I just posted a question inspired by an earlier question/answer pair in cross-validated (CV). I think this is part of the intent of the site and a delightful phenomenon. There were folks involved in that other question who had good input in answers and comments. While they are notified and have links to that question and its ... communication-ecosystem, they are not connected to my question.

I wish there was a way that I could link to the question as a follow-on. I would like to tag users, but I don't want to deal with trolls or spam, or that high level of complexity.

I think that there are domino cheers, Markov chains, in questions that exist, create, and comprise an ongoing living organism. This is what journals, and chat forums do. They provide a universe where these creatures can live and grow. While these creatures exist in the primal soup of these early social computing constructs, those constructs were blindly built. They are imperfect at providing ideal habitat.

I'm not looking for the NationalInstruments discussion fora - they have the "chains" but not nearly the purity and caliber and focus of thought that currently, delightfully, exist in CV. I guess that there is an ideal thought organism, and a world appropriate for it. I don't know what either means, but like giraffe-necks, we are always building toward it - we can't not make a choice. If we can't hit the brakes, then we can at least steer the car.

I am suggesting that by being able to connect new questions to old we can engineer a non-accidental Markov chain that allows any reader or potential participant who enters to a random point on the chain to traverse the current branch toward its tip or tips, or to go back toward the root and see (and contribute to) adjacent branches they might never have known about.

Now linking to a single or multiple previous posts might cause graph-theoretic issues like loops or mazes. Such connection could inform utility of pages and contribution of users, like a pagerank.

Is there a way that I can link to a previous post in such a way that the participants who choose, who I do not know, have the choice to participate in my question?

Is there a way for me to see the children of a particular post? I know there are some truly excellent and brilliant folks here and they engender substantial learning and growth. Evidence of that is going to be in downstream questions. If I wanted to learn from them in the more sequential way, exposing myself to their light for not just an instant, but multiple sequential times making a continuum and showing the evolution of their thought over time, how would I do that?

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There seems to be a lot packed into your question. As far as the parts that consider changing the SE system, I suspect that is unlikely to occur. Here are a few concrete suggestions regarding some of your points:

  • First, I would simply link to the prior thread at the beginning of your new question, with a short statement that your question is inspired by what happened there.
  • With respect to having answerers and commenters there notified of your new question, the easiest way would be to leave a comment below such answers and ping the commenters by leaving another comment below theirs with @user____.
  • As to learning more from a particular user, and finding all of their subsequent answers, etc., most of that can be done via their user page. In particular, at the bottom there is a link for an RSS feed, so you can sign up to be notified of what they do on CV.
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