I have found some users are just copy-pasting same answers again and again instead of marking them duplicates.

Is this allowed on Ask Ubuntu?

If not, how to deal with such users?

  • 2
    Excellent question. related: meta.askubuntu.com/questions/14279/… Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 19:15
  • Is their own answer or someone else?
    – Braiam
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 21:14
  • @Braiam their own answers
    – Alex Jones
    Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 10:25
  • 1
    I used to do this all the time until I discovered people frowned upon it. Now, I'm really careful about it. For example, I'll say "Please allow me to reproduce part of my answer from another question [link].." and then copy and tailor the answer. Of course I do still flag as duplicate if the question is a duplicate, but most of the time when I do this, the question is not a duplicate. For example, there are dozens of different things people could ask about swappiness or swap file usage and memory, that would benefit from an explanation of how swap works, but aren't duplicate questions. Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 23:50
  • Give them enough points to mark duplicates themselves. ;-) ----> Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 10:41

3 Answers 3


Personally I don't upvote answers to questions which are clearly duplicates ("clearly" = I can find an almost exact duplicate in the first three pages using the search function or in the first page using Google), because that encourages answering duplicate questions instead of closing them, which is the Right Thing(TM).

That being said if I catch an user copy-pasting old answers of them to a duplicate question, I downvote and flag the copy-pasted answer (and vote to close the question).

If the questions are reasonably different, I don't have a problem with that at all; it answers the question, so what's the problem? I'm pretty sure it has happened to me as well at least once to have posted an answer that later has been deserveful to be posted as an answer to another question.

  • I did the exact same way to you said, I downvoted the question but after leaving a comment. but the problem was that user (whoever he/she is does not matter) was after me, yelling in chat to remove downvote. what to do then?
    – Alex Jones
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 11:37
  • 10
    @edwardtorvalds either ignore them or flag their chat rant for mod attention or, since there is usually at least one mod in the AU room, ask one of them for help.
    – terdon
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 11:42
  • @edwardtorvalds As terdon said; if someone is abusing the chat to yell / insult / whatever for any reason (whether right or wrong doesn't matter), flag their messages and / or ping a mod.
    – kos
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 11:51
  • 1
    @edwardtorvalds you may not want to mention the way you voted, anywhere, for any purpose.
    – Braiam
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 21:14
  • @Braiam voting should always be private?
    – Alex Jones
    Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 5:22
  • 2
    @edwardtorvalds voting is private, for the very same reasons you describe. You are not obliged into telling anyone how you voted, and doing so never is a good idea.
    – Braiam
    Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 5:54
  • 4
    @Braiam I somewhat agree that voting is private, but only because of how the user reacted to being told. I think, generally, telling the user why you downvoted them is actually constructive criticism, and helpful, and the user reacting harshly is not the norm.
    – Hellreaver
    Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 19:32
  • 2
    @Hellreaver actually, telling how you voted distracts the person from the critic you are trying to make, and they feel obliged to point out that the vote is unwarranted and your constructive criticism is simply ignored. Read the history here meta.stackoverflow.com/a/265769/792066 also meta.stackoverflow.com/a/285777/792066
    – Braiam
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 2:32

I am fine with it if the answer might be the same but the questions are not really duplicates of each other. Like two different problems but only one solution that works for both.

If also the questions are about the same, I'd rather go for the duplicate instead. However, it's not really bad in my opinion if one answer appears at two similar questions or to questions that are later marked as duplicates of each other. As long as this does not become a bad habit, I would not interact. When we can observe that behaviour very regularly though, I'd leave him a comment. Nothing more.

  • 6
    The first rule should be: "Give a good answer and help".
    – A.B.
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 11:43
  • 12
    @A.B. The rule is provide an answer to the question, if a good answer exists, connect the answer and the question (by marking as a dupe). the site provides excellent tools to find your own dupes. Repeating the same answers is useless and creates a jungle of similar answers. Of course we should help, but not in the sense of a help desk. We help by creating and maintaining a database of good questions and answers. Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 19:06
  • 5
    @A.B. You give a good answer by closing it as a duplicate.
    – Seth
    Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 14:35

I think it's fair to say that most people struggling to find a solution to a problem come across the answers from a google search. Whether they see a number of copy & paste answers or a link back to a specific solution doesn't make much difference to them.

  • 1
    What's the point you're trying to make?
    – muru
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 12:56
  • I think his point is that he doesn't think copy-pasted answers are a problem, because they don't negatively affect the experience of someone arriving in via Google. Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 23:47
  • @thomasrutter While there is no immediate problem, allowing frivolous duplicates further deteriorates the quality of this site, thus reducing its value even for casual visitors. This answer is basically a straw man.
    – tripleee
    Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 12:07

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