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I flagged a post by a non-newbie as "not an answer". In such cases I usually go look at the other answers by the same user and here they are clearly everything but great. This answer strikes me as particularly useless: he actually dug up a question that is 9 months old only to repeat what the previous three answers (including the accepted one) already said. With the main difference being that the other answers provided additional information while he didn't.

Should such answers be flagged? If yes - what should be the flag reason? Technically speaking, it is an answer. Also, I noticed that moderators tend to disagree about "very low quality" in such cases because it does answer the question and probably would be acceptable if it were the first answer for the question.

Edit: Just realized that this answer by this user follows the same pattern - it has been added almost a year later and is repeating the existing answers while being less helpful.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Personally, I would do two things:

If the user has less than 2K (edit privileges):

  • Leave a comment explaining that repeating answers without significant contribution is frowned upon & link to either the faq or this question. This gives the user the opportunity to correct their improper behavior.

  • I'd then bookmark (or fav) the question and check back in a week. If they haven't changed their answer, then I'd flag it for moderator removal. As to the reason, I'd chose other and note your actions/reasoning -- I find it odd that the user you linked to left a one liner which omitted most of the important contributions others had made and the 'Thanks,' is also a big tipoff that they don't understand the general operating procedure here.

  • Note: In this case I don't favor downvoting -- it's basically a wasted vote which disappears on deletion.

If the user has more than 2K, then I would immediately flag and comment:

  • Leave a comment explaining that repeating answers without significant contribution is frowned upon & as they have edit privileges, they should really consider just improving another answer instead of copying it and calling it their own...

  • I would also immediately flag it as Other to explain your actions/reasoning to the mod.

  • If the user really appears to be making a habit of this (especially if the answers aren't CW) then I'd note that and let the mods consider harsher penalties. Note, I wouldn't flag more than one answer in this case -- don't make extra work for the mods! Send waffles instead...

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I would flag it under "Other" and write a reason such as "Obvious copying of other accepted answer for rep gain"

OR what you could do is downvote this, so the poster loses interest in such gimmicks.

I write OR because once the answer is deleted, they get back the rep on a recalc. So I's rather dissuade him from doing this.

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Because the user you linked to has such a low rep, I would tend to flag them. New(er) members don't always understand how the site operates and that they shouldn't be needlessly polluting an old question with an answer that adds zero value.

My own attitude towards this low rep user also made me think - why flag a low rep user, and not a high rep user in the same situation? To which there can be only one answer: rep doesn't matter, flag them anyway. It is hard to imagine a high rep user doing this unless it was by accident, whereas a low rep user could be just trolling for up-votes and getting their name out there.

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3  
Low rep but almost two years on SO and five own questions asked (most of them with positive votes) - I don't think that "not knowing how the site works" is an excuse in this case. –  Wladimir Palant Aug 25 '11 at 6:38
    
true, but he is a member for 1 year, 10 months - though only active since Oct 2010. –  JoseK Aug 25 '11 at 6:38

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