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From time to time I see a duplicate question, and I flag it or act to close it, and in many cases good users refer to the source of the question and the original answers. However, sometimes, a different user will answer that duplicate question, and so I ask myself, what should I do? The answer provided is good, sometimes a summary of the top answers from the original post. Should I up-voted it, because it is a good answer, or should I refrain from that not to give insentive for people to post duplicate questions in the first place. Looking around meta I found a few discussion on what to do about duplicates (like these 1, 2), but I couldn't find any opinions about answers given by other users...
I hope the users of meta won't find this question too close to other question to be considered as a duplicate :)

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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

This depends. If it's an obvious dupe, it's best not to answer it and try and snipe some cheap points. It's probably not a good idea to reinforce this behavior with upvotes.

However, if it's not an obvious dupe at the time the question is asked, feel free to upvote good answers. Often times a duplicate is not found until many minutes later. In these cases, answers may be merged over to the master duplicate. Sometimes, duplicates can be very hard to find.

After it has been marked as a duplicate, I'd be extra picky about upvotes. I usually save my upvotes for the master question in that case, except for rare circumstances.

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If I'm sure I've seen it before, then I go hunting for the duplicate and don't bother answering. If it's something I'm not 100% sure I've seen before, but figure it must exist, but I can't find it via searching, then I'll have a punt at an answer.

For answering:

If no duplicate turns up, then hopefully the answer can stand. If someone suggests a duplicate (assuming I haven't moved on from the question), and it looks like pretty much the same as my answer, then I'll consider making it CW instead. (No reason I shouldn't have votes for my effort prior to knowing it was a dupe).

For voting:

If I'm convinced it's a dupe, then I'll try and find it as quick as possible, otherwise, while I'm looking for it, I'll upvote answers that are good answers... (as I might not end up finding a dupe anyway...)

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As said George (it felt bizarre to upvote someone with this name...), this depends. You can't really have a simple general rule.

Often, the new question

  • brings a new better solution
  • is simply clearer
  • is better just because the old question was outdated and obsolete

In this case, you should upvote it. Sometimes I add a comment asking for the question not to be closed or deleted as the answer brought some value.

Otherwise, if the question and answer are well written, seem good for SEO, I may upvote and vote to close but not to delete.

When neither the question nor the answer bring nothing, I vote to close and often to delete. But I see no reason to dowvote if the answer isn't wrong or blatant plagiary.

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