This is, unfortunately, the schema I often see. There is some question which quickly becomes very popular because of an interesting title or an interesting problem, however usually an easy one. Almost immediately there appear a few answers, which are posted independently, providing sometimes different, sometimes similar solutions (Fastest Gun in the West Problem). The question is popular and gets upvoted, and the answers also.

And here's the problem. Here comes the user, usually low-rep, and posts his own answer. Well, not exactly his own – it's an exact copy of an existing one, sometimes minimally improved – which should be an edit anyway.

I downvote such answers, but I don't think it's enough. If they are posted on purpose to farm reputation, the aim of the answerer is still fulfilled if there's more than 1 upvote for every 4 downvotes.

But I don't see the flag as duplicate answer option. So I'm confused: should I choose the requires moderator attention - other option every time, or should I use a bigger gun, flagging the answer as spam? The last seems to me as a bit too harsh, but AFAIK the spam flags are automatically processed, and the requires moderator attention flag requires the human to interact, and the review queues are overfilled.

Which of those flag options is more appropriate?

  • 3
    It is definitely not spam. If you flag them as spam, the flag ought to be declined. You can try flagging as "other", with reason plagiarism (if that applies). Commented May 14, 2013 at 17:35

1 Answer 1


Unless you are a moderator (20k or community elected), your only option is to flag the answer and state your concerns. However, please do not flag the question as spam as that has other side effects.

  • what side effects, except reputation loss to the accused spammer? Commented May 14, 2013 at 17:29
  • Here are all the details on how the spam flag works: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/58032/…
    – Josh Mein
    Commented May 14, 2013 at 17:33
  • Hmm as I see, spam flag is reserved for very Bad Guys, so it seems the spam flag would be slightly misused in my case Commented May 14, 2013 at 17:52
  • What about Very Low Quality?
    – scenia
    Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 15:22
  • @scenia Comment on the answer and ask them to improve it. Moderators have plenty to deal with as it is.
    – Josh Mein
    Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 15:26
  • 1
    Should have been more specific, sorry. I mean answers that have exactly the same content (sometimes even just parts of it) as an already existing (sometimes even accepted) answer posted weeks, even months later. Answers that add absolutely nothing and basically just hope to get some rep because technically, they're correct. Downvoting seems wrong because they're still correct answers, so I thought flagging might be the way to go.
    – scenia
    Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 15:36
  • @scenia Use the other option and explain your concerns. If the mod feels that the answer needs to be deleted or some other action taken, they will do so.
    – Josh Mein
    Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 15:39

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