What is the stackoverflow way of redirecting repetitive questions?

For the sake of learning and clarity I have edited my question and will now attempt answering my own question (after some time has passed and I have thought about it further):

Some posts get closed, some get voted up or down, some get linked to several new places.

But are there best practices to use when dealing with repetition?

After reviewing FAQ and searching I did not find a clear answer at the point in time of this original post.

  • There you go...
    – paddy
    Oct 31, 2012 at 1:26
  • so you somehow migrated the question.... how did you do this? I must be missing something.... Oct 31, 2012 at 1:27
  • Someone with appropriate privileges on SO migrated your question because it was off topic but was suitable for Meta.
    – paddy
    Oct 31, 2012 at 1:30
  • Ah. so I have to wait for migrating privileged, so I assume in the mean time I should just flag? Oct 31, 2012 at 1:32
  • 7
    There's at least a little bit of irony in calling people "n00b" and then posting this on Stack Overflow. Oct 31, 2012 at 1:55
  • 2
    Both "noob" and the over application of caps lock are widely conidered to not live up to the standard of professionalism that we try to maintain. Oct 31, 2012 at 3:08
  • 1
    I was referring to myself as n00b.... I thought that was very obvious but I will explicitly state this now. I am trying to improve my understanding and have learned that this is not a friendly place for questions. Now I know. Nov 7, 2012 at 18:44
  • Let's say you learn something from your mistake, you edit your question to fix it, and you want to show that you understand now. The issue is you are still going to get voted down, and in my case the question is locked, not only can I not delete it, every time it gets edited it may float back up and new people decide to lay into you voting you further down, even though you would remove or edit it! Classic case of damned if you do, damned if you don't. I attempted to put [please note that this question has been locked and I cannot remove it at this point.] as a title which was also removed... Nov 17, 2014 at 22:12

3 Answers 3


On StackOverflow, and indeed other StackExchange sites, it is expected that a person asking a question has done sufficient research prior to asking.

The reason you see questions voted down is because they are inappropriate, off-topic, confusing, or poorly researched...

The reason you see questions voted up is because they are well-presented, well-researched, and useful.

When a question has been asked before, it is generally linked and that often results in the new question being closed or having its answers merged. The reason for this is that StackExchange is trying to create a repository of useful information that is easy to access and search, rather than just being a Q/A site for dummies.

The community contributes to this goal by taking appropriate action. There are restrictions on what users can do in this respect, based on their reputation points.

Much of this information could have been gleaned by reading the FAQ.

  • yes I realize that, I still am struggling to find some questions when I search. Oct 31, 2012 at 1:36
  • The art is understanding the problem you're currently facing so that the right search keywords become obvious by itself.
    – user138231
    Oct 31, 2012 at 1:48
  • @user1783588 If you don't understand what you are asking and therefore cannot search effectively then by all means ask a question... But put effort into asking the question, and accept that it might be closed, merged or migrated if necessary.
    – paddy
    Oct 31, 2012 at 2:17

It is good to learn what we don't know.

We ask questions to ourselves and others to gleam understanding.

Each of us have different learning styles, different backgrounds, and some take longer to understand in particular contexts. Sometimes even with all our efforts we just missed something, and that's ok. It's all part of the learning process.

Over time tools were created to help people better deal with the sheer number of questions and not just repeat answering the same old questions, but make the acquisition of knowledge faster and easier to spread. This was the purpose of libraries and the natural extension is digital media, it can last longer, be free and be read and modified by countless people over time.

How do you build a better mousetrap? How do you not only make it easier to learn for anyone who asks questions, but also more efficient and avoid redundancy? Instill curiosity, be supportive, and build a system that improves.

  1. Create a system that self improves, so even when it is wrong eventually it will more likely become correct (example: the scientific method). We do this by allowing for both questions and answers to be edited, but keeping the history persistent, this allows people to get the context.

  2. Don't make people wrong. Yes, I am talking to all of you who quickly judge people's questions to be too hasty when they don't completely understand the system they are using. At the time of my original question I, for example, mentioned I was brand new, and had been searching but hadn't found the resource on my own yet. When someone does this give them the benefit of the doubt and just help them learn.

  3. Help them help themselves. Don't just give them the answer, show them how you found it. Encourage them, everyone suffers if they are not encouraged and supported, they may return with the same question again and again if they don't learn, so it's in everyone's interest to have at least little compassion.

  4. Make friends with people who speak your language. Friends are awesome, every year I recognize more and more just how important everyone in my life really is to me on countless levels. And one of those levels is when they understand you well enough to know how to communicate a concept in a way you will be receptive to it. BTW, I am always looking to connect with good, bright people, so feel free to contact me shameless and true.

  5. Encourage, Encourage, Encourage... Curiosity will make people find answers faster than any humiliation ever could. Making people wrong might make you feel good because you are a pathetic human who is suffering through a sad sad life, your need to dominate someone to get your jollies will not be tolerated by any community of true substance and ultimately won't help anyone. Furthermore, people will want to give back if you seek to help people by nature, your life will be better, their lives will be better, and we can all get our questions answered much faster and enjoyably.


The best way is for the new user to check if the question has been asked already. Then you don't have to ask it again, because the answer is already there.

Some questions, like this one

Why are these constructs (using ++) undefined behavior?

keep getting re-asked several times a week. Even though many of these are deleted, it already has more than 50 duplicates linked to it.

Asking it yet again, perhaps for the second time the same day, might attract some downvotes from frustrated users.

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