The question which has been answered in some other website should be marked closed in Stack Overflow? It can help to find active questions and reduce time to investigate duplicate questions with other sites. Also, I feel if the owner creates duplicate questions in other sites, then this information could be added in Stack Overflow, so as if it is answered in any other site, could be marked as closed in Stack Overflow.

One such example that I just encountered is Running Keras model for prediction in multiple threads. I agree that giving links is a bad answer, but unless the question is confirmed to be closed, it will not be clear for new users if they should investigate in the question that has been open since 3 years.

  • 4
    "I agree that giving links is a bad answer ..." So don't do that. Make your answer self contained. You can cite the essentials from the site the link points to. Oct 5, 2020 at 14:59
  • 1
    But please advise how to make sure for new users to know it is a bad answer as it has been closed in GitHub issues and is a duplicate question open in StackOverflow for the past 3 years. Few things that could be added in Stack overflow features are : (1) Owner can give links to the questions being asked in other forums (2) Questions to be reviewed if they are unanswered from the past 2 years (this is because some features are missing in software or reported as bug. This require time to be added in next release.)
    – DKT
    Oct 5, 2020 at 15:09
  • 2
    SO has a mechanism for marking bad content. It's the downvote. Oct 5, 2020 at 15:10
  • 2
    I thought the guidance in How to amswer provided some guidance for new users how to answer.
    – rene
    Oct 5, 2020 at 15:12
  • 3
    There is an easy test. If the link doesn't work, this is all your answer has to offer: Please see the link. Hope it has answered your query and the issue got resolved or does it need further investigation?. Without the link, there is nothing left a visitor can use as something to work with. Other sites might be happy with that, on Stack Overflow that is a No-no. We want visitors to find the answer on the page they are on. Not somewhere else.
    – rene
    Oct 5, 2020 at 15:20
  • Slightly related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/153103/…
    – rene
    Oct 5, 2020 at 15:35

2 Answers 2


In your title you ask:

Should the question be closed if it has been answered in another thread of some website?

No. The question should be adequately answered here on the site.

This is explained in the FAQ Are answers that just contain links elsewhere really "good answers"?

When someone goes on Stack Exchange, the question "answer" should actually contain an answer. Not just a bunch of directions towards the answer.

(emphasis original)

You argue:

It can help to find active questions and reduce time to investigate duplicate questions with other sites

It is hard enough to find duplicates within the same site. Extending that to external sites would even add more headaches. We want visitors to have a one-stop experience here on this site. When they found a question that is similar to theirs they expect the answer (and only the answer, not also 20 Me too posts) can be found when they click the link.

Feel free to properly bring over content from an external site to an answer (keep the guidance for plagiarism in mind: How can I link to an external resource in a community-friendly way?) so the answer is self contained and remains useful even it the link goes dead and/or the content behind that link gets edited.

  • Thank you for your guidance. I am understanding the fact that it is difficult to find duplicates from the same sit. My idea is to improve better user experience and add better features in stack overflow for existing and new users.
    – DKT
    Oct 5, 2020 at 16:08
  • 3
    @DeekshaKukreti that is appreciated and don't let my answer discourage you for participating here. I do advise to read this meta Q/A: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/44188/… specially the part of the answer about requesting new features.
    – rene
    Oct 5, 2020 at 16:19
  • do note that some sites will expect a certain level of prior research effort. Ex. I have seen question posts on the English Language Learners site that ask about meanings of certain words get comments like "what does your dictionary tell you?"
    – starball
    Mar 31, 2023 at 23:11

The answer is no. A question should not be closed just because it is answered somewhere else on the web.

The goal of Stack Overflow (and Stack Exchange in general) is this (from the tour), emphasis mine:

We're working together to build a library of detailed, high-quality answers to every question about programming.

You see that? We're building a library of answers to every question. We want all the (useful) questions to be here on Stack Overflow (or Stack Exchange). There are many reasons for this:

  • Posts here are licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-SA, but information elsewhere on the web often isn't licensed under free culture licenses. Sometimes, it is even behind a sign-up wall or a paywall.
  • The community can upvote or downvote the answers here, but they often can't elsewhere on the web
  • The community can edit posts here, even other people's posts, but they often can't elsewhere on the web
  • The community can comment on posts here, but they often can't elsewhere on the web
  • The community can provide alternative answers and correct incorrect documentation, but they often can't elsewhere on the web

Think of it like Wikipedia. Should Wikipedia delete a page just because Encyclopedia Britannica already published an article online about the same topic?

Please don't close questions just because you want people to "read the manual". If it's an obvious question with an obvious answer, then there probably is a duplicate on the website already, so find that duplicate and close it as a duplicate. If there isn't, then it's actually a great question, and we welcome it, even if it feels like a question for noobs.

For example, the first person to ask the question "how do I perform modular division in Python" should not have their answer closed, even if you can find the answer to this question in the Python documentation or in blog posts. Instead, we should answer the question on Stack Overflow. Any future similar questions can be closed as duplicates of this question.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .