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Is it acceptable to add a duplicate answer to several questions?

I have just written the following almost identical answers:

that are each essentially just pointers to Henson's answer here: https://stackoverflow.com/a/9256756/575530

The questions are not all duplicates, and where they are I do not have sufficient reputation to vote them as duplicates (though as won't points out I could still flag them for attention). Instead of this copy-and-paste binge what should I have done? It feels like the questions are close enough that Henson's fix will be useful, but not diverse enough to warrant tailoring the answer.

  • You should comment and link to your previous answer.
    – Lix
    Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 11:29
  • 4
    If the same answer can be applied to multiple questions then it is and indication that the questions are duplicates.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 11:34
  • @Lix and if you have insufficient reputation to comment?
    – dumbledad
    Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 12:16
  • Then you'll have to work on your rep count first - You are not so far from 50rep :) In this instance your comment would be useful but the rep limit to make comments is valid and has been talked about previously
    – Lix
    Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 12:18

2 Answers 2


Most of questions which can be answered by one answer are duplicates. In your case, you've got an ability to flag such questions and you should do it.

However, as I'm browsing through these questions, I see that they aren't necessarily duplicates. In that case, I think it's fine to do such things, but you have to be sure to edit that answer a bit to reflect a specific question.

In this specific case, I feel you've done everything all right.

  • That's a good suggestion for the duplicates. However they are not all duplicates and the same identical code fragment can be useful to related but different questions. No?
    – dumbledad
    Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 12:23
  • @dumbledad: Give me a second, still browsing through them. Added a paragraph
    – Martin.
    Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 12:27
  • Wait, what? "These questions ... are duplicates and they should be closed ... however ... I see that they aren't necessarily duplicates."
    – Pops
    Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 15:29
  • @PopularDemand: Excuse me for that, I've forgotten to re-read the first paragraph after my first edit.
    – Martin.
    Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 16:20

In the specific case, the questions are variants of the same question, and they should be closed as duplicate.

Generally speaking, when the questions are vaguely similar, but they are not duplicates, I think that copying and pasting the same answer for all those questions is not a good form; at least, it shows a lack of effort.
Even if the solution to two different questions is the same, there is always a part that is specific for a question, such as a code snippet, or some steps to follow. To make a comparison with questions you could find on Drupal Answers, on Drupal using the Views module could be the solution in many cases, but I would not write the following answer in all the cases.

You can do it with the Views module.

The Views module provides a flexible method for Drupal site designers to control how lists and tables of content (nodes in Views 1, almost anything in Views 2) are presented. Traditionally, Drupal has hard-coded most of this, particularly in how taxonomy and tracker lists are formatted.

As in those questions the user is asking about a specific use case, the answer should be tailored for that specific use case; it means the answer should report exactly what steps the user should follow to produce the content list wanted by the user (e.g. the list of users who have not logged in the past two months, the list of nodes with less than 300 characters in their body), or which module settings should be used to obtain the desired result (e.g. filter by user ID, filter by the taxonomy terms).
If the question doesn't contain a use case, and it is asking the Views module, then it is too generic, and it could be closed as not a real question.

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