This question is prompted by a recent point made by @StevenVascellaro on his post Find the most liked tweet from an account, when I answered his question he duly noted that my answer also served as the answer to Get most retweeted tweets of an account. In this case we now have two questions with exactly the same answer (albeit a single word changed).

Should one question be closed/ marked as duplicate of the other?

Should one question be edited to expand it's scope to encompass the other question?

Or as @jonsca alluded to in his comments, just because a single answer can answer two questions does that make the questions duplicates?

2 Answers 2


It depends.

If the two questions are essentially the same, just worded differently, then yes, one should be marked as a duplicate of the other.

If they're two distinct questions, then no, they should not be marked duplicates.

I think your example is one of the latter.

Now, that one answer can serve two different questions is a strong indicator that there may be a duplicate. Consider these "fake"1 questions:

  • How do I sort Gmail messages by size?
  • Sort Gmail by number of recipients
  • I want my Gmail conversations sorted in ascending date order by the original message

The answer to all of these is: "You can't. Gmail sorts strictly by date ascending on the latest message in the conversation. You need to use filters to get the information you need."

Does that make them all duplicates of each other? No. However, a strong argument could be made that they should be duplicates of a canonical "How do I sort Gmail by something other than date descending?" question.

Another minor scenario is when a web app simply doesn't support the desired feature. There are dozens (probably more) answers to the effect of "No, you can't do that in the app as it currently exists. You might be able to do the something similar with a user script." There's no way that all of those questions are duplicates.

However, both of those are different than your scenario, where the "answer" appears to be a third-party utility that has a number of functions. What's to say there's not some other third-party utility out there that covers one of those functions, but not the other? Or that Twitter will come around to adding the same functionality of one but not the other. If it's the one that's been closed as duplicate, no new answer can be added to the question, and it wouldn't be an answer to the "master" in the duplicate pair.

So, no, for this particular scenario, the two questions are not duplicates, in spite of sharing a solution.

1 Actually, these are questions we've had here.


In general, if the same really great and fabulous answer applies to another question, that question should be marked as duplicate of the question having it.

Questions are important because set the problem to be solved but don't forget that the end goal is to find the the best answer, no matter if it was posted on another question.

Just take a look to How do I recover my Google account (or Gmail) password or username? it has a lot of questions marked duplicate. Those question explains very diverse situations but all are about related to recovering access to a Google account.

Regarding the specific questions mentioned in the question I use Twitter very rarely, so I prefer to not comment about them.

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