Basically what I am asking is, can I copy and paste an answer I have submitted on another post even when I reference it? Or is it frowned upon? Would you rather a link to the original answer?

  • This is frowned upon, especially because if you're copying answers around the questions are probably duplicates.
    – Seth
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 3:27
  • I thought as much. Thank you
    – Turtle Bum
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 3:33
  • How on Earth could this be a duplicate? I mean seriously? This is asking if I can repost an answer. That question states that the answer to the question is another question.
    – Turtle Bum
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 10:19
  • 1
    @TurtleBum when I first read the title of that question, I thought the same thing. But it is actually the same. I read it as "What to do if the good answer is another question?" instead of "What to do if the good answer is in another question?"
    – Dan
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 11:08
  • @TurtleBum To expand on what Dan said, on Ask Ubuntu we use the term "question" in a few different ways. 3 common meanings of "question" here are: [1] a post of question type (as opposed to answer or tag wiki type, a moderator election entry, the tour page, help entries, etc.); [2] a page created by a post of question type that contains that post and may also contain answers (that's, after all, what a link to a question actually points to); or [3] the idea from which a question takes shape (e.g., "If you have a NEW question, ask it by..."). There, it's [2]. Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 11:46

1 Answer 1


I think the best thing to do is:

  1. First figure out if you think the questions are duplicates. If you believe so, flag one of them as a duplicate of the other. As Seth says, this is most often the case.

    Typically you will be flagging the question you considered posting an answer on (as the duplicate target should almost always have one or more answers that really do answer the question being closed as a duplicate). This is most often also the more recently posted question.

    When are they duplicates, rather than questions that might share an answer? Unless you expect that other valuable answers would apply to one and not the other, and that neither question can reasonably be broadened to account for this, they are probably duplicates.

    That is a general guideline or heuristic--not a rule. You'll have to use your judgment, or ask others for their input (you can post on meta, or if you have enough rep to talk on chat, you can discuss it there).

  2. If you do not believe they are duplicates, but you do think your answer on the other question--or someone else's--answers it, write an answer that addresses the differences that made the question not duplicates.

    This answer should cite the answer on the other question (whether or not that answer is written by you). Sometimes the best thing to do is restate part of it, and provide a link for more information. Other times, block-quoting from the other answer is the best way. This is for you to decide. You might combine the two.

    Unless the other answer is very short, you should probably not quote the whole thing. (Though there is no copyright problem in doing so provided it's rightly credited--both it and your answer will be licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0).

    Instead, what you are doing is to adapt the answer to the different question you are answering, in such a way as to address what is different about it, creating a different answer in the process.

  • Is creative commons applicable when you are the owner of the information?
    – Turtle Bum
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 6:28
  • @TurtleBum I am not a lawyer; this isn't legal advice. If you're asking if its restrictions apply to you when you are the author, the answer's generally no. You can copy your own work (provided it really is your own work and that you haven't assigned exclusive rights to another party). The only reason I've brought up CC-BY-SA in this answer is to establish that it is not a copyvio to quote an unlimited amount of text from one SE answer in another, provided proper attribution is given, whether or not the source is your own work (and whether or not it incorporates edits from others). Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 6:32
  • Ah I see what you are meaning now. You have confirmed what I thought, thank you :) I would upvote, but I am 1 rep off.
    – Turtle Bum
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 6:36
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    You still own your answers so you can repost without attribution (provided the post is wholly your work). Technically this wasn't the case pre-2014 but I spent some time ensuring the old wording was replaced.
    – Oli Mod
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 7:11
  • @Oli Btw, thank you very, very much for your service in this regard. The old ToS wording about this was severely problematic, and in my opinion the change has greatly benefited SE users and the public. Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 7:33
  • @TurtleBum there has been cases of people literally copying themself or part of their answers in different answers.
    – Braiam
    Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 12:36

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