Imagine somebody who is studying differential equations. He comes to the section on first order linear differential equations. He attempts to do the first problem in the section, but he comes up with the wrong answer. He then posts the problem and his answer to Math Stack Exchange. Somebody points out his error, which is something like an algebra error.

He then tries the next problem in the section. He does the problem but the answer is wrong. If he were to post the second problem and his incorrect answer to Math Stack Exchange, would that be okay? Would it be a duplicate question?


  • 4
    $\begingroup$ There are various "abstract duplicates" that have been posted over time, e.g. an FAQ-tagged post on geometric series that subsumes thousands of Calc II problems. So depending on context, yes it could very well be a duplicate (especially if the same core concept is at the root of both problems); on the other hand, if there are computational difficulties that arise in one but not the other then no. $\endgroup$ – user296602 Nov 11 '18 at 3:58
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ To paraphrase Tolstoy, correct solutions are all alike, and incorrect solutions are incorrect in their own ways. So closing as duplicates in such cases might be less apt than to close for lack of context. A new Question is deserving only if written well enough to highlight a novel misunderstanding about (in this illustration) differential equations. $\endgroup$ – hardmath Nov 12 '18 at 2:08
  • $\begingroup$ @hardmath does a silly algebra error count as a misunderstanding? Also, when somebody gets the wrong answer to a problem, he may not know what the problem is? $\endgroup$ – Bob Nov 12 '18 at 23:09
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @Bob: While an algebra error may appear "silly" once it is exposed, it is not less a misunderstanding on that account. Indeed someone who "gets the wrong answer" may not know where they took a wrong turn (possibly more than once), so it is important in "check my work" Questions for the work to be shown in sufficient detail for checking to be done. Without such sufficient detail I'd be inclined to "close for lack of context" a "check my work" Question, rather than close as duplicate. $\endgroup$ – hardmath Nov 13 '18 at 13:41

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .