The FAQ for "Why are some questions or answers removed?" mentions one of the reasons for answers to be deleted as:

exact duplicates of other answers

What does "exact duplicates" refer to?

  • Does it mean complete plagiarism — A word-by-word replica of another answer (grammar, punctuation, everything)?
  • Or, Does it mean an answer which provides the same content?

This question arose in my discussion with RolandiXor ♦. You can follow this Chat Transcript of our short discussion.

  • I am more in favor of interpreting as Content.
  • Whereas RolandiXor ♦ is more in favor of interpreting as complete plagiarism.

I want to know what is the community consensus with regards to this.

(BTW, if you plan to refer to other duplicate answers of that particular answer mentioned in Transcript - do refer to the Revision History of other answers as well - would help you provide more context about why they were "exact duplicates".)

BTW, isn't that Diamond automatically inserted in posts... I thought it appeared automagically :) –  Aditya Feb 21 '13 at 21:32
Oh no, we have small leprechauns that go trough all posts in SE and add them manually. –  Bruno Pereira Feb 21 '13 at 21:39
I want to know what is the community consensus with regards to this. I think "exact duplicate of" is too confining. I'd prefer "essentially the same as" or "practically the same as". –  user25656 Feb 22 '13 at 2:12
@vasa1: I don't know if it should be changed as such. But if it is changed - then the change should be for the questions as well (we close all the questions as "Exact Duplicates"). –  Aditya Feb 22 '13 at 5:06
If clarity can be provided by using appropriate words, interpretation may not be needed. –  user25656 Feb 22 '13 at 5:21
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1 Answer

up vote 8 down vote accepted

To quickly answer the question, if the answer offers exactly the same information (without any improvement, background or explanation) over existing answers, we consider it duplicate. It's not about word-for-word copying, it's about the solution provided.

There's simply no value in having dozens of answers that say the same things even if they do it in different words. This happens quite frequently when new posts come up. Two people will submit a post at nearly the same time and we tend to leave both up.

What happened here was significantly different. Here is the timeline on that question:

  1. Ages ago somebody wrote an answer.
  2. A day later somebody wrote essentially the same answer.
  3. Over 18 months later somebody posted another copy of the same solution.

Again, the new answer served zero purpose in that question. It isn't the same wording but it adds nothing. It was cleaned away.

Edit: Apologies if you read the first draft of this post! I originally thought the deleted answer was yours and addressed my reply as such. I think I've corrected it now and I hope that hasn't caused too much confusion.

Edit 2: Well I'm just Mr Bungles tonight. I didn't notice your edit of the second post. Adjusting my answer accordingly.

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