Some days ago I made a question on a SE website, and since I thought that two issues were such related and interdependent that they were semantically equivalent to just one question, I decided to ask about both of them in the same question.

But afterwards I realized that what I did was wrong because a solution to just one of the two issues would have been extremely useful independently of whether the answerer has a solution for the other issue or not.

Plus, since the two issues are quite difficult to solve, even solving just one of them would be extremely helpful and appreciated.

And I thought that this may prevent answerers who have a solution to just one of the to issues from answering, or they may put that solution just as a comment, because they may think it would be not enough for an answer. And even in this case I think that putting a good solution as a comment just because it answers to only one of two questions would not be good for the readability of a Q&A website.

So my question is:

What do you suggest me to do if I realize afterwards that a question should have been split in two separate questions?

The alternatives I have in mind are below.

  1. Leaving the question as it is, perhaps the usual behaviour of the answerers may be to put an answer even if it only solves one of the two issues? And how would acceptance work in this case?
  2. Editing the question to ask only one thing and making a new question to ask the other thing. This seems nice, but there are two comments under the question in which one user reasons about both issues. Should I leave them there? Maybe I could add his suggestion to the second question I create afterwards?
  3. Deleting the question and making two new questions. This seems also reasonable, but again what should I do with the two comments mentioned above?

If you have other ideas in mind apart from the three above they are very welcome.

1 Answer 1

  1. Delete the question and edit it to ask only one question, create a separate question for the other issue. When you're finished with editing the first question, undelete it.

You can undelete your own posts, if you deleted them.

This way, you prevent users from posting answers before the issue is resolved.

Regarding the comments - you could use the info to already improve the second question. You could also notify the commenter (@username) of what you did.

If you're too late and already received an answer, you may flag your post and ask a mod to close it while you finish editing it. Then sort out the issue, also by explaining the situation in a comment to the answer. The answerer may then split their answer into two answers - one to each question.

Regarding your question

And how would acceptance work in this case?

Not very well, unless the answer answered both questions sufficiently. That's why questions on SE should only contain one question.

  • Many thanks @Anne , this is very good advice. As for "That's why questions on SE should only contain one question", it's just because initially I thought the two issues were very relate and interdependent, so much that they were semantically making just one question. But, as I said, I was wrong and I realized they were much more independent than I thought initially. Jun 1, 2018 at 10:12

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