I have encountered this situation a few times (for example, https://mathematica.stackexchange.com/questions/42110/parallel-computation). Typically, someone quickly posts a comment mentioning related posts or even indicates the question is a duplicate. I am not sure if it is considered helpful to answer the question in this case.

Pros for giving an answer

  1. It benefits the OP. Because the related question is typically not identical to the one asked.

  2. When people search for a solution, the more posts, the more likely a solution is found.

Cons for giving an answer

  1. Duplicates effort (but what if I just want to take a rest from work?).

  2. Discourages people from searching for answers before asking.

What's your opinion?

  • Strongly related: Answering duplicate candidates or bad questions. I especially like the statement by Mr.Wiz about the balance between helping people who search the site vs helping people who ask questions. I feel it is nice to interact with users who ask questions. If you feel somebody deserves an answer, I think it should be possible to post an answer, even if you are pretty much applying somebody else's code, as long as you credit and link where necessary and make sure the question gets closed as duplicate. Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 13:52
  • So my question itself is a duplicate. Thanks for giving the reference :)
    – Yi Wang
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 14:09
  • no problem :). I hope we can have a nice discussion despite the fact that I have voted to close :P. Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 14:25
  • @JacobAkkerboom I also voted to close this question. Considering this is a duplicate question, anyone who thinks a duplicated question shouldn't be answered is not going to answer it. Only people who thinks duplicate questions should be answered answers it. Thus the answer is strongly biased ...
    – Yi Wang
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 17:37
  • Haha yes, wonderful analysis, and I hope a strategic/political move on your part :) Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 17:41

1 Answer 1


My opinion is that if you think you have a answer that is a better fit to the current question than any of the answers to related questions and you feel a strong urge to post it, go for it.

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