a context but I don't feel that all of these types of follow-up questions would necessarily be "To Localized" and marked for closing.

Furthermore, I think follow-up questions are also essential because you could ask a question and, at a glance, it looks like an "Exact Duplicate" of someone else question.

However, if you need additional information, marking your question as a follow-up to another question could help you get your answer while addressing minor nuances to the question scenario, that could have vast differences when integrating a solution.

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