I somewhat regularly find myself looking for a duplicate of a question, but only finding a whole bunch of similar questions, but none of which seem like a good duplicate candidate, as the answers tend to focus heavily on that specific situation instead of trying to provide an extensive answer covering multiple aspects of the question as asked.

One recent example of this:

New question:

Dealing with lack of respect from recruiters (asking how to decline an interview, essentially)

Some potential duplicates:

The first one is probably the best candidate, but all of them focus fairly heavily on their question's specific situation instead of trying to provide more general advice of how to change the response based on different circumstances (e.g. if you've already accepted another offer, you can probably just tell them as much, but if the job doesn't sound like something you want to do, you might want to choose your words a bit more carefully).

I know I can post my own answer, but it somewhat feels like trying to hijack the Q&A, because no-one else is answering the more general question, and I also don't want to do that for every other duplicate vote I cast.

I understand that trying to cover every variation might not always be viable, but in general it seems like people tend to opt for the other extreme - the answers focus too heavily on solving OP's specific problem instead of trying to provide long-term value.

Should we not try to create lasting value at about the same priority as trying to solve OP's problem?

Or maybe I'm just suffering from confirmation bias.

Should we make reference posts (instead?) (as in posting a question that's intended to address the more general problem rather than being any given user's problem, in order to answer any and every version of the question)?

  • I remember once I saw a flag option that said "too specific to be useful"... now I don't see it anymore in the options...is it only me or it did existed? – DarkCygnus Mod Aug 8 '17 at 17:50
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    @GrayCygnus Yes, "too localised" used to be a thing. – Bernhard Barker Aug 8 '17 at 18:02
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    Related thread I created a while back about setting up a "reference question" for a specific topic. Main meta on the "reference question. – Lilienthal Mod Aug 8 '17 at 20:28
  • Personally, I'm all for the idea. I run into a situation where a questions is poorly asked or worded and not getting any attention but is about an important or common topic a few times a year at least. What usually stops me is the idea that I should be editing the question into shape instead but that's often at odds with what the OP is trying to do. And posting a "new and improved" version with a self-answer right away feels so... mercenary. – Lilienthal Mod Aug 8 '17 at 20:30
  • You could create your own "general" question, answer it, and then either link it to the OP's question or write an answer to the OP's question where you refer to your general answer, and then provide additional situation-specific advice later. That is something I have been wanting to experiment with myself for a while now, but have not got around to it yet due to other issues. – Masked Man Aug 9 '17 at 1:44
  • @Lilienthal you could also coordinate the effort with some regular users to provide a common written answer and make it a wiki. Or if they have different way of solving the problem having them prepare and then post their own answer as soon you posted the question. – Walfrat Aug 18 '17 at 7:20

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