What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 131 Stack Exchange communities.

I had a question that was not perfectly answered. Several weeks later I figured it out myself.

After finding related and duplicate questions I posted my answer to these other, existing questions. Is that OKAY?

Is it okay that I posted my one answer to several related questions? Or is that bad form?

My reasoning is that it is a pretty good answer to a pretty common problem and I wanted to increase the surface area for the question.

share|improve this question

migrated from stackoverflow.com Aug 25 '09 at 18:03

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

6  
I'd be careful about doing this too much. People might mistake it as rep-grabbing. –  Matthew Jones Jun 3 '09 at 20:44
3  
If this is meant to be a FAQ question, it should be community wiki. Otherwise, it's not programming related. –  user27414 Jun 3 '09 at 20:45

7 Answers 7

People who pose a question often only watch THEIR question, and don't look at other related ones. By posting your answer multiple times, you helped answer multiple people's problems. I don't see anything wrong with this, you were just helping.

share|improve this answer

Sure, why not? If the answer is relevant to the question, and it may help the person who asked the question, then I think you should definitely post it.

You could also post it in one place, and put links in answers to the other questions, but that will just cause people to have to click more to get to the answer to their question.

share|improve this answer
1  
My opinion: clicks are cheap. I'm a fan of the links solution. It helps cut down on oft-repeated questions and oft-repeated mantras ("Don't parse HTML with a regex!"). –  Chris Lutz Jun 3 '09 at 21:06
    
clicks are cheap, but still take 5-30 seconds and can be frustrating, so if you link somewhere, make sure to summarize. –  Jason S Jun 3 '09 at 21:19

As long as your answer was relevant to each question, I don't think anyone will have a problem with it.

share|improve this answer

I would post a link to your original in each of the other questions, rather than duplicating it. This helps google index the site better and helps users identify duplicate questions.

share|improve this answer

If the question is similar enough to warrant an identical answer, mark is as duplicate and close. If it is a different question and you vary your answer, that's fine because you are deriving and answering it in a slightly different context. If it's an identical answer to a different question, that's fine as well. Link to the original answer/question as well if you think it will be helpful.

Above all, exercise good judgement and good intentions.

share|improve this answer

I have done the very same thing.

One note though, don't put a link in the duplicates, to the original. Some users may consider it annoying that you just copied your other answer.

You could put a link to the original in a comment. Preferably on the question itself.


Of course, make sure it is a good fit for the question.

share|improve this answer

If the questions are duplicates, then the newer questions should be closed as duplicates.

If the questions are not duplicates, but related in some way, then you can answer them, but I would rather adapt the answer to the question, which means:

  • If the question involves code, show the code that should be written using the solution you propose
  • If there are other solutions, and you know them, give a hint about them

If the questions are not duplicates, there is something that makes each of them unique in someway, and I would use that element to give a different answer for each question.

IMO, copying-and-pasting an answer is not answering a question, and from the point of view of who ask the question getting an answer that is a carbon copy of another someway-related question could be a bad experience. I imagine it would be a bad experience if I ask a question to a person, and I get the same answer given to the person before me, and the same answer given to the next person. At least, it would tell me I was not listened carefully.

As side note, duplicate answers given from the same user to different questions are automatically flagged, and the flag is visible to 10K users, not just moderators.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .