How should we deal with duplicate answers?

Using content from better answers to the same question to improve your own

What if 2 answers are essentially the same?

How to select the correct answer when their content is equal

The above questions have various different ways of dealing with this--but they're from the "ordinary user" perspective. My question is, when a moderator comes across a "duplicate answer", what should he/she do?

By "duplicate answer", I mean one that is posted a significant amount of time after the "original" answer (this eliminates the case that both users worked on the answer more or less simultaneously and there was no plagiarism involved) on the same question. It should not add much more to the answer pool than the "original" answer.

What should the policy be for dealing with such answers? Should we just downvote+comment? Or is it OK to comment+delete?

  • 2
    If the later answer doesn't really add anything to the discussion, I usually comment and delete. And if it's blatantly obvious that the later answer is a poor copy of an earlier answer, I'll probably not waste any time commenting. Whether you downvote is completely up to you, (up/down) voting is not part of your moderation responsibilities, you're acting as a user when you (up/down) vote.
    – yannis
    Nov 9, 2012 at 13:51

1 Answer 1


The Why and how are some answers deleted? page in the Help Center reports a list of the answers that may be removed. (The page is available on every Stack Exchange site.)

  • Commentary on the question or other answers
  • Asking another, different question
  • "thanks!" or "me too!" responses
  • Exact duplicates of other answers
  • Barely more than a link to an external site
  • Not even a partial answer to the actual question

I take moderators can remove those answers if they are flagged, or if a flag give a moderator's attention on one of those answers.


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