OP originally asked this question Shaping my new bonsai

I provided an answer and OP asked several follow on questions. I updated my answer to include more information.

However, one of the questions OP requested was "how do I shape my plant cascade style". To me, this is a whole new topic that requires a complete answer. I can't answer this without going into pot choice, wiring technique, understanding of bonsai shaping concepts etc.

Personally I think, "what shapes can I cut this hedge into" and then asking "how do I cut my hedge into a giraffe shape" are two separate requests, you end up having something which would be useful to a broader audience lost amongst a general question and an answer which is so long that it is no longer useful.

I would prefer to change the second question How to make a bonsai into cascade style to be more general so that it is "how do I shape a bonsai in the cascade style?" so that it reaches an even broader audience.

So what does everyone think? Is it reasonable to request an OP to create a new question when they are asking something which warrants its own topic?

Personally, I want to answer individual questions, I don't want to be writing a blog post or a book by answering follow up requests in a single answer. Off topic for this site is "Your questions should be reasonably scoped. If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much". I feel it is reasonable for me to ask OP to open a new question.

  • Yes, please let the OP know if a new question is needed. I'm a fairly new user currently facing this dilemma. Answers to my question prompted a few follow-up questions and I haven't known whether to edit my question or start a new one (or two!). Seeing advice on other questions would be a big help! Commented Jan 21, 2015 at 20:54

1 Answer 1


Yes, please prompt for separate questions.

This is a pretty common issue around the network and the best solution is to ask the OP to create a new question. I've had a great deal of luck doing as you did: prompt the user in comments to ask another question. (The more common case is for a user to ask several questions in one question box. Your situation looks more like an example of the XY problem.)

Next best is to ask for them! On the rare occasions when the OP is not interested in asking the second question, I've asked it myself (often with a self-answer). Then you can drop a link in an edit or comment so that others can follow the thread of thought.

A couple of cautions:

  • Reusing the same pictures (as the OP did) can make for confusion. Since they provided two photos, it might make sense to trim one from each question leaving the more relevant shot on each. (Knowing nothing about bonsai, I don't know if that's a good idea or not.)

  • People can sometimes think multiple questions is cheating somehow. Take the time to edit the questions so that it's obvious the questions are not duplicates. Often determining if a pair of questions really are duplicates requires an expert eye.

  • This answer works for me. It was the identical photos that made me think it was a duplicate.
    – kevinskio Mod
    Commented Oct 2, 2013 at 13:35

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