If I spend the time researching and testing and writing an answer, I would like to know that I can publish it.

I have noticed that many times the Duplicate Post Police, (DPP), judge a question to be a duplicate without having read it, and often seem not to have read the allegedly "duplicated" question either.

Is there a better way to reserve a spot in the answers that publishing an incomplete answer and Updating it later?

  • 2
    Can you provide some examples? Duplicates tend to have a herd mentality: if one user deems it a duplicate, a lot of others vote "I dunno, but it must be if there are already 2 votes..."
    – Fabby
    Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 20:39
  • @Fabby: I usually comment when I see a really bad duplicate call, sometimes I flag. I don't enter the bad calls I see in my diary though. I have provided a few examples of bad calls in previous Meta posts. I have no way to recall my comments on posts that have been closed. Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 20:58
  • @Fabby: The question that brought up this question: askubuntu.com/questions/1062020/… , The question has not been closed as duplicate yet, The OP wants to put home on an external drive, this is a great option if you travel a lot. A commenter suggests this is duplicate of a post concerning moving home. My example of copying home to flash drive would not be appropriate to post on moving home page. Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 21:20
  • My rant on duplicate posts: meta.askubuntu.com/questions/16382/… Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 21:53
  • Please edit your question to add details instead of commenting it.
    – Melebius
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 8:30

3 Answers 3


Focusing specifically on your actual question:

Is there a better way to reserve a spot in the answers that publishing an incomplete answer and Updating it later?

No, there isn't. The way you attempted was to post saying "Working on an answer, will update this in a bit", which is posting a non-answer as an answer. That is already against the policy of "Only answers should be posted as answers".

There's no method to 'reserve' a spot in the answers. It's a "Post an answer before it's closed" race condition, there's no way to solve that.

The other proposed way you stated via a comment was to post an answer, then delete it, and later undelete it once it's actually an answer.

Thanks @ Thomas Ward: Is there a way to post, delete and resurrect an answer? If I spend the time researching and writing and testing an answer I would like to know that I can publish it

Nope, same race condition, and same problem as what you actuall yiddid - you post a non-answer, then delete it because you know it's not an answer, only to undelete later when it is an answer. This breaks the first rule since you're posting a non-answer as an answer. The only difference is you have the chance to undelete it after it is an answer, because it wasn't mod-deleted for not being an answer.

You still broke the "Don't post non-answers as answers" problem.

There is no solution to the problem of answering before a question gets closed as a duplicate or as unclear or {insert close reason here}.

There is also no way to reserve such a spot for your post - you either post your answer before it's closed and are lucky, or a post gets closed first. That race condition continues to exist, and though it's had proposals to fix it in the past they haven't gone anywhere.

Posting half-answers that are incomplete is also probably not the proper way to go about this, either, since incomplete answers that just say "I usually use {software} for this" would typically be a "comment, not an answer" such problem since you don't actually provide a complete answer.

  • OK forget posting non-answers as answers, howabout if my first answer was "I generally use grsync", (this was part of my comment to OP). and then I expand my answer later? or does Ask have a problem with editing an answer to update or improve it? Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 22:28
  • said answer would fit into the "Incomplete Answer" category. "I generally use {InsertSoftwareHere}" without details on how to use it or why it helps are incomplete answers that sometimes get pruned by the community as non-answers (or comments that should be comments and not answers). The problem you're facing is you're going to have that race condition either way, and there's still no real "solutions" because reviewers might come along and delete your post with deletion votes before you get to expand it.
    – Thomas Ward Mod
    Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 22:30
  • Once the OP opened Grsync the method is obvious. So, the answer may be short, but to a competent Linux user, not necessarily incomplete. It gives the OP opportunity to ask for expansion if he finds it interesting. Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 22:53
  • You assume that all users are competent. Revisit the thousands of posts that've been posted by people completely new to Linux entirely, so they won't know what is obvious or not. (However, you're missing the point I was trying to make, and this isn't the place to defend your 'example' answer, because I was simply trying to just make a point)
    – Thomas Ward Mod
    Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 22:54
  • I did not realize that an answer to a question had to respond to all users, that makes things more difficult. Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 22:57
  • @C.S.Cameron Also not my point, but if you take a look at many of the questions being asked and their answers it helps to explain more than just "I use {software} for this", but to also explain why it solves the problem, and in some cases how to use it if the user comes back and asks for additional help. (That hasn't changed here in ever)
    – Thomas Ward Mod
    Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 23:49
  • I think we agree, The answer should suit the user, If the user likes the concept the answer can be polished to perfection. If the OP prefers another person's answer, there is no reason to go on with my answer. I usually try to understand what the OP wants using comments. Then If there is interest I post an answer. If I get an up vote or two I may start fixing spelling errors or add screen shots. It does no good to sent the OP off to a "duplicated" website that is not relevant. The user does not need yo know how to tune a car just to drive it to the store and back. Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 5:19
  • 1
    I would not go so far as to say all answers have to be accessible for all users, but I do often say that SE questions are not primarily for their askers, and the more people your answer can help, the better it is @C.S.Cameron
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 15:45
  • @Zanna: What is "SE questions"? If my object was to help the most people I would be on a Windows site, discussing something other than bootable pen drives. Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 16:49
  • @C.S.Cameron SE=stack exchange
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 16:50

Don't do that.

If the post is not a duplicate, and really deserves a unique answer, and trying to reopen it by voting to reopen, commenting, editing etc has failed, then solicit support in chat or post on meta to get it reopened. For me, someone wanting to post an answer is nearly always enough reason for me to vote to reopen.

Otherwise, post your answer on the target.

  • Sometimes the "target" is so clogged up with old obsolete answers, trying to find a good one is like looking for a needle in a haystack, (sorry for the analogy). Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 17:08
  • That's definitely a problem for some posts. You can always post in the Downboat (as well as AUGR) about moderation issues like wrongly closed questions, good answers buried among obsolete things on canonical posts etc. It's not very active at the moment, but sometimes it's more dynamic. You can probably get some support with reopen/close/up/down/delete votes there, and if Eliah Kagan is around, some insightful comments!
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 17:18
  • Thanks but I'm not the Crusader type. I just want to discuss and help advance the technology around bootable pendrives. However I think not only those asking and those answering questions should be subject to up votes and down votes, those who vote to close a duplicate that is not a duplicate should also be subject to down votes. Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 17:30
  • 1
    Me neither (I requested the name of the room be changed when it got unfrozen in 2016). I wasn't suggesting you join the janitors, just trying to say I and others there are very willing to help people answer questions shrug. I guess I should shut up.
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 17:38
  • Thank you, no not for shutting up, but for your valued opinion. Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 18:39

It's the fastest gun in the west problem. There's an MSO post about it where someone puts up a slapdash answer to be first, then goes back and edits it with details, so they're still first.

I'm not sure it's a solveable problem.

In the case of dupes, sometimes it makes sense to request a merge, which I have done in the past.

  • 1
    I'm not sure merging is appropriate if the "duplicate" questions have nothing in common. Things change quickly with Ubuntu. Answers concerning 10.04 don't always work with 18.04. Perhaps questions older than the previous LTS should not be used as duplicated. Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 21:11
  • Sometimes, they're relevant. askubuntu.com/questions/115113/… ... Sometimes they're not. Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 21:39

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .