Each Stack Exchange site caters to a mix of experts and novices. This means that some (expert) questions presuppose knowledge which is being asked about in other (novice) questions. In other words, we sometimes have pairs of questions where one question is "building upon" knowledge contained in another question.

Sometimes when two questions build upon each other, one of them gets marked as a duplicate of the other. Marking a question as a duplicate prevents users from adding additional answers.

I'm asking this Meta question in order to seek guidance for users and moderators of the various SE sites, as to when questions which build upon each other should be regarded as duplicates, and to solicit advice about what other ways we can or should use to record the connection between such questions.

The original version of this post was illustrated with a particular question I asked on Linguistics Stack Exchange. I've updated it with some other examples I found by searching Stack Exchange for "This question has been marked as a duplicate". Here are the examples, including my original example. I've rephrased the questions to try to clarify their connections to each other.

  1. English Language and Usage

  2. CSS (Stack Overflow)

  3. Python

  4. Linguistics

  5. Math

  1. Haskell (Stack Overflow)

  2. Space Exploration

In the Math and Python examples, Q2 was marked as a duplicate, but in the other examples Q1 was marked as a duplicate.

In the CSS example, the question was marked as a duplicate before it received an answer. However, in all the other examples an answer was given before the question was marked as a duplicate.

A commenter on the first version of this Meta question suggested that there could be no general rule and that I should go to the site-specific Meta for help. Perhaps that is still true for each of these examples. In any case I hope that the additional examples can give a bit more background as to what I am asking about here, than I had provided in my original question.

  • 2
    Your case is specific enough that it should probably be brought up on the appropriate site-specific Meta. It's kind of hard to know how to answer on the basis of the description you provide. – Nicol Bolas Jul 8 '18 at 4:02
  • Huh. I thought it seemed pretty general. – Metamorphic Jul 10 '18 at 15:06
  • My point is that your question about A, B, and C is too general to be answered; the right answer will depend on the exact nature of A, B and C, which is a site-specific thing. The point being that it's a judgment call. – Nicol Bolas Jul 10 '18 at 15:16
  • OK well I didn't know about site-specific meta, so thank you for telling me that. Maybe I'll ask again there. But, if you think it is too general to answer, then I suspect you would give a "yes" answer to my "could they be duplicates" question, and this could come with an example... so I'm not sure how it could in fact be unanswerable. Here's an A-B-C example from a different field: "What is a pointer in C?" "But what is a memory address?" "But what is RAM?" ... Are these duplicates? If not, can you think of an example where they are in fact duplicates? – Metamorphic Jul 10 '18 at 15:50

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .