3

I have seen many answers to questions which reference other answers to that same question. While I can see the value to compiling all of the answers into one, it seems a bit sloppy if it is chained, especially if the referenced answer is deleted. This can also duplicate content instead of adding anything new. Shouldn't we require unique answers or is this practice okay?

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  • -1: If you see an answer which duplicate another answer, flag it as such. Case closed. Voting to close this question. – Jim G. Mar 19 '13 at 22:56
  • @JimG., I've seen lots of answers that duplicate most of another answer, but if there's also something new the mods handling the flags can't really just delete them. The community can edit and vote to delete, however. Also, the question here seems to be about references, not cut/paste, right? – Monica Cellio Mar 25 '13 at 14:34
  • @MonicaCellio: I agree with you 100%. That's why I voted to close this question. I'm not sure which problem Paul Brown is trying to solve. – Jim G. Mar 25 '13 at 14:35
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When I do it it's to avoid duplication, not to create it. This typically happens when another answer addresses part of the problem but not all of it and I want to build on that. I certainly want to give credit where it's due, and why spend the time re-writing in my own words what somebody else already said?

It's important IMO to only do this when you have something substantial to add. If somebody else's answer would have been 90% of yours, just add a comment about the other 10%.

Should the other answer be deleted, answers referring to it can be edited by anyone who can see deleted posts.

3

One of the main points in our FAQ is to avoid copying others. Any answer posted should add value or state points not covered in other areas. While citing information from another answer would be okay, I'd suggest proceeding with care.

In all the cases where I saw an answer begin with "As userXYZ says..." those posts generally get flagged and downvoted, even if there's additional information. Thus, to avoid having reviewers miss the point that you have a complete, standalone answer, make sure any information you cite from another answer isn't the very first thing people see. The best approach is to show how your answer differs right away.

Finally, as JimG mentions in a comment, if you see a post which repeats something someone else said without adding anything new, you can do one or more of the following:

  • Leave a friendly, constructive comment with suggestions on how to improve the post.

  • You may downvote the post if you feel it blatantly misses the main points of the don't repeat others rule in the FAQ. Downvotes send a powerful message that there's something wrong with the content. If a poster improves his/her post, it's a good idea to revisit and consider removing the downvote or changing it.

  • You may flag it as "Not An Answer", in which case, moderators and other higher rep users will see the flag and can vote to delete the post if there's no way to improve it.

If there is a possibility of improvement, I generally leave the post for a day or two until it's either improved, deleted by the community, or self deleted by the original poster. If the post does more harm on the site than if it were to be deleted, then I'll remove it.

As Monica Cellio says, the main goal should always be to avoid duplication, as it's just noise. Hope this helps! :)

-1

When I do it it's to avoid duplication, not to create it. This typically happens when another answer addresses part of the problem but not all of it and I want to build on that. I certainly want to give credit where it's due, and why spend the time re-writing in my own words what somebody else already said?

It's important IMO to only do this when you have something substantial to add. If somebody else's answer would have been 90% of yours, just add a comment about the other 10%.

Should the other answer be deleted, answers referring to it can be edited by anyone who can see deleted posts.

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  • 1
    Cute. Vote to delete as duplicate. :-) – Monica Cellio Mar 24 '13 at 2:24
  • I can see the point you're trying to make, but the question was citing, not copying word for word and adding a sentence – user5305 Apr 3 '13 at 13:25

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