I have looked at the various help pages but I couldn't find a clear guideline for the following issue: often enough someone will ask in the same post (i.e. in the same SE-question) a whole bunch of questions (in the plain English sense of the word), which while may be about the same topic are nevertheless sufficiently distinct that each may require several paragraphs of text to answer adequately.

I can see an upside for leaving related questions grouped together from the asker's perspective: "there's a thread (on SE) answering all my questions about topic T!" On the other hand, from the perspective of organizing questions by having a clear heading/title for each (actual) question and so forth, i.e. from the perspective of SE being a fairly structured database of Q&As instead of being a more like a collection of forum threads "I'm confused about topic T", the omnibus question-list approach seems clearly sub-optimal.

The omnibus approach also makes the issue of accepting answers (and perhaps reviewing such actions) difficult: if two different users give replies to different parts/sub-sets of the question-list, which one is the most adequate one? Even upvoting all partial answers seems iffy because it actually penalizes the user(s) who provides(s) the most complete answer to the question-list: since a user can only give at most one upvote to another user's answer, if user X provides answers to A & B in the same SE-answer, he can only get at most one upvote from user Y, whereas if these were two different SE-answers, he could get two upvotes from user Y.

So, given the above problems, which I think are real enough, is there anything in the SE system addressing list-of-questions question splitting?

  • 2
    With respect, gnat, I don't think it's an exactly duplicate. The question there is mostly about a question largely duplicating other questions. Mine is squarely about compound questions that have no duplication of other questions. The answer there dealt only with duplicate questions anyway. If my question is closed, I'll effectively receive no answer whatsoever, since the answer in the question you link is completely inapplicable to what I asked.
    – Fizz
    Dec 30, 2014 at 12:35
  • 1
    We mention "one question per question" right upfront in our Tour.
    – PolyGeo
    Dec 30, 2014 at 13:35
  • I think this question should be a duplicate of meta.stackexchange.com/q/122174
    – PolyGeo
    Jan 30, 2015 at 19:52

1 Answer 1


If a single question consists of distinct questions, then the thing to do for you is to flag for closure or vote for closure as "too broad". You should also leave a comment for the OP pointing out that their question is really a collection of questions, and they should split them into individual questions. This comment to the OP also helps reviewers understand why "too broad" is justified when they review for closure in the close vote review queue.

From one of my answers on SO, here's what I tell the OP regarding why they should split their question:

[...] separating the issues helps you to get good answers. I've seen people knowledgeable about question A answer with a great answer regarding A but a really terrible answer regarding B. Some people know that they can't give a comprehensive answer and so just won't bother. (I tend to be in this camp: I'll tell the OP that the question should be split and if nothing happens, I won't submit an answer.)

And separating the issues is also good for future readers. If they look at the question and it looks like it contains technologies they are not using, they might just skip it even if the answers would in fact help them.

Ultimately it also means more chance at gaining reputation for the OP so it is in their interest to split an SE question that contains multiple questions into multiple SE questions.

  • 1
    I'm glad to hear that "pointing out that their question is really a collection of questions, and they should split them into individual questions" is a good approach. Because that's what my gut instinct told me to do. I'm not sure that flagging as "too broad" wouldn't be (automatically!) declined though... I actually ran into a question-list question that had an open bounty and even answers (none with any votes) but could not even be flagged because of the open bounty issue.
    – Fizz
    Dec 30, 2014 at 12:53
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    I flag questions with bounties on them just about every week (because I can't close them due to the bounty). You have to use a custom flag and make a clear case for it. Note that my experience is mostly on SO. Customs may vary from site to site and I could imagine that some other sites would put the line between okay and too broad differently. On SO, for instance, if a custom flag requires domain-specific knowledge, it is likely to be declined.
    – Louis
    Dec 30, 2014 at 12:59
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    The fact that a question with open bounty is imune to regular flagging (requires modederator attention apparently) has also been discussed in meta.stackexchange.com/questions/14591/…
    – Fizz
    Dec 30, 2014 at 13:03

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