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I've noticed a number of questions on a particular topic that are very similar. Is it considered bad manners to copy and paste a common response to the similar questions?

If it is considered bad manners, can anyone suggest a different way?

marked as duplicate by gnat, LittleBobbyTables, Toon Krijthe, ben is uǝq backwards, psubsee2003 Apr 10 '13 at 14:56

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Apr 10 '13 at 12:03

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  • 4
    Yes, it is bad. It is rare that the same answer would apply to the same questions and if it does, that suggests that some of these questions are duplicates that should be closed as such. – Oded Apr 10 '13 at 12:05
  • Also note that there is a kind of "auto-flagging" feature in SO for posting the same post several times to catch advertisers/spammers. – Johannes Kuhn Apr 10 '13 at 12:26
  • 1
    It's a bad idea to just copy/paste the answer, however it's OK to copy/paste the answer to a non-duplicate question providing you: A) include a link to the original post, B) post the copied content in a block quote, and C) add your own text explaining how the answer applies to that specific question. I recently posted this as an answer to a very similar question, which explains in a bit more detail why a straight copy/paste is a bad idea. You might want to check it out :) – Rachel Apr 10 '13 at 13:42

I would say it is considered bad manners, and you run a decent likelihood of getting your answers flagged because of it.

If you see a number of questions where your answer is the correct answer for all of them, answer the oldest one, and then:

  • if you have enough rep, vote to close the rest as a duplicate of the one you answered, or...
  • if you don't have enough rep, flag the remaining questions as a duplicate of the one you answered
  • 5
    That decent likelihood is 100% - copy-pasted answers from the same user are automatically flagged by the system. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Apr 10 '13 at 12:46
  • @BoltClock'saUnicorn - that's pretty decent! – LittleBobbyTables Apr 10 '13 at 12:47
  • What if the questions are not themselves dupes (they are asking similar, but distinct things, that happen to all be explained/answered by the same piece of data)? – Ben Barden Apr 10 '13 at 12:48
  • 2
    @Ben Barden: If two questions are sufficiently different to not warrant being marked as duplicates, it's very unlikely that they'll be answered with the exact same code and/or exact same wording copy-pasted verbatim across them both. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Apr 10 '13 at 12:51