I recently discovered that there are a lot of answers out there that just contain a link and some variation of the text "this is a duplicate". A lot can be found with the query is:answer body:"duplicate" url:"*stackoverflow.com/*" (currently 2,957 hits!).

I've added the query to the list of searches to use for finding answers that should be flagged, but I think this deserves some extra attention since there are so many of these, so that's why I'm making this post.

While a lot of these are probably from before closing as duplicates was supported, many are new also. I think leaving these around sets a bad precedent. We have a system in place to deal with duplicates, and we should be clear that people should use this instead of leaving non-answers.

So I call upon your aid to help me get these answers deleted, converted to comments or their corresponding questions closed. It's probably best to look these over by hand and use flags, but I'm a bit concerned about spamming the flag queue too much. Thoughts?

  • 2
    Also, close the corresponding questions as duplicates, if the answer is right and they aren't already. (If they are not simply bad, then close as not-a-real-question) Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 0:40
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    I won't participate myself, as I still have some "help", "question", "problem", "questions", "problems" to clean up, but I morally support your idea. But wait for a moderator to say some opinion about flag-queue-flooding. Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 0:42
  • I think "should be a comment" is a reasonable flag for these answers (and possibly even a link back to this question on Meta). Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 0:57
  • These definitely all should either be comments on the question or close votes / flags. I wouldn't flag all 2,000, but a hundred or so would get the ball rolling.
    – agf
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 1:05
  • I suspect that flagging is the only option, as voting to close doesn't seem to work with inactive questions. Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 4:03
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    I think this opens up a very interesting feature request ... it would be awesome to have the results of search show up in "review" format, that makes it way easier to re-tag or flag. Totally support that if someone opens it.
    – waffles
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 4:39
  • @waffles: I was thinking about this the other day too. I've written up a feature request for it.
    – hammar
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 13:49
  • Can we somehoue catch a list of the questions that are closed as duplicates from the effert, it may be interesting to feed them into a machine learning system at somepoint... Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 9:27

1 Answer 1


This looks like a good project, and I've started in on some.

One thing I noted is that you really need to review these, since some of them post both a link to the duplicate and an answer. They definitely all shouldn't be considered comment material, but each will have to be considered on its own. Of course, some just happen to be a legitimate answer with the word "duplicate" in them.

On the ones that don't need to be there, if the question isn't already closed as a duplicate, I'm closing it as one, then flagging the question for the mod, and letting them know that I've voted to close and that this is not an answer. Some I've voted to close, but then just edited the duplicate link out of the answer, and left what they had as additional answer.

Please review carefully.

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    Just wanted to add that by far the easiest subset of these answers are the ones which were marked accepted. Search:is:answer isaccepted:1 body:"duplicate" url:"*stackoverflow.com/*"
    – M. Tibbits
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 4:32

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