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I am pretty sure it is bad form (and probably plagirism) to copy somebody else's answer for a question into another question as your answer. That was covered in this question. But what about my answer?

I was answering this question on SO when I looked over at the side and saw a similar question from 2 years ago. It turns out they needed (IMHO) the same answer. I wrote the first so there is not an ethical issue with my copying my own answer to another question. Should I copy the answer from the first to the second or link to it?

Positive: I invest a lot of time in giving a good answer, and I want it to be seen, and people are more likely to read the answer (good or bad) if it has breadth and depth as opposed to a single "see this other post" reference. If the goal is to get the best answer into people's hands, then getting it read is paramount. They have to read it to decide if it is worth the time of others.

Negative: If I change/update in one, I have to update in both. This is on "me", though, so I can take the hit (or not). Also, it may appear that I'm spamming the same answer over and over, which is not necessarily good for me. Again, this is on "me".

What is the policy (or at least best choice) here?

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    Then you vote to close the question as a duplicate. If the other answers provide the right solution to this question, then it is a dupe, really. – Martijn Pieters Dec 9 '13 at 14:14
  • @MartijnPieters Unfortunately it's not necessarily a duplicate just because one answer fits both questions. Sometimes on of them has a smaller scope or additional constraints so that only some but not all answers fit both questions. – CodesInChaos Dec 9 '13 at 14:56
  • @CodesInChaos: I've seen cases before where 90% of the question is answered by a duplicate; I still vote to close and cover the remaining 10% in a quick comment. – Martijn Pieters Dec 9 '13 at 14:59
  • In this case, while the answer can serve both questions, I feel the questions are really different in scope. My answer covers the more general question, and the specific. I edited my answer in one of the posts to reference the other so it is not a cut/paste, but a solid connection. If I think it is a duplicate, I'll mark it as such and let the moderators handle it. Thanks. – FuzzyBunnySlippers Dec 9 '13 at 15:49
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Don't copy across answers. Vote to close as a duplicate of the other question instead.

If the other answer is of sufficient detail to answer both the original question and the one you are trying to answer, then that question is a duplicate and the newer question should be closed.

For the specific questions you linked to, to my inexperienced eye the two questions very much look like duplicates.

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There is nothing wrong with copying your answer to multiple different questions, as long as the questions are not duplicates. You may even copy someone else's answer if you attribute it correctly since all content on Stack Overflow is released under a creative commons license.

This is useful if two questions differ only in some details and you only need to tweak your old answer to make it fit this new question.

But please vote to close questions that are duplicates!

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