How to follow up with someone who lost a loved one?

came up in the review queue as a possible duplicate of this:

How to enquire about someone after they learned bad news?

They could be bundled as duplicates, but technically they're asking different things.

There will be many questions that are separated by nuances like this. Given Interpersonal Skills is often about the nuances of interactions, I'm wondering if we should keep our definition of duplicate to be more precise than many other sites. Meaning - people can discuss grief, or relationship break ups in many different ways, offering varying details. I'm wondering if it's wise to close things as duplicates at this stage, while we are encouraging.


  • 3
    Different situations anyway (one is a death, the other is serious accident but still living), so not duplicates at all. In general, however, I'm inclined to be less strict, as in allowing more almost duplicates to exist, than some other sites since even if circumstances are the same, the whole picture, and the intentions of the OP, can be varied, requiring different answers.
    – User 27
    Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 3:38
  • 1
    What @WitanapDanu said. It's not a clear duplicate; and I've voted to leave open.
    – NVZ
    Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 3:46
  • 1
    Since each question is so specific, I just comment posts with related questions that may be of interest to the OP. I can let them mark it a duplicate themselves if they'd like. This way, I'm treating duplicates as not "exact questions" but rather, "the situation in that question was similar and those answers worked for me." I doubt that many questions here will apply to many others, and people are always free to ask other questions.
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 13:07

3 Answers 3


I think the questions being considered duplicate should be done pragmatically, with the main criteria being:

  • would answers to the original question answer this one as well?

This is still a bit subjective and opinion based, but at least there is something to guide the opinion.


Within the infinite variation in human activity, it's hard for me to imagine a true duplicate question for this site, at least if people are talking truly about their own specific issues.

What I can see is a great deal of asking people to flesh out their questions, and to explain why their situation is different from another that has already been posted. And if this works well, we will gain questions with more and more nuance over time.

  • I tend to agree with this. I think it would be good to get a community consensus either way, so we can implement a duplicate question policy.
    – user57
    Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 21:20

Closing questions as duplicates works best for "objective" subjects, math, computer science, and the hard sciences generally.

In "psychology" or interpersonal relationships, no two situations are exactly alike, so we should have more latitude for duplicates than on the science sites.


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