Many times, simple questions came across my mind, which made me google them to find their answers.

However, since I am not a native English speaker, I might not be able to find the right discription of the problem whose solution is what I am searching for.

So, my plan A is to ask in the chat room for the closest already-asked question to the one in my head. However, in case of not getting a response, is it ok to go with asking this question and wait for anyone answering it or referring me to the original one?

  • 12
    I'd say: yes, why not? Not being a native speaker either I think I know what you talk about. And you are certainly not alone. Just please do not get offended if someone marks the question as a duplicate. (This is of course a separate topic.)
    – user121799
    Aug 22, 2018 at 21:38
  • 1
    Also, in case some users are searching from within the site, it's much better to use Google along with site:tex.stackexchange.com in the search. It's usually much better at finding things.
    – Alan Munn
    Aug 23, 2018 at 18:01
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    The search you get while asking a question works even better, I think, but doubtless @AlanMunn's googlefu is superior to mine. That is, start asking, but be open to abandoning your question if the duplicate presents itself while you're writing it. (I hardly ever search directly - the question-asking search is just way, way better.) I don't think this is a native/non-native issue specifically. I think it is the same for everyone, but maybe on-stilts for non-native speakers.
    – cfr
    Aug 26, 2018 at 3:26

1 Answer 1


Of course, it would be a lovely idea to pop by the chat room first and it's always a good idea to look to see if your question has been answered before, in order to avoid the site getting cluttered by lots of duplicate questions we've seen before.

However, although it's easy to see having your question closed as a punishment (and I too obviously don't want to ask a question that will be closed), it isn't! It doesn't reflect badly on you. Having too many duplicates hanging around is obviously messy and boring. But there's a good reason duplicate questions aren't deleted. They serve as useful sign posts. If you couldn't find the question when you looked, chances are other people won't either. And your new question, possibly with a clearer title, that might be easier to find, might not be necessary but it can point people to the answer and make it easier to find.

So don't worry too much! If a question is closed as a dupe, simply be happy to have found the answer and make sure to leave an upvote on the answer if you like it.

By the way, thanks for trying hard to do your own research - that's great - and I certainly don't want my answer to seem like it's encouraging people to just ask whatever they want without even checking to see if somebody's already asked!!

  • 2
    Great answer. I think that when I couldn't find the question of my own language level, asking its sibling might be useful for the future reader who has my very same way of asking questions.
    – Diaa
    Aug 22, 2018 at 23:24

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