I have seen few users asking more than one questions in one question.

In those cases is it allowed to answer such questions partially?

To be more clear:

Suppose the question has three questions.

Can i answer one or two among them?

Or will i have to answer all the three questions to make a valid answer?

Let me post some examples to make my point clear.

Question 1-This question has one sub question viz:Where can i find complete translations of all Puranas?

Question 2-Here in one question the asker asks two distinct questions.

1)What is the story of Paurnamashi?

2)What is the story of Nandimukhi?

It can be that one knows the answer to one of them but not the other.

Question 3-This question has many questions under one heading but neither it is considered as broad nor it is closed.

That is exactly the reason why i asked the present question.

  • 3
    Why should a question with 3 question inside it be entertained ? – Ankit Sharma Mar 20 '16 at 13:04
  • 1
    I agree with @AnkitSharma - if a post is asking multiple separate question, that's a reason to close the question, not a reason to give a partial answer. – Keshav Srinivasan Mar 20 '16 at 13:13
  • Well thank you both,but obviously i saw some questions which had multiple sub questions under one heading.Otherwise i would not have asked this question.But then you guys have now confirmed that there is no need to answer such questions.So, alright. – Rickross Mar 21 '16 at 5:58
  • @AnkitSharma, KeshavSrinivasan, seeing your comments actually I edited my Q to binary format :) How can free will really exist if universe repeats itself in perfect pattern?. But it will be good, if any moderator can elaborate it into an answer. Because sometimes, there is a common description for multiple Qs. All the Qs are quite objective and it will make no sense to have the same common description repeated multiple times in multiple posts. For example, my above Q. – iammilind Mar 21 '16 at 6:11
  • How question 1 have sub-question? – Ankit Sharma Mar 21 '16 at 8:03
  • @AnkitSharma Suppose i post a question-"Where can i read the complete Agni Purana online?" And then i add in the question's body a related question-"Where can i read the Padma Purana online?"Will you not consider my question as having sub-questions?Anyways i have just produced a few examples ,i'm sure that i can produce many such instances where one question has multiple questions being asked in it. – Rickross Mar 21 '16 at 8:23
  • @Rickross That linked question only asked for garuda purana. But surely the Related question: mention about a broad question but its a exception and can work as one stop for all similar query. – Ankit Sharma Mar 21 '16 at 8:33
  • Whoever downvoted pls provide ur reasons.Shall i stop asking questions that are genuine & needed to be asked? – Rickross Mar 29 '16 at 7:00
  • @Rickross You seems too confuse by downvoting on meta. Kindly refer How does Meta Stack Exchange work? – Ankit Sharma Mar 29 '16 at 9:15
  1. Partial answers should be allowed. We share whatever knowledge we possess. Waiting for a complete answer may result in a portion of the knowledge becoming unavailable in the bargain. Secondly, multiple answers (even if partial) that attest to the same piece of knowledge increase credibility in that piece of knowledge.

  2. Multiple queries in a single question should also be allowed. If the questions are corollaries or inter-related to one larger subject matter, then yes - multiple sub-questions should be allowed.

  • 2
    Nice points and i agree with all of them.The key here is sharing knowledge & also propagating Dharma to an extent.The rules ,hence, are to framed in such a way that they don't come in the way. – Rickross Mar 25 '16 at 17:48
  • You can share whatever knowledge you possess in the comment section; you don't need to post a separate answer for that. – Keshav Srinivasan Mar 25 '16 at 19:44
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    @KeshavSrinivasan Comments have a word limit. And if someone wishes to score points by way of an answer, why not – user1195 Mar 26 '16 at 3:44
  • Also, if partial answers are not allowed then questions having sub questions should strictly not be allowed in the first place.But then this will be a rather unnecessary and stringent rule to implement imo. – Rickross Mar 26 '16 at 7:59
  • @moonstar2001 Well, that's what posting multiple comments are for. Allowing people to write partial answers creates the wrong incentives, if they get upvoted whether they write a partial answer or a full answer. The whole point of giving people points is to incentivize them to write complete answers. The goal is for the site to reach a point where when a person asks a question, they can be confident that it will receive a complete answer. – Keshav Srinivasan Mar 26 '16 at 13:01
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    @KeshavSrinivasan 1. "Hinduism" is not an exact science; expecting and incenting "complete" answers does not always find favor here unlike in SEs related to the physical sciences. I still vote for partial answers and certainly for upvoting them if they are accurate wrt the sub-area they are addressing. 2. Multiple comments are a nuisance. That is not what comments are for, in any online community. – user1195 Mar 26 '16 at 16:43
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    @KeshavSrinivasan multiple comments are indeed nuisance. Many times they come in 1 liners. Even though they start with good intention to help, they often get converted into discussion or arguments. Suppose if answer is partial, such discussion would be scoped to that answer only. Personally to me, the comment section below the main Q should be used judiciously. Now this doesn't mean, I completely support partial answers. But just pointing out my concern. For now I feel all the answers in this thread useful. – iammilind Mar 27 '16 at 15:21
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    I agree with moonstar, when even the Hindu scriptures don't provide the details properly then there are chances that people don't find full answers. Also, everyone has not read all the scriptures so if a person waits for getting full information by reading all scriptures then it will be too late. People can put their points as answer and can always later enhance when they know more about it. – Aby Mar 29 '16 at 4:55
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    Also, it is only Hinduism SE i think where we consider comments as important. If you check main meta or other SE sites then comments are given no importance as such. I think I even read sometime that SE can plan to cleanup comments after a certain period of time. So, if that happens, questions with only comments will have no answer type information as comments will be gone. – Aby Mar 29 '16 at 5:00
  • 2
    @Aby - Cleaning up comments is a bad outcome for Hinduism.SE since many answers were converted into comments by moderators, for insubstantial reasons. – user1195 Mar 29 '16 at 13:19

I think it's alright to provide partial answers to a question when whatever answer you know is too big for a comment and short of a complete answer. IMO, it's better writing it up as an answer than a comment as comments are not meant to last forever.

You can take a look at similar questions that have been asked on Meta.SE:

Is it okay to put partial answers?

Should I downvote partial answer?

As for your other question, whether to group multiple independent queries into a single question, the general recommendation from here is:

Split them and ask multiple questions.

Since you mentioned a couple of questions which I posted, let me clarify my intent.

  1. Q-1: English translation of complete Garuda Purana

    The reason I linked the other question (Complete English translations of Puranas) within my question is, if someone accidentally clicked on my question searching for the English translation of some other Purana, they can easily browse to the main/parent question. So in that sense, I was only linking it and did not add it as a 'sub-question' as you thought.

  2. Q-3: What is the story of Ashvatthama's mani (jewel)?

    Yes, it has many questions within but all of them are closely related and one question follows the other. Since they are so closely related, IMO, the above recommendation ('Split into multiple questions') does not apply in this case.

Here's an example of a question that can be easily split into at least two or three independent questions:

Original Ramayana and Mahabharata

I decidedly wrote a partial answer to it because the other answer addressed most of OP's questions.

P.S. In general, it's good idea to check the main Stack Exchange Help Center before asking a question here i.e., avoid reinventing the wheel, as most of the etiquette we follow on Hinduism.SE is derived from SE and SO.

  • Your answer is helpful& i was also of the same opinion.But as you can see Ankit Sharma has given a NO as an answer to my question.So which one among the given 2 is it to be taken as the decisive answer coz you both are moderators? – Rickross Mar 22 '16 at 18:06
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    @Rickross I'm not a moderator :) I just expressed my opinion on some of the issues you raised. – sv. Mar 22 '16 at 18:11
  • Oh i see ,i thought that you both are moderators of this site. – Rickross Mar 22 '16 at 18:12
  • @Rickross You can see the moderators here (Go to Users tab of any SE site and click on 'moderators' to find out the mods of that site) – sv. Mar 22 '16 at 18:14
  • 1
    Thank you.:) So there are 3 moderators right now. – Rickross Mar 22 '16 at 18:16
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    @Rickross Moderator can be identified with "♦" sign after there name. But remember SE employee also have "♦" sign in whole network. – Ankit Sharma Mar 29 '16 at 7:50
  • @sv. That also to be noted that what is partial answer, people here use to present single liner partial answer too with near to no explanation, they are no better then comment. – Ankit Sharma Mar 29 '16 at 7:57
  • And comments are not guaranteed to last forever but they sometime does when they have some significance of them. – Ankit Sharma Mar 29 '16 at 8:00
  • What do you mean by main SE help centre? – Pandya Mar 18 '17 at 13:54
  • @Pandya meta.stackexchange.com/help – sv. Mar 18 '17 at 19:40
  • @sv. Doesn't our site help centre show same result to that help centre – Pandya Mar 19 '17 at 3:59

Are partial answers considered valid?

No. For that specific purpose , comments can be used. For example, if someone ask what are the name of Pandvas, answer like I know two names Arjuna and Sahadeva are no more then a comment. Why to present and answer when you don't even know it.

We haven't encountered list question much but few SE sites do entertain distinct list question, where one person can't present 100% of the answer and people sometime use community wiki answer for that purpose, to avoid partial answer and present a full answer as a community.

Is it OK for the cases where more than one questions present in one question body.

No, even that question should be closed as too broad. We don't entertain multiple question inside one, it will only rise incomplete answers and not a good practice. Better decision would be to leave a constructive comment to inform user of his fault and place a close vote. After question get fixed, it can be reopened again.

Note: But sometime multiple question can be too tightly attached that they can't be separated without redundancy. For that cases, we can keep it in one question but that doesn't allow partial answer either, If any question attract more and more partial answer from new user, high rep user can you protect privilege against them too.

  • "What are the names of the Pandavas?" is ONE complete question.It does not have any sub-questions.So telling the names of only two of them should be considered incomplete and hence an invalid answer."What are the names of the Pandavas and who were their biological parents?" can be considered as a multiple question under one heading.Those are specifically the questions i referred to in my this question. – Rickross Mar 21 '16 at 7:54
  • @Rickross My answer are in two part, one for partial answer to single question and second partial answer to multiple question, read second part for that again. – Ankit Sharma Mar 21 '16 at 8:01

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