Is it OK to ask a duplicate question simply for the purpose of linking your exact question to an identical, yet differently worded question?

For example, I want to know why, in bash, the EOF tactic/input redirection does not work when inside an if/elif/else block. The answer is in an unrelated question cat a file inside a shell function

What I want to do is ask a question along the lines of "Why does EOF and input redirection not work inside an IF block", then either immediately answer the question by linking to the other question, or request the question be closed as a duplicate.

  • The "EOF redirection" thing is call here-documents, the token "EOF" there is just a placeholder, <<PONIES works too. Your question would be hard to understand as is.
    – Mat
    Nov 15, 2011 at 10:01
  • @Louise I noticed there are much more downvotes on meta than SO
    – puk
    Oct 8, 2012 at 18:05
  • 1
    Downvotes most likely indicate disagreement. If that can be applied to all votes cast so far then at the moment 3 users voted to say it is OK to do what you suggest and 8 users voted to say it is not OK to do what you suggest. That leads to the net -5 you see at the moment.
    – PolyGeo
    Apr 24, 2018 at 6:32
  • For wording it should be OK.
    – neverMind9
    Mar 13, 2019 at 14:32

2 Answers 2


immediately answer the question by linking to the other question

Doing just that is not OK. Answers that just consist of a link to another answer should be comments.

request the question be closed as a duplicate

Well, you could do that, but I don't see much value. Duplicates are not always a bad thing, but voluntarily creating dups doesn't sound like a great idea to me.

I believe a better use of your time would be to edit that question and make it more general (for example, include an if/else example as an addition to the function one, and make the title more generic). As long as you don't change the fundamental problem the question raises, and that you don't make the existing answers irrelevant, that should make that question a better question, and make it more findable.


If the already existing question provides you with an answer which you are looking for, why do you want to create a dup? On the other hand, if you want to create a dup, then you must link that original question in your question and tell that you are looking for different answer. Be specific on what you are looking for and how is it different from the orginal answer obtained.

I think there is no point is simply creating dup and just requesting question to be closed as duplicate.

  • I was thinking somewhere along the lines of a symbolic link
    – puk
    Nov 15, 2011 at 10:41
  • @puk - I am not sure, how adding a symbolic link helps, if your question is dup? Nov 15, 2011 at 11:38
  • I know this is old, but I just ran into a possible reason to create a dup on purpose: My problem is solved by another question, but my error manifests differently than described there, plus I have a minimal testcase to append to the question. This might make the answer more discoverable for others who have my error and not the OPs. So would that be ok?
    – Louise
    Oct 5, 2012 at 13:36
  • @Louise that is certainly a new question as you have a slightly different problem. It would be smart though to link to that question, stating how it is different. Just to make sure it won't be closed as a dup
    – Neuron
    Apr 24, 2018 at 6:44

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