This is a two in one question:

Should the asker of a duplicate question gain reputation for asking the duplicate question?

Should the answerers of duplicate questions gain reputation for answering them?

By asking a duplicate question you are diluting the value of the site. It takes lots of TLC to find the dupe and merge it in, yet you are still rewarded for producing that work.

The answerers of the duplicate question are also diluting the value of the site, because good and valuable information becomes splintered and harder to find.

  • 2
    I added the feature-request tag. This is a good idea and it should be considered for implementation.
    – Vaccano
    Commented Mar 24, 2010 at 21:00
  • 7
    Could you elaborate on how it dilutes the value of the site? As long as there is a link to the original question Im not sure I understand the logic that it becomes harder to find. Different people phrase questions differenly and if they are searching for it some key words might show up in one question that dont in another. Either way there is a link to the correct answer. Assuming your splintering logic is sound, then all duplicate questions should be deleted instead of closed.
    – Locutus
    Commented Mar 24, 2010 at 21:11
  • @Qui-Gon Jinn, the SO Rulers have deemed that lots of dupes are bad for the site. If not they would have not made the rep changes to try and stop them from doing it to gain rep. If there was ultimately no rep in it for the questioner who asked a dupe then it would become a lot less attractive. (And leave real questioners out of the war path in the future.)
    – Vaccano
    Commented Mar 24, 2010 at 21:17
  • 1
    According to the majority of people here, the value for the questioner is a quality answer, not the rep. in my opinion the majority of duplicates are from new users with little to no rep anyway.. why should they care?
    – Locutus
    Commented Mar 24, 2010 at 21:23
  • @Qui-Gon Jinn, >>in my opinion the majority of duplicates are from new users with little to no rep anyway<< If that were true they why did they make the rep change to try and stop the dupers?
    – Vaccano
    Commented Mar 25, 2010 at 0:56
  • @vaccano where are you getting that information from?
    – Locutus
    Commented Mar 25, 2010 at 2:34
  • 2
    @Vaccano, most people aren't asking questions to gain rep, they're asking because they want the answer. Commented Oct 21, 2011 at 23:55

6 Answers 6


One big pet peeve of mine is when someone answers a duplicate question with the link to the duplicate instead of doing the proper thing and commenting and/or editing the post itself. The posting of the duplicate link as an answer always seems to me to be a very cheap rep gaining ploy. So if people didn't get rep on questions closed as duplicate I probably would not be upset.

On closing a question as duplicate:

  • Question asker loses all rep gains or losses
  • Answers lose all rep gains or losses

On reopening a question that was previously closed as duplicate

  • Question asker has the rep reapplied
  • Answers have rep reapplied.
  • 4
    Is that what does happen, or what should happen?
    – waffles
    Commented Jul 3, 2009 at 0:56
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    I actually think the only person that should be rewarded is the person who found the duplicate.
    – waffles
    Commented Jul 3, 2009 at 0:57
  • 6
    That is what I believe should happen.
    – TheTXI
    Commented Jul 3, 2009 at 1:00
  • Sam Saffron: As far as your suggestion about the person who finds the duplicate, that is a little bit hard now with the way the duplicate close votes are given. It is entirely possible that it could be closed with 5 duplicate votes and all of them are pointin to a differen question. Who then would get the rep?
    – TheTXI
    Commented Jul 3, 2009 at 1:01
  • 1
    well, the person who found the "original" duplicate first, I guess, but on second thoughts it would open the system to gaming.
    – waffles
    Commented Jul 3, 2009 at 1:06
  • @Sam: Not really common anymore. It happened a lot before the comments system and the auto-linking on close for Exact Duplicate. Sometime you still see low rep users do it. Commented Sep 1, 2009 at 3:52
  • 1
    How about an exact duplicate of a question, but in a different language? Does that apply?! Commented Sep 14, 2009 at 13:12
  • Why should a user get their rep back when their down-voted question get closed? It's not really an encouragement to check for existing questions.
    – hypercrypt
    Commented Oct 22, 2011 at 8:00
  • Too bad this is not how it works and I doubt it will get implement any time in this life time, hoping it does but without any faith on further improvements on SO/SE. People should get points for closing questions but only if a majority vote with the same duplicate if there are multiple choices none gets the point which would force people to at least check if the selected duplicated answer does resolve the question or if there is a better one up for the job.
    – Prix
    Commented Sep 27, 2013 at 6:02
  • @DanAtkinson an exact duplicate in a different is not always possible. Asking to how to join two lists in LISP and Python are two different things.. Commented Oct 22, 2013 at 15:05
  • People who answered in good faith a question that turned out to be a hard-to-find duplicate should not be penalized. Commented Dec 8, 2017 at 18:24
  • I think for new users it is Ok to don't take reputations back, because it is a bit annoying for new users instead of warm welcome!!
    – C.F.G
    Commented Aug 28, 2020 at 5:47
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    and I am competely agree with @waffles idea that the only person that should be rewarded is the person who found the duplicate. Can I ask why this idea not implemented so far?
    – C.F.G
    Commented Aug 28, 2020 at 5:50
  • One can also distinguish (giving "duplicate" badges or something like that) good duplicates!!
    – C.F.G
    Commented Aug 28, 2020 at 6:15

I disagree that duplicates dilute the value of the site. Most people asking the duplicate questions aren't asking to manufacture rep (yes, there are probably a few exceptions), they just want an answer, and haven't figured out how to search SO yet, or just can't get the right words put together to get the search done right.

The real answer is more merging. If questions are merged, then the answerers still get the rep for their contribution. The question stub will be left for other searchers using that word combination, and no more rep will be gained on that question.

  • 4
    My problem is with people copying answers from the previous incarnation and posting them for the new incarnation. That dilutes the site.
    – PengOne
    Commented Oct 22, 2011 at 2:21
  • Yeh, direct copies aren't that great, but I think in merging the merger should kill the later copy, so the rep would go away with the next recalc. Commented Oct 22, 2011 at 7:18
  • +1 about merging idea: The question may be cleared away as a duplicate but for example fresh new answers, coming to which ever question (the major one or the duplicate), should be always saved.
    – mico
    Commented Oct 28, 2011 at 19:21

No, there should be no rep for asking a duplicate question. Answering it with a real answer should garner reputation. I don't want to require everyone to be duplicate cop and search for the duplicate before deciding to answer.

OTOH, I don't think there should be extra rep for the accepted answer to a duplicate.

This is one of several steps that should be taken around closing duplicates, linking to the duplicates, and creating a FAQ of languages and topics. I'd like to see some integration among these.

  • This is slightly related, the questioner just got 40 rep for stackoverflow.com/questions/1077390/… and the answered is no up to 60 rep ... is this really a metric of trust?
    – waffles
    Commented Jul 3, 2009 at 1:10
  • I really wonder where those upvotes came from. Commented Jul 3, 2009 at 1:42

I don't really have an opinion on whether the asker should not gain reputation from a duplicate question. I certainly don't mind that they do, and don't think I would mind if they didn't. However, I believe answerers should maintain whatever rep they receive. No one can know every question that has been asked, and as an answerer, you shouldn't be expect to first search and ensure it's not a dupe (that's the askers responsibilty). And so, the answerer is attempting to help build the community and should be rewarded if people find their answer helpful. At times this means an answer that is just a link to the dupe will gain rep, but in that case I have more of an issue with the upvoters than the answerer.

  • I think exactly the opposite here: "you shouldn't be expect to first search and ensure it's not a dupe". What is happening are inexperienced users asking easy "FAQ" type questions. They are not aware it is FAQ, they are unable to find the duplicate, but an experienced user answering it should be. It happens again and again, and currently the rep incentive is clear: it is a lot better for my reputation to answer the question than to identify it as a duplicate and vote for closing.
    – Suma
    Commented Mar 15, 2011 at 16:47

There has been a lot of discussion about the problems caused by those who post tons of questions just to get reputation.

Now with the latest rep change and recalc, those who abuse this have had their points halved. (Along with those that did not abuse.)

I think it be a good idea that any question that is closed as a duplicate has the points given to the questioner revoked.


As an example of what happens in such copy-and-paste answers for duplicate questions. Hopefully, it becomes a stalemate as such, see:

Duplicate question: How to encode a string for url param in python

Copy-and-pasted answers: How to encode a string for url param in python

Possible duplicate of: How to urlencode a querystring in Python?

  • Here the question is not for duplicate answers. It's about answering duplicate questions.
    – Himanshu
    Commented Jan 3, 2014 at 11:08

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