Reading How to handle duplicate answers that add nothing? I want to add, how should duplicate answers be dealt with (if they should be dealt with at all).

The use case I want to focus on is:

  • User has the same exact (Copy/Paste) answer on several questions that are relevant

With this in mind, should duplicate answer be deleted, moved, edited... or should they be left there and ignored knowing that this could get really carried away with users in the future simply copy / pasting their answer in any question that is relevant either by the same tag, title, problem. Imagine a question related to upgrading Ubuntu (does not matter the what the problem is) and the user only posts do-release-upgrade -d about 100 times in 100 questions. Am looking at this from the stand point of where it could get to (exaggerating a bit but wanted to make a point).

So, how should answers that are duplicate of another be handled?

  • 1
    I agree that this is relevant. An AU policy is needed. Sometimes I doubt whether I should repeat an answer (and score a few easy points) or just link to the other answer.
    – don.joey
    Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 18:08
  • 1
    What comes to my mind now: during review of "late answers" I stumbled over a few users giving the exact same answer to two or more old questions.
    – guntbert
    Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 19:21

2 Answers 2


Are the questions dupes then?

If the same answer holds true for more than one questions it is likely that both questions may be dupes too.

Need they be edited to hold true for both instances?

It may then be that the way they are worded does not yet justify closing one of them as exact duplicate of the other. We could then think about how to edit the supposed master question to be general enough to also be valid for the then to be closed duplicate.

What if the questions can not be "duped"?

There will be questions where we cant do so. Rather than giving an answer or a comment with just a link to the "master" answer I believe that it is then fine to have an almost identical answer on both questions. It is giving an answer to a question what counts in the end. If the identical answer was upvoted it shows that it helped at least some people. If no vote was given the answer will move to the end. Apart from adding some clutter not much harm was done then.


Generally, I cite the original source, but only if it directly addresses the question.


I know this probably isn't exactly the case you're looking towards, but if the questions can't be merged and the answer does apply - then what? Sticky judgement call.

  • 1
    OMG LOL. What was that. Am suing you for [Type dumb excuse here]. ok but seriously, was talking about dupe answer inside Askubuntu. That example you gave might apply but am more into the ones that show inside AU. As you say, it is a very sticky judgement call. BTW upvoted your awesome answer ^^. Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 17:18
  • If the dupe answer is on another site. It's OK to copy it, provided we cite original, because we have no control of other sites and the answer may be removed. If its here on AskUbuntu I post a comment with a link to the answer and flag the question for closure. This probably means I'm losing out on easy reputation points but that's not the point of the site. Commented Apr 18, 2013 at 6:10

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