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I wrote an answer to one question about "WAMP port 80 busy" and saw the related questions on the right of the page. So I copy/pasted my answer to those duplicate questions. And I do not know what to do with these duplicate question.

Now I see that all of my answers about this issue were deleted.

I have two questions:

  1. If they wanted to deleted duplicate answers (this is a good idea), why did they not keep at least one?
  2. Why were all my answers deleted, but the questions not all marked as duplicate?

Link: I mistake that for this link I write my answer twice and when I find my mistake I see that was deleted, so I felt good for this action, but now I see all of them are deleted.

Link: I deleted my answer and reported a duplicate question.

Link: I deleted my answer, but I did not report a duplicate question.

Link and link: duplicate question.

If you search port 80, you can find more.

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Can you show a link? –  Pëkka Apr 28 '13 at 9:49
2  
A common pattern for duplicate answer is exactly similar to what you do. And some people don't even check what the question is exactly about and just blindly copy and paste. Therefore: 1 --> The moderators don't know which one to keep, and they don't have time to check which one is relevant 2 --> There is no guarantee the questions are duplicate just because the same answer is copied all over the place. –  nhahtdh Apr 28 '13 at 9:53
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Your answers were most likely deleted because those were clear duplicates. If you were able to evaluate that the questions were duplicates, flag or vote accordingly. Don't expects mods to do this merely because you posted the same answer on several questions. –  Bart Apr 28 '13 at 9:55
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(+1 for asking here, though I agree with Flexo's and Mat's answers.) –  Arjan Apr 28 '13 at 10:12

3 Answers 3

up vote 21 down vote accepted

When you see duplicate questions, rather than copy/pasting answers, flag them so that people with close privilege and moderators are aware of it and can do whatever necessary (closing and or merging).

Do not post your answer multiple times, it is not a good use of your time. If you find a net of questions that are all the same problem, pick the best one, give it your best answer, and flag the others as duplicate of that "canonical" one. The community will take care of the rest eventually.

When you post multiple identical answers, an automatic flag is raised, since this usually a sign that something not quite right is happening. These flags are often triggered by mild spammers that post links to their blogs as answers to tangentially related questions, en masse.
So people reacting to these flags are quick to act on them, especially if said answers are barely more than links. In some cases, that might mean all answers are deleted, with multiple people flagging different duplicate answers, even if one of them should have been kept and the rest of the questions closed/merged. Shouldn't happen if the copy/pasted answer is actually good, but sometimes things go wrong.

The Stack Exchange sites are community moderated. Everyone, including you, can help maintaining the site if they feel like it. Use the tools at your disposal for that (you'll get more and more as your reputation increases).

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thanks and how i can return one of my answer? –  amin k Apr 28 '13 at 10:12
    
You should be able to see them (here's some links: stackoverflow.com/a/16250983/635608, stackoverflow.com/questions/2158432/wamp-port-80-busy - a moderator did close at least one of the Qs as duplicate). You can flag any answer you have a link to to ask for undeletion, but please keep in mind the answer from Flexo too. (It's not netstate, its netstat btw.) –  Mat Apr 28 '13 at 10:16
    
Oh and do not, ever repost the same answer to the same question if it was deleted. If you don't understand why it was deleted, you can ask about it here. Reposting is sure to get very negative attention brought to your account. –  Mat Apr 28 '13 at 10:19
    
i know about ever repost the same answer to the same question was deleted.i mistake about it and i find my mistake when was deleted,i have not any Protest about it,i question that Why were all my answers deleted, but the questions not all marked as duplicate? and know ,that is important for me that can i return just this answer:stackoverflow.com/questions/2158432/wamp-port-80-busy –  amin k Apr 28 '13 at 10:27
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You need to fix that answer by editing it before you flag it for undeletion. The command name is wrong as I already pointed out. So, currently, all that's left in there is either already present in the other answers, an incorrect command, or a link to an external resource. Editing tips: use paragraphs, and take a bit more care with capitalization. Always put capitals at the start of sentences. And I is always uppercase. Just that (capitals and paragraphs), which isn't too hard to remember, will make your posts look much better. –  Mat Apr 28 '13 at 10:36
    
Thanks.I edit my answer and i flag it. –  amin k Apr 28 '13 at 10:49

We would much rather you answered only once and flagged these as duplicates, probably with one custom flag that identifies these all at once given the quantities. That has an added bonus of getting handled all at once consistently and efficiently by the moderator who sees it.

As for the recent ones, the duplicated content is automatically brought to the attention of moderators. I can't speak for the moderator who handled this but I certainly would prefer to see a suggestion from the community as to which question should be used as the target.

It would be nice to see more details in the answer, not just what to fix and a link but how to do it in detail. Spend some time making your one answer not just an answer but an awesome one at that.

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We have here a classic problem in Goal Misalignment, that raises its head every week or so on Meta. While the senior users, the moderators, and the community at large gain from preventing, and as necessary eliminating or merging, duplicates, it is in the immediate interest of Questioner and Answerer alike to work eagerly against this: they both gain rep by working against the greater interest.

The result is an unending Close Queue; constant duplicates that require constant attention; and a general weariness that saps interest and energy in a never ending battle.

I don't have an immediate answer to this dilemma, or even vague thoughts to present for discussion; only an observation that the growth of SO has possibly made the old methods of dealing with the issue possibly inadequate. However I do believe that a rethinking is needed, on ways to align the goals of individual community members with those of the greater community.

This may be as good a place and time as any to try and initiate a brain storm on possible ways and means.

Update:
I am not suggesting that we stop merging and eliminating duplicates. I am saying surely there are ways to align the goals so fewer duplicates get created and eagerly answered. In other words, to slow down the tap as an alternative, and complement, to just trying to unclog the sink.

Update #2:
This is a bit of a raw idea, so consider it as an attempt to ignite better minds, than as a proposal ready for implementation:

The economy of SO runs on rep. The process of leveraging weaker users to help edit posts seems to work; let's try it for duplicates. A few different pieces would be needed I think:

  1. A means of directly linking, and browsing between, a chain of duplicates.
  2. A rep reward for users, say those under 4,000 rep at a guess as we have a lot of potential duplicates, to identify duplicates. If the OP they get 5 rep, same as one upvote, otherwise they get 10 rep, the same as one upvote to an answer.

What problems have I missed with something like this?

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So... you're saying we should let all the awful, off-topic shopping questions be? We shouldn't close and merge the duplicates? We'd end up like Yahoo answers with many, many of the same one line questions with the same one line answers without punctuation. That's what SE is trying not to be. –  ɥʇǝS Apr 29 '13 at 3:49
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@Seth: No! I am saying surely there are ways to align the goals so fewer duplicates get created and eagerly answered. To slow down the tap as an alternative, and complement, to just trying to unclog the sink. –  Pieter Geerkens Apr 29 '13 at 3:51
    
Hm. I don't think I quite understand.. You're saying we can stop the flow of duplicates being created in the first place? We've been trying to do that for a long time.. –  ɥʇǝS Apr 29 '13 at 4:00
    
I'm saying let's pause; rethink; and consider why attempts to slow down the flow of duplicates haven't worked in the past. Part of it is the immediate short-term reward to Q & A alike. Another part is that OP's asking poor question often simply don't know appropriate search words on Google or SO. A third part is laziness, and that one we probably always have to live with. But if we can reduce the in flow due to 1 and 2, we will be better off than we are now. –  Pieter Geerkens Apr 29 '13 at 4:03
    
So stop answering dupes and make better titles (and tag better I guess..)? –  ɥʇǝS Apr 29 '13 at 4:04
    
I think that classifies as "Piling higher and Deeper"; it is just more of the same and addresses only senior community members. How do we reach out to the rest? –  Pieter Geerkens Apr 29 '13 at 4:05
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Why don't we pile higher and deeper on a new meta question? –  Robert Harvey Apr 29 '13 at 4:20
    
Oh,snap . . . . . –  Robert Harvey Apr 29 '13 at 4:26
    
@PGeerkens: if you've got a feature request, post it as a question. This answer will have very little visibility, and it doesn't address the question you attached it to. –  Mat Apr 29 '13 at 5:55
    
@Mat: I can't; I am question banned from Meta. Mr. -51 if you recall. –  Pieter Geerkens Apr 29 '13 at 6:06
    
Ugh. Well that sucks. (I understand Robert's comment now. And no I don't remember.) Get cracking answering support questions then. (BTW, rep for duplicate hunt has already been suggested, probably more than once. And duplicate are already linked, so I'm not sure what you mean by that.) –  Mat Apr 29 '13 at 7:28
    
@Mat: THanks; I will look those up, see if I can expand on previous suggestions. –  Pieter Geerkens Apr 29 '13 at 11:25

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