As has been said before, multiple unrelated questions should be posted as multiple posts on the site. See meta concensus.

Now we have the problem that this is a nice and useful policy, but new users sometimes just don't know or care.

See this new question or this old meta discussion that amounted to nothing.

How do we handle those cases?


  • We lack the tools to split the question for the user, not even moderators can open a question in the name of a user.
  • If we go over the user's head and split it as Community Wiki, he will not get the reputation for the second question.
  • If we wait for the user to split it himself (that's our current "strategy"), he may not even come back, or just don't care. (Either because he doesn't understand the use or because he already got his answers.) In the meantime people post double answers, and effectively we end up with mess like this.

What solution do we have for hit and run double questions?


For the sake of completeness, here are some reasons why double questions are bad for the site:

  • Because the questions are unrelated, there is no proper way to title the post. This makes it harder to find the questions.
  • Same goes for tagging. One question could be analysis, one plot-explanation. Or they could even not be about the same movie.
  • It's hard to decide which answer is best/should be accepted when some of them only answer one or the other question. Or if one answer answers the one question perfect and the other questions only medium and vice versa.
  • Same goes for up-/downvoting the questions, what if one is great and the other is really bad?
  • They are bad for our questions / day ratio. (Not that it would matter much, just saying. ;)
  • They set a bad example for the next new user who thinks this forum style of asking questions is ok.
  • 1
    We could edit out the second question - and suggest they open a second question themselves. – iandotkelly May 27 '14 at 22:39
  • @iandotkelly I had the same thought. I don't want to see any content lost though, I wish there was a better solution. However, this certainly would be a solution that could help remedy the problem before it starts to expand to the answers. (which might result in even more work being lost) – magnattic May 27 '14 at 22:45
  • It might be not easy for new users to find their second question again after it was edited out. Do they even see the edit history? – magnattic May 27 '14 at 22:47
  • That is also a good point – iandotkelly May 27 '14 at 23:03
  • I will post a few "solutions" that I can think of as answers here, maybe the community thinks one of those is any good, although I am not really seeing a perfect solution myself. – magnattic May 27 '14 at 23:08
  • Man, this self-answer poll-style meta discussion seems to be the next big thing. – Napoleon Wilson May 28 '14 at 1:13
  • Haha, maybe. It just seems that this is the only way to actually get anywhere. Our previous discussions usually ended without any results, so I am ready to try the poll-style approach. – magnattic May 28 '14 at 1:16
  • You will always see the edit history of your own posts. – Tablemaker May 28 '14 at 4:14

Unfortunately, one of the tools mods don't have is the ability to split questions.

In essence it just comes down to the OP to take the criticism or have the insight to post multiple questions.

  • All you say is true, but not a solution. Unless you are saying we should just continue to leave those questions alone and hope for the best, then I would disagree. – magnattic May 27 '14 at 22:43
  • @atticae That's the problem, there is not a solution that exists in the engine without the OP deleting the second question and then making a new question. As far as what to do, its a bit awkward to edit out a second question out of someone else's post and then post it yourself. Flagging it only alerts the mods and then all we can do is the standard, comment, close, delete, vote, etc. – Tablemaker May 27 '14 at 23:02

Possible Solution A

Put the question on hold until the user decides to split it.


  • No double questions on the site.


  • New users might be irritated.
  • They might not split the question and we miss out on the content.
  • This is how I've seen it approached on a couple of other SE sites. – JohnP May 28 '14 at 3:24
  • @JohnP How has it panned out (examples if you can :D) – Tablemaker May 28 '14 at 4:13
  • 1
    This is the solution to me. At least if the OP doesn't return, it can later be made into different questions by members of the site (if necessary). – Andrew Martin May 28 '14 at 8:39
  • I have to say currently this looks like the best route of action to me as well. After all the question has a serious problem. And this would probably be the way that motivates the user the most to do something about it. – magnattic May 28 '14 at 12:27

Possible Solution D

Delete the second question, ask the user to repost it himself.


  • No double questions on the site.


  • User might not repost the second questions, so it would be lost.
  • Lock the "D" option for me ;) – Ankit Sharma May 28 '14 at 6:15
  • I dislike this solution, as the OP may not come back and we have one less (possibly) good question to answer. – Andrew Martin May 28 '14 at 8:38

Possible Solution B

Ask the user friendly to split it. If he does not, the question stays as it is. (That's how we currently handle it)


  • Questions are never lost.


  • We keep double questions on the site, with all the problems mentioned above.
  • If they split the questions after they have been answered, half the answers may not make sense.

Possible Solution C

Delete the second question and repost it as Community Wiki.


  • No double questions on the site.
  • No questions will be lost.


  • The user will miss out on the reputation for the second question.
  • The user might be irritated because he does not understand what happened to his question.

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