It is generally agreed that good question should also indicate what the OP have tried. Many people do this and we receive many questions also contain the OP's attempted proof/solution for the question they are asking.

In such cases we can expect two kind of answers. Some people might answer the original question by giving a different proof/solution. Some people might expand the OP's solution, show how it can be improved/corrected, comment on some inaccuracies in the attempted solution etc.

If a question is closed as a duplicate, the OP will probably not receive feedback on their attempt in the answers. (But they still might get such feedback in comments on chat.)

So my question is:

Should a question be closed as a duplicate if the OP also provides their solution and in the question they ask whether their solution is correct? Should such question be closed if the OP specifically indicates their interest in comment on their solution using or tag?


2 Answers 2


I would say that such a question is not a duplicate, so it should not be closed as such (after all, different questions about the same problem need not be duplicates).

However, once the OP has had sufficient feedback on the attempted proof, I think the best course of action would be:

First, the OP posts the full proof as an answer, in order to get final feedback.

Second, the question is closed as a duplicate (as anyone searching for something about the problem would be better off easily being able to see both this question and one where the question is not about a specific proof attempt).

The reason I would prefer to have the OP post the completed proof as an answer is that this seems like a more "clean" way to get final feedback than editing the question.

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    $\begingroup$ If we close such questions as duplicates, won't that suggest to users not aware of the particular practice suggested here that such questions should be closed as duplicates unconditionally? $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 18:05
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    $\begingroup$ Why can't we simply link the 'duplicate' via a comment instead of closing? After all, every Math SE link in a comment will show up in the "Linked" list on the right. $\endgroup$
    – user21820
    Commented Apr 10, 2018 at 11:18

No; I think there is a fundamental difference between the question

How do I prove the Riemann Hypothesis?


Is the following proof of the Riemann Hypothesis correct? If not, how can it be improved? ...

Any proof of the Riemann Hypothesis would be appropriate to the first question, but a useful answer to the second question would have to address the OP's particular proof (though this does, legitimately, happen in the comments often) - and I think that a more general answer to the second question might even subvert any pedagogical purpose of the site, since, as these questions probably often arise as homework, a different proof may be palatable to the OP, but not particularly meaningful. Therefore, the answers to the first question are not necessarily applicable to the second question (and vice versa) and they are not duplicates. (However, linking to the relevant question would certainly be helpful)

It's not always clear-cut which sort of question is which; in general I would say that if it looks like the OP has committed themselves to a particular method of proof (e.g. they provide a full or partial proof and ask about how to make it work), then the question is not a duplicate of a general question on the statement to be proven. However, if they work is more akin to scratching around the problem or the standard boilerplate please-don't-close-my-question-type context, then closing as a duplicate would be appropriate.


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