Here is the situation. I have a problem, and upon searching for a solution, I find that another SO user has already posted a question and accepted and answer. However, while the question perfectly describes my issue, the answer does not solve my problem.

What is the best practice in this situation? If I post a new question, it will surely get marked as duplicate, and rightfully so. If I ask follow up questions in the comments, I am potentially creating a cluttered, unhelpful comment section. I can upvote the question, but even if this gets more attention for the question, there is no reason for another user to try to answer the question, because the OP already has an answer he or she is satisfied with.

It seems like this is a situation that would arise fairly often because an accepted answer is not accurate or because there are subtle differences in the problem. As someone with a better answer, I can post that and get upvoted past the accepted answer. But as someone with the same question, do I have any recourse to get help from the community to find an answer that works for me, without posting a duplicate question?

  • Oh man, this is getting too meta: asking a duplicate question about asking duplicate questions... – elethan Jun 3 '16 at 16:31
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    You would be surprised how often that happens. I'm not finding what I feel to be a good duplicate, so I'll repost as an answer. (And clean up my comments.) – Kendra Jun 3 '16 at 16:32

You can post a new question.

However, be sure you outline that you did find and try the answer that isn't working for you- You can even link to the answer to provide context. Be sure to describe the answer and show the code in your question, though, so people aren't required to leave the question to see what you did.

Also be sure to describe why the answer doesn't work. What errors, if any, are you getting when using it? Are the outputs wrong?

Doing this helps for a couple reasons:

1) It shows you've done your homework. You've searched, tried to find your answer, and come up short.

2) It shows what you've tried, keeping potential answerers from suggesting the same solution.

3) It shows that your question is not a duplicate- there is something, perhaps subtly, different about your issue that prevents the answer to the other question from working. Since that answer does not answer your question, your question is not a duplicate.

This should be enough to prove your question is not a duplicate, and to get some help. Keep in mind that it could be that you've implemented the other answer incorrectly, and you may get comments or answers to that effect. Try to keep an open mind if this happens.

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