I have a similar freezing problem as described by Arthur Skirvin, though my hardware configuration is different and freezing symptoms vary slightly. Hence my post here on meta. I do not frequently participate in the Super User community and wanted to determine how you handle duplicate issues that feature differing hardware.

While my symptoms are the same the cause could be wildly different-- so is an additional post warranted? Would such a post be closed as an exact duplicate? Is there even a "policy" or do you guys go more on what feels right.

Mostly I am just curios as to how the community works, but it would be helpful to have some guidance if I should be creating a new question. For now I've added a bounty to Arthur's question in the hopes that it will garnish additional answers which might fix my problem.

2 Answers 2


Jeff Atwood has written a blog post entitled "Handling Duplicate Questions." Here are the three types of duplicates he outlines:

  1. Cut-and-paste duplicate questions. These questions are the very definition of exact duplicates; they are typically from users who willfully take the very same question and post it again. Either they’re not satisfied with the speed of answer, or they just don’t know what they’re doing. We rely on Stack Overflow users to vote down these “questions” and flag them for moderator attention. These sorts of duplicates are typically deleted as soon as we see them, as they’re borderline abuse of the system. They often don’t get answers, so this is fairly easy to deal with. No grey area here.

  2. Accidental duplicates. These questions aren’t copy and paste, but they cover the exact same ground as an earlier Stack Overflow question. The overlap is not ambiguous; the question uses the same words and asks the same fundamental question, with no variation at all. This is a failing on several levels; of the asker to do proper diligence before asking, of our internal ask page title search, and possibly of Google search as well. We rely on Stack Overflow users to link these questions together by closing them as “exact duplicate” and posting the URL (as a comment, or edit) to the question this is a duplicate of. These sometimes have multiple good answers attached to each question. We will use our new moderator question merge function to merge them together without losing any answers or comments.

  3. Borderline duplicates. These questions are ambiguous; they’re in the same ballpark as a previous question, but have subtle differences that may make them legitimately standalone questions. These are subject to interpretation. We rely on Stack Overflow users to tag these questions appropriately so they naturally “group” with the questions they’re related to. The more tags the questions have in common, the more likely they are to show up together on the related questions sidebar. You can also edit in links to the possibly duplicated posts, if appropriate, but be sure to make the tags match so the system can figure out the relationship without as much manual effort. There’s often benefit to having multiple subtle variants of a question around, as people tend to ask and search using completely different words, and the better our coverage, the better odds our fellow programmers can find the answer they’re looking for.


Probably you might want to create the canonical question/answer pair for this; in fact I think this is exactly one of the scenarios Joel outlined!


Help us build a great library of canonical answers. If you keep seeing the same form of questions, whether it’s mod_rewrite rules on Server Fault, freezing computers on Super User, or how to use regular expressions to parse HTML, write a great, canonical answer, once and for all. Make it community wiki so that as many other people as possible can make it great. Work really hard on writing something that is clear, concise, and understandable by as wide an audience as possible.

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