Some groups of questions share common elements. Any answer to a question about scaling things up or down is going to involve linear, quadratic, and cubic scaling.

Does it make sense to create a general question that can be used to provide the general answer and free up the specific questions for specific answers that can assume familiarity of the basics without having to repeat them?

Here are examples:

The alternative is to include the general answer in each specific answer.

Specific questions only allows for more self contained and cohesive answers, but require more effort overall.

General questions allow greater focus in each answer and reduce duplication of effort.

  • $\begingroup$ I've added the very specific version which originally inspired mine about scaling up insects to calculate speed. Feel free to remove. $\endgroup$
    – Liath
    Sep 24, 2014 at 9:07

2 Answers 2


Yes. This is what canonical questions are about, and they are used to good effect on several sites. We could absolutely adopt the concept.

As an example that I am familiar with, ServerFault has a number of them dealing with various subjects that come up repeatedly. If a question does not need an answer that goes into particular details not addressed by the canonical question, these are good as duplicate targets.

However, we should be careful to not close as duplicate of such questions indiscriminately; sometimes someone really does want to go into more detail about a particular aspect, which makes it not a duplicate.


I see no reason why there shouldn't be both general and specific questions.

To use the example, some of the general principles of scaling can be applied to animals, but not in all aspects. In fact, there is one element that cannot: Eyes. A small animal has proportionally larger eyes than a large animal, since eyes have an optimum size, and no benefit is achieved by further up-scaling.

So, we need the general and the specific.


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