Call a "multi-question" a question where a user asks two or more questions which are independent of one another, in the sense that they can be answered without reference to one another. For example, they have picked questions 3 and 4 from their homework, not 5)a) and 5)b). My question is as follows:

What to do if a question is a duplicate of one of the questions but not the other? It is a duplicate of question 3 but not question 4. Should the new one still be closed as a duplicate?

For example, this question is being proposed as a duplicate of this multiquestion.

When I came across the above example I saw no reason not to close it. But then I started to wonder. In elementary stuff, where answers are a few lines, then fine, sure, close them. But...what if the multi-question was actually two really deep questions? Such a question should be split into two, because otherwise the individual parts will not be given the attention they should be. And so a single-question "duplicate" may not gain as full answer as it deserves simply because someone came along in the past who was too lazy to post two separate questions and noone corrected them.

What say you?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I say: Do not post multiple questions. Of course, the examples in that question statement are not comparable to the current situation, but the replies certainly are. We could perhaps use a specific close reason for these situations (thus forcing a repost of the separate questions) but I don't like that this reason will end up in the "off-topic" category. $\endgroup$
    – Lord_Farin
    Sep 12 '13 at 9:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Lord_Farin I agree that people should not post "multiquestions", and then this current question would not be necessary. But, unfortunately people have done, still do, and probably will continue to do so! (Also, there have been so many in the past that the topic of this question may always be an issue.) $\endgroup$
    – user1729
    Sep 12 '13 at 10:30
  • $\begingroup$ Now we even have a comment template about multiple questions in the same post. $\endgroup$ Nov 2 '13 at 12:50

A really egregious "multi-question" should be deleted instead of closed. An unrelated assortment of homework problems, asked without reference to work shown or context required, is unlikely to benefit future visitors and fits Atwood's dictum of "embarassingly bad".

In the alternative one could edit down a multi-question to leave only a single representative part, preferably one for which the User has shown an attempt or explained their thoughts.

More common (and benign) is where a User asks two related questions, such as this post, where an overlooked or misunderstood concept connects the parts and once illuminated, allows both to be resolved.


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