I spent quite some time searching for an answer to a question I had and could not find it on SE. Then I figured it out by myself and started a new self-answered question on SE to share my findings. When I finished writing -- but just before hitting "Post" -- I spotted the related post which contained exactly what I was looking for (in fact in this post there gives a better answer than mine).

Should I post my question anyway and immediately mark it as duplicate, so that other people are more likely to find it and don't go through the same trouble as I did?

  • 3
    Imo no, you can answer the old one if you feel it will add any value. Additional topic will help others find the answer but I suggest to edit the old topic instead. By adding relevant keywords or tags that would have helped you find it.
    – Kuba Mod
    Aug 8, 2017 at 21:29
  • 5
    If you follow Kuba's advice, here a couple more things to consider: If there's a search term missing from the duplicate that you used, you might include it in your answer. If there's a tag missing from the question, consider adding it. (A couple of things that might make the Q&A more "findable.")
    – Michael E2
    Aug 8, 2017 at 22:23

1 Answer 1


I agree with Michael E2 here; to the extent possible you should improve the original question to make it easier to find. Often only a few different terms being added would be sufficient to make it easily found in a search that would bring up your additional question.

However some questions that share the same solution or are fundamentally identical can have very different presentations. A matrix operation might be equivalent to a particular image processing method, but arise in an unrelated context. Here I think it makes sense to have a separate question. If it truly is an equivalent operation it would still be best to have all the answers in one place, so I would favor directly marking as a duplicate (or flagging for moderator attention) and posting an answer to the original instead, noting the origin of your solution and its relation to that problem. If the new question permits approaches that would not fit with the older question then it is better for it to remain open.

  • Mr.Wiz, could you give your opinion how including search terms should be done? Simply adding the keywords in a section seems to be the easiest way, but here and here as well as in the present Q&A, I get the feeling that that is considered poor practise. On the other hand, adding keywords in a natural way seems to require more work by the editor. I have tried to optimise the pitfalls Q&A. I have used an html comment there... Aug 14, 2017 at 11:07
  • ... (along with editing the question body). Please consider this to be an experiment, so remove the html-comment if you want. Your feedback would be most welcome. The pitfalls Q&A has bothered me for a long time, in particular because of the fact that "pitfalls" is a useless keyword considering the state of the stack exchange search engine. Aug 14, 2017 at 11:07
  • Relevant meta Q&A Aug 14, 2017 at 11:53
  • 2
    @Jacob (213700) relates to answers and I agree with it; keywords belong in Questions, and I see nothing wrong with them so long as only a few are used; they should not take up a significant fraction of the page. IMO the "natural way" is preferred but if the contributor has limited time a simple list is better than nothing at all.
    – Mr.Wizard
    Aug 14, 2017 at 19:22

You must log in to answer this question.

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