On stackoverflow, in my days at least, not active anymore, there was a rule which forbids answering duplicate questions (and most low quality or spam questions). Answering such questions is a try to steal points and encourages users to ask similar bad questions. I personally agree with that rule.

A mod on this site explained that the rules are a little different here (again it wasn't the case when I was active on this site, but new mods, new rules I get it), therefore I'm asking you this: I really want to downvote every answer on this question, because they are trying to steal points especially the guy with the highest rep, clearly he knows it's a dupe.

But under the new rules, are we allowed to downvote answers on such questions or flag them for deletion?

  • I do know that sometimes users answer dupes without knowing it's a dupe but most of the times they know, especially those who use AU regularly
    – Lynob
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 19:39

1 Answer 1


Generally, how you use your votes is up to you.

However, I would encourage you not to downvote answers just because duplicate posts exist. There are various reasons why people answer those questions, perhaps because they don't know there is a dupe, because they have an exact answer to the specific question (dupe targets aren't always perfect...) or they aren't familiar with the best practice. The user with the highest rep answering the question you mention, for example, has <3k so can't cast close votes (and they got that rep fast!).

Personally, I try to judge an answer on its own merits, but sometimes the context makes a critical difference, plagiarism being an obvious case. If you see an answer that's just copypasta then flag it. If the answer is poor, downvote it... But if someone has put effort into answering a question and done good work, regardless of the question being a duplicate, I prefer to trust their motives and value their efforts.

  • but his answer has nothing to do with AU, the question should belong to SU, and should be closed there, anyhow I won't downvote then, if this rule isn't enforced then I won't do that. I barely active
    – Lynob
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 20:04
  • @Lynob it's a question that shouldn't be anywhere on SE imho, and happily it has four close votes already and will probably get deleted.
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 20:08
  • 2
    @Lynob the general attitude of AU is to attempt to answer any question, no matter how trivial. If it's a duplicate, then answers should not be downvoted unless they merely say "look here," pointing to the dupe. If it's OT, then it's a bit more of a gray area, but as long as the answer is good, don't downvote it. Downvote the question, sure, but don't judge the answers on the quality of the question. Commented Oct 16, 2016 at 0:25

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