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I haven't seen this behavior out in the wild much, but it happened again recently and I was wondering if a flag could be automatically raised when this happens:

  • User posts answer
  • Answer is down voted
  • User deletes answer
  • User posts exact same text as a new answer
  • User effectively ditched down votes
    • Got down voted again? Wash, rinse and repeat.
    • Profit (perhaps after modifying the post, which is what you should have done to begin with)

I feel that this should raise a duplicate content flag, with slightly stronger wording. Would this be possible to implement? Or, perhaps, don't let users post new answers if they have a deleted answer to a question. Rather, force them to edit and restore the deleted answer instead, unless locked by a moderator.

I do have a link, but I don't want a lot of people to descend on it and create an even bigger disruption. It happened exactly as I described.

share|improve this question
Can we just outright reject reposted duplicate answers altogether, regardless of whether the original was deleted or not? – BoltClock's a Unicorn Feb 26 '12 at 15:22
@BoltClock'saUnicorn That has come up before, but I can't find a consensus. I had suggested hashing posts to detect this, but I can't remember where now, and I can't find it. Shame on me for just writing a comment :) – Tim Post Feb 26 '12 at 16:03
@BoltClock'saUnicorn However, presumably posts are already hashed, they would have to be in order for the duplicate content checking bot to work. Given that, I'm sure there's a reason they aren't blocked. I'm not saying it's a good reason, but I think one must exist. Too expensive of a check on submission, perhaps? – Tim Post Feb 26 '12 at 16:22
Of course, such checks could be defeated rather easily by simply changing a word or two. Some kind of similarity algorithm would be more robust, but also more expensive. – hammar Feb 26 '12 at 17:34
@hammar In this (and previous cases) the text was identical. I'd really be interested in seeing Community ♦ churn these up. Ignoring common words might help pick up more, but baby steps :) – Tim Post Feb 26 '12 at 17:41
@hammar such a similarity algorithm could also very easily block legitimately improved answers being posted after the owner deletes the original. Isn't this exactly what mods are for? I can't imagine this is so amazingly common we need to automatically block it. – Ben Brocka Feb 26 '12 at 17:41
@Ben: well, the request is to flag the post, not block it. But I'm not sure a content check is needed at all - wanna dig into this a bit, and see what the false-positive rate of just flagging all answers posted by a user with an existing, deleted answer would be. – Shog9 Feb 26 '12 at 17:59
Maybe moderators also need better tools to see the old post? Just a thought: I might have one of my answers deleted by a moderator, when I moved it from one question to a more generic question, within an hour after posting it. I first copied to the new place, then edited and deleted the old. I'm not sure, but maybe this raised a flag, and when that was handled 3 hours later the moderator did not realize that I moved it to a better place. No voting was involved. @BoltClock, what's wrong with moving an answer? – Arjan Dec 15 '12 at 12:46
@Arjan: I didn't say not to move an answer. I said we shouldn't let duplicate answers exist. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Dec 15 '12 at 12:47
Okay, @BoltClock, your (10 times upvoted) reject reposted duplicate answers altogether, regardless of whether the original was deleted or not? made me feel otherwise. Isn't reposting the only way a mortal user can move an answer? – Arjan Dec 15 '12 at 12:49

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