Earlier today we were having a conversation in the Watercooler around creating a "How and when do I follow up?" question to address the points that often come up in these scenarios (link to conversation).

I'm very happy to do the work to create this but I was wondering what the general process would be (new guy on the block)? Do I just create a wiki like entry in a question? If this were to be done what would everyone expect to be included?

These are a few examples where I feel this would be used:

  • Could you edit in links to some questions that would potentially be closed as duplicates of the canonical post if we had it? (That's the main value of canonical posts -- to have some place to send people when the same questions keep coming up.) Seeing some sample questions that you hope to address in a canonical post would help me better understand what you're proposing. Thanks! And thanks for offering to help out. – Monica Cellio Nov 13 '15 at 4:53
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    @MonicaCellio This has now been done! Note that there's some really great answers on those already and my intent would be to preserve the substance of them but put it into a friendlier format. – Michael A Nov 13 '15 at 4:57
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    Note that questions like these should not be wikified. In general, questions should almost never be wikified. (There's some relevant stuff on meta about this.) – Lilienthal Nov 13 '15 at 8:48

There are already questions that are duplicates of those questions. So rather than create a new dupicate that is intended to encompass all of those questions, instead see if you can find existing questions and close these as duplicates.


No thank you.

A one-size-fits-all answer to this question would be boring and bland. Future visitors wouldn't appreciate it.

If you're troubled by the seeming recurrence of these types of questions, then I'd say "Welcome to TWP!" Please vote to close duplicates wherever necessary.

  • Wouldn't closing questions as a duplicate just cause the same frustrations? Wouldn't it be better to having something more substantial to link those closures to? – Michael A Nov 13 '15 at 3:48
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    The issue is that we lack a one-size-fits-all answer. Most people get hung up on one or two specifics mentioned in the linked post which makes them convinced that the answers don't apply to them and feel cheated. For this particular question, IIRC, there are also no generic answers: most address those specifics as well and therefore become less useful. – Lilienthal Nov 13 '15 at 8:47
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    @Lilienthal - If someone feels that the linked duplicates don't apply to them, what we generally advise question askers and editors to do is to reference the duplicates in the post and briefly explain why that person's situation is different. That helps keep relevant posts from being closed as duplicates. In general, on Stack Exchange, real questions and real problems are much more valuable than canonical one-size fits all approaches, as Stack Exchange serves to solve the problems that haven't already been solved elsewhere on the Internet. – jmort253 Nov 13 '15 at 11:05
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    Yes, but the issue here is that they think it's not a duplicate but are wrong and have their question closed on them without finding a solution. While you make a good point on SE's goals, the fact remains that we routinely get questions on the same topic but lack a useful way to deal with them. I would contend that at this point SE is routinely solving questions that have already been solved on the net and its main value is in providing a peer-reviewed, easily searchable platform for them. – Lilienthal Nov 13 '15 at 11:20

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