When I find that a question is duplicate, I just caste a vote to close it.
But sometimes I've got another answer to that question, in that case first I vote to close then I post my answer on the original question (old one), like here. the other situation is when I think it's not a duplicate or I didn't find the duplicate one then I send my answer.

Recently I saw some questions both answered and marked as duplicate by same person, which in my opinion is not cool, because:

  • If you think the question is duplicate why then you are sending an answer to it?
  • If you think it's not duplicate and the answer is different then why you are marking it as duplicate? (it just disallow the others to send an alternative solution to the question).

I can imagine a situation when you send an answer then you find that it's a duplicate however in that case I think casting to close is not cool again, if you believe it's duplicate and already has an answer then you should delete your answer, otherwise let others decide it should be closed or not.

These are all my opinions, so is this okay to both answer and mark a question as duplicate?

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Provided a question is a clear duplicate to an existing question.

What is ok

  • vote to close as duplicate. This will immediately direct the OP to the solutions posted there.
  • add an own answer to the previous duplicate if your solution did not yet exist there.

What is also ok

only if the previous question does not have any good answers:

  • write a brilliant answer* to the new question and vote to close the previous question as a dupe to the new one.

What is not ok

  • copy & paste the answer of another user from the previous question to the new one and hope nobody will realize.
  • copy & paste your own previous answer to the new question instead of voting to close as dupe.
  • add an own answer to the new question that would not be much different to an answer that was already given to the previous question.

*actually writing a brilliant answer is always very OK

  • Thanks for response, it was an informative response :-) – Ravexina Jun 26 '17 at 13:04
  • //write a brilliant answer* to the new question and vote to close the previous question as a dupe to the new one.// why not writing the answer under the older question instead? – Anwar Jul 2 '17 at 5:43
  • 1
    @Anwar: sometimes a new Q&A may get more attention. I believe it is OK to close a mediocre old Q&A to a better new one. Then writing an answer to the new Q is the better approach. – Takkat Jul 2 '17 at 10:04
  • +1 for </sup><sub> HTML code embedded in your answer. Thanks for the new (to me) trick :) – WinEunuuchs2Unix Jul 3 '17 at 21:43
  • what if they copied the answer from another stack exchange site? – Egon Stetmann. Jul 4 '17 at 22:23
  • @RenatoA. As far as I know, if the quote it and link to the reference it's okay. – Ravexina Jul 7 '17 at 17:06
  • -1 to voting to close the old question as duplicate. Why not just right your brilliant answer* in the old one? – Tooniis Jul 22 '17 at 6:25

I can see situations where answering and closing would be the right option.

There are some processes that are pretty daunting to new users. Boot errors, graphics driver foul ups, random crashes. You can throw them at a 10,000 word generic answer —or even try to improve an answer— but they're left having to follow it. It's not always possible for every level of user.

I'm sure ninety-something percent of questions that might fall into this area probably could have improvements on their existing answers, but sometimes it's easier to help that one person with their specific issue. Get their lsusb, their fdisk -l and apply an existing answer to their situation.

But it's still a duplicate. Closing it against a canonical answer —if it fits— is still the right thing to do too.

Don't get me wrong, doing that bigger edit might be better for the site in the long run and in terms of reputation, somebody is unlikely to see much off the back of a closed question... But never say never.

The harm of legislating against answers like this and kicking the people trying to help, far outweighs the harm of them being posted in the first place.

  • Thanks Oli... it was a good explanation :-) – Ravexina Jun 26 '17 at 13:05
  • 1
    What a heart warming answer. Way better than my own :) – WinEunuuchs2Unix Jul 3 '17 at 21:40
  • maybe such an answer should be in private chat with the asker – Tooniis Jul 22 '17 at 6:26

If you think the question is duplicate why then you are sending an answer to it?

Often what happens is that someone answers and 10-20 minutes later comes across a duplicate of that same post, exactly what you said in one of the last paragraphs. That's the why, most frequently. It's basically answering first, but then thinking "Hmmm, this sounds quite generic. Has this been asked before?".

The other case is that you write an answer, you think it's solid, and then you come across something that explains same idea in a far better format. It's simply a mark of good "customer service" - you provide a solution, and if there's something better, you point the customer to that.

And finally there's what Oli's already mentioned - a canonical post might be overly generic and it's far more valuable to the OP to get an explanation in simpler format, but the question is still a duplicate. Here's a good example. OP came back after asking the same question, even though duplicates were provided, so I made it easy for them - provided a script, but the question is still a duplicate, so close vote has to be cast.

If you think it's not duplicate and the answer is different then why you are marking it as duplicate?

Just like in your first question, the assumption is that the person who answers knows in advance that question is a duplicate. More often than not one doesn't realize that until later on.

it just disallow the others to send an alternative solution to the question

Here's the thing: it's very easy to think of Ask Ubuntu ( or any Stack Overflow site ) as a race, as some sort of "answer olympics". It's not. I've been there, fell into the same trap, and used to yell at my screen: "Dammit ! I was writing an answer just now and you closed it! How dare you!"

That's the wrong way to look at things. People come to this site with specific questions/problems and for the most part they care about getting a solution, not about who closes what.

Closing a question as duplicate doesn't prevent other users from posting alternative solutions on the linked duplicates ( if such answer doesn't exist already, of course). In fact, posting on linked duplicates is much more beneficial, since those are often highly viewed and have more visitors, therefore better exposure for your answer to the world.

Nowadays if someone closes the question before I finish writing, I'm actually glad:"Oh, you found something better? Cool. Let's go check it out and learn what other ways there are to skin this cat." Providing value, quality content, and solving a person's problem are far more important that unicorn dollars (aka reputation points).

I can imagine a situation when you send an answer then you find that it's a duplicate however in that case I think casting to close is not cool again, if you believe it's duplicate and already has an answer then you should delete your answer, otherwise let others decide it should be closed or not.

Deleting an answer only robs the user of the information they just got. If it's a valid answer, deleting it just because question is a duplicate doesn't make sense. Same information can be explained in multiple ways, and a posted answer might be more clear to OP than a generic answer on a duplicate.

Letting others decide is ok, but it's simply delaying what will happen eventually anyway. Of course, one can always challenge the close vote and cast a reopen vote, but that's only if you think the question isn't a duplicate. If the question is actually a duplicate, then not closing it means keeping something that already has an answer (and maybe many alternative and more suitable answers) for no valid reason.

  • Fair enough ... ;) and thanks for response :-) – Ravexina Jun 26 '17 at 13:04

I guess I'm guilty of both answering a question and marking it as duplicate. However when this happens:

  1. First I see an unanswered question, or question with poor answers.
  2. I answer the question to the best of my ability.
  3. Later I see someone nominates it as duplicate.
  4. I check the duplicate and if I agree with the nomination I vote too.
  5. I'm loath to delete my own writing (if it's good enough) so leave my answer where it is.
  6. Later on if the question is closed as duplicate I may delete my answer and move a copy to the original question. This depends on remembering the duplicate close candidate the next day and checking back on status.

Something else to consider is the title of the original question and the duplicate question can differ greatly. Both questions may attract viewers and upvotes in future keyword searches. As such I may err on the side of flexibility and leave answers on both questions.

I'd like to make it clear that if I see a question is nominated for duplicate close voting I do not bother writing an answer unless I feel it should be left open.

  • 1
    I too am guilty of this. The way it was explained to me, is that a "closed dupe acts as a signpost to another question that already exists" with answers that suit; possibly better answers (although this isn't always the case). I dislike duplication of effort so I'm unlikely to move an answer, as I've found answers that work on questions flagged as dupes on several occasions. I only delete answers that I think are bad and worthy of the bin. I think the OP wanted to know if it was OK to both answer and mark as duplicate. This appears to be addressed by existing answers. – Elder Geek Jul 3 '17 at 22:27
  • @ElderGeek good to know I'm not alone. Have a chevron (psuedo +1) to your comment :) And yes I think it was Zanna who has used the "sign post" metaphor many times. – WinEunuuchs2Unix Jul 3 '17 at 22:35
  • Signpost is a pretty common explanation around here for duplicates. It's been a number of years, but I think I may have heard it from @Serg first. – Elder Geek Jul 3 '17 at 22:44
  • Thanks for response :-) – Ravexina Jul 7 '17 at 17:05

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