I asked this question on the Nickelodeon series Avatar Would it be possible for some to bend two elements? I linked to a previous question which had inspired it. Right away the first comment I received was from someone saying I had a possible duplicate and linking to to the same source and to this question also What determines a bender's element? Now technically the second link did ask this question but not as the primary question and according to what I've seen on this site it should have been made into an new question anyways. I had even read it before and missed the question.

I see this repeatedly where someone asks a main question and then asks a secondary question that should be addressed separately. Now in my case I don't feel any of the answers that were given to the previous questions came with enough authoritative information to be the answer to my question which is why I felt it needed to be addressed. I can definitely see though how it can look like a duplicate question but since the main question wasn't the same I wouldn't consider it a duplicate even if it wasn't my question.

Now most of this will get solved by people up voting or down voting and so my question specifically isn't the issue but an example of the problem I've noticed. If someone asks more than one question inside of a main question then does it count as a duplicate question if one of the secondary questions are asked separately?

  • I'm tempted to close this as a duplicate of the question where I posted this answer… but this is a different specific case.
    – user56
    May 15, 2012 at 19:44
  • @Gilles The irony of that would definitely not be lost on me. But what if the accepted answer doesn't address the question or even if there is no accepted answer? May 15, 2012 at 20:10
  • It's not about the existing answers, it's about what a good answer would include. If the existing answers don't address the old question satisfactorily, that's a different issue: just because a question has not had good answers doesn't mean it's ok to repost it.
    – user56
    May 15, 2012 at 20:14
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    @Gilles So would it make sense to have two messages for closed duplicate questions? One that clearly states it has been asked before and one that clearly states that an accepted answer given has covered the question being asked. It would help direct people to what they needed to edit to reopen or show them clearly where the answer was. May 16, 2012 at 15:12

2 Answers 2


Question #2 is a duplicate of question #1 if any good answer to question #1 would also satisfactorily answer question #2.

In this specific case, I don't think the questions are duplicate either way. Bending all elements is harder than bending two.

  • And there's a big difference between being able to bend an element, and mastering bending an element. (At least, that's how it sounds to me, having not seen the show)
    – Izkata
    May 15, 2012 at 22:49
  • In the shows world, bending two elements is presented to be as impossible for non-Avatars as bending 4. So it's not harder to bend 4 elements than 2; they're equally impossible.
    – user1027
    May 16, 2012 at 0:05
  • @Keen That wasn't obvious to me, I haven't seen the shows or even read the Wikipedia article, but I did read Thaddeus's answer, and it implied a distinction between mastering them all and bending two. So I reopened Kevin's question.
    – user56
    May 16, 2012 at 0:22
  • @Gilles It's not immediately obvious to non-viewers. The last sentence of Thaddeus' first paragraph mentions it, but in a way that fans would recognize: Only the Avatar who is linked specifically to the spirit of the world and able to trace his reincarnations has the spiritual capacity to manipulate more than a single element. Here 'manipulate' refers to element bending.
    – user1027
    May 16, 2012 at 0:40
  • @Keen Yes but in the question I wrote I specifically asked if the spiritual prerequisite is met, be it connection to a past life or a spiritual journey like Iroh took, then would it be possible. Also Thaddeus' answer although a very good one didn't answer the question I had in my opinion. In yours it did. And so without much community input mine was closed. I have accepted an answer that I think is correct for the specific question I asked. Thaddeus' has also been accepted now. As Gilles pointed out though both questions could be duplicates of question #1 if an answer covered them. May 16, 2012 at 15:07
  • @KevinHowell One person can meet that spiritual prerequisite, the Avatar.
    – user1027
    May 16, 2012 at 15:31
  • @KevinHowell There were, if I recall correctly 3 people including myself who believed this to be a duplicate. I don't know what your threshold is for "much" community input.
    – user1027
    May 16, 2012 at 15:32
  • @Keen Where are you getting that only one person can meet that prerequisite? Only one person has (or specifically one entity reincarnated into several people) but nowhere have I seen it ruled out or specifically stated that the Avatar is the only person that will ever bend more than one element. Also by community feed back I mean specifically downvotes. It's been my understanding that voting is the communities voice. Also I replied to all of your comments and received no input back from you. I pointed out the differences in my question and others seemed to agree that they are there. May 16, 2012 at 16:00
  • @KevinHowell From the original source from one of Thaddeus' quotes, the opening of the first episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender. And from the start of the first episode of The Legend of Korra, where they show little Korra bending multiple elements, and her parents present this as proof she's the new Avatar.
    – user1027
    May 16, 2012 at 16:17
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    @Keen Here is the opening from Nickelodeon Water. Earth. Fire. Air. Only the Avatar was the master of all four elements. Only he could stop the ruthless Fire Nation from conquering the world. But when the world needed him most, he disappeared. Until now... That's it. The question I asked is would is be possible to bend two elements. The answer as I see it is "No. Not at this time but it has not been clearly stated that it's impossible." It was not stated in the Last Airbender that only the Avatar could use more than one but it was stated that only the Avatar could use all four. May 16, 2012 at 16:52

Generally, when another pre-existing related question has answers that fully cover a newly-posted possible duplicate, that possible duplicate is closed as a duplicate.

Now in my case I don't feel any of the answers that were given to the previous questions came with enough authoritative information to be the answer to my question which is why I felt it needed to be addressed.

Then edit it to make this clearer. Currently, Thaddeus' answer covers the territory that your question asks. It also covers the question 'Would it be possible for someone to bend 3 elements?' It's axiomatic in that universe that everyone can bend at most one element, unless they're the Avatar.

  • Thaddeus' answer has not been accepted though. It is a through answer but it has also been downvoted (though no comments as to why) which I take to mean that his answer is not agreed with. He does link to wiki and then comments that he's only repeating what the writers have said but he doesn't link to any of the writers. Plus closing the question without any downvotes doesn't really give the community a chance to discuss. I might find a way to distinguish my question better through community input. Only the Avatar can bend four elements that's clear now. But why can't someone bend two? May 15, 2012 at 15:06
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    Thaddeus' answer is also not logically sound. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, regardless of how much absence is discussed. May 15, 2012 at 15:16
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    @GabeWillard Sounds to me like Thaddeus answers the question in the very first paragraph (Only the Avatar who is linked specifically to the spirit of the world and able to trace his reincarnations has the spiritual capacity to manipulate more than a single element). Or are you looking for a sci-fi answer in a fantasy context?
    – Izkata
    May 15, 2012 at 22:52
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    The question wasn't asking if people have done it, it was asking why can't it be done. Additionally, just because the Avatar is the only one who has done so does not logically imply that he is the only one who can. May 15, 2012 at 23:04
  • @Izkata Pretty much my thought process as well. In addition, some of the other parts of his answer back up that point.
    – user1027
    May 16, 2012 at 0:03
  • @Izkata It seems to me that Thaddeus wrote that himself if it's a direct quote from a creator or writer on the show then any link or documentation would end the debate. It doesn't matter if an answer comes from sci-fi or fantasy or real-life as long as the information is factual or logical and not opinion or implication. I asked a question and gave the stipulation that the spiritual prerequisite is met would it be possible. Now if a writer, creator or episode has shown clearly that it takes multiple lives and spiritual contact to bend multiple elements then cite it, factual answer accepted. May 16, 2012 at 17:02

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