I have recently come across several questions where the answer is really the same. Take for example my answer and someone else's, to a different question.

In both of these cases, asker has misinterpreted (or just not read) the documentation and is not accumulating the text offered by the characters method.

It would make sense for just one perfect and informative answer to be grown and used in both of these cases.

We have the mechanism for "Duplicate Question" comments and this does seem to short-cut the problem of multiple answers to the same question but here the same answer applies to multiple questions, the questions are not the same, only the answer is the same.

It occurred to me that the concept of a Stock Answer could be used here. An answer could be posted by an observant member that merely contains something like [@StockAnswer](https://stackoverflow.com/a/8631299/823393) and it is rendered as an exact copy of the original answer.

Points scoring is open to discussion. Perhaps shared in some way between the original poster and the referrer.

I am aiming for something that can be chosen as an answer to the posted question while not duplicating (or rehashing in a less useful form) the same answer again and again.

Forgive me if this has already been suggested and rejected, I could not find the same idea elsewhere.

  • 2
    Wouldn't a stock answer belong on a financial site? Or a mens' clothing site? – Rosinante Dec 31 '11 at 1:44
  • How very strange!! It has a clear meaning to me but I cannot find a direct reference. Think of it like a "Stock Photo". An answer that can be applied to many questions. I'll try to find a reference. – OldCurmudgeon Dec 31 '11 at 2:06
  • Just an hour old and 3 down-votes already? Could someone mention why this is a stupid question? It was certainly asked in good faith. – OldCurmudgeon Dec 31 '11 at 2:32
  • I'm just kidding, not voting. – Rosinante Dec 31 '11 at 2:56
  • 2
    @Paul Downvotes on meta do not mean the same thing as on the regular site. – Dave Newton Dec 31 '11 at 5:12

No, it hasn't. An answer should be custom tailored to answer directly the question being asked. Good answers are supposed to by dynamic and updated to stay relevant and become better and better. But if a "stock answer" is improved, there's no way to know if the information is still correct in the context of the referenced question. That just sounds dangerous.

In reality, if an answer is being typed over and over, it's time to create a canonical QUESTION to attach it to. Then the endless variations of the same basic question can be closed as a duplicate of the canonical post.

  • 1
    This answer explains why I downvoted the question - it's already handled sensibly by existing facilities. – Flexo Dec 31 '11 at 2:47
  • Thank you. I will try to work out a canonical question for the answer "RTFM ... accumulate the data when characters is called". A comment on a down-vote is only polite. – OldCurmudgeon Dec 31 '11 at 2:48

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