First scenario:

Sometimes, there are off-topic questions with a bounty, which belong to another site. On the other site, the question already exists and have some answers.
The person who wrote the best answer also has an account on the second site.

Second scenario:

With Area 51, some sites overlap, and the same question can be asked by two different users on both sites. One has answers and the others don't.
The person who wrote the best answer doesn't have an account on the second site.

My question:

In both cases, is it OK to make a partial copy of the best answer without telling the person nor the asker that the answer contain an exact part of another?

  • 5
    blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/06/attribution-required - it is never ok to copy/paste without attribution (unless you own the copyright).
    – Mat
    Commented May 9, 2014 at 17:27
  • 1
    If it's your answer, sure. If it's not your answer, only with attribution (but with attribution it's fine). This is if the question is 'on topic' on both sites (this happens frequently). However, I would not answer an off topic question, but instead link it to the other site in comments and alongside a vote-to-close.
    – Joe
    Commented May 9, 2014 at 18:14
  • @Joe : I didn't understand what you wrote. I would be glad if you explain it better in an answer. You also forgot closing a question with an open bounty is difficult. Commented May 9, 2014 at 19:58
  • @user2284570 Done.
    – Joe
    Commented May 9, 2014 at 20:01
  • @random : Most Stack Exchange sites (such as parenting) don't have have code. This question have a more general scope Commented May 10, 2014 at 16:37
  • If you just change "code" to "part" then it's the exact same question
    – random
    Commented May 10, 2014 at 18:24

2 Answers 2


If you are the answerer of the original answer, you are free to re-post your answer on other appropriate questions on other sites, as long as it's truly a good answer. If you copy/paste it directly, it will trip an automatic moderator flag, so be sure it is truly a good answer, and not something that smells like spam.

If you are not the original answerer, and the question is on-topic for the site in question, you are free to post the answer with attribution, ie

As Jon Skeet posted in this Stack Overflow question, the time zone changed in Shanghai in 1927 causing unexpected results when doing math across that period.

Now, technically speaking, if you do not reproduce the answer exactly, but read the answer, commingle it with information you already have, and produce de novo a new answer that is similar, but not identical, that does not require attribution - that is fair use, so long as the new answer has sufficient differences. (It's not like we expect every answer to have an attribution, and everyone learned their information from somewhere.) However, it's still polite and appropriate to attribute it if there was a fairly direct translation from the old answer to your new answer (and, it's much better for the SE network as a whole, since it gives a good link between related points).

If the question is not on topic for the site in question, I would vote to close if it has no bounty, or at least note that it is not on topic for that forum in a comment. Either way, I would then post a link to the question and answer on the appropriate site in a comment (but nothing beyond that - just 'Here is the right place to ask that question, and it has a good answer.')

This is only appropriate if it is off topic for the second site; if it is on topic for the second site, and it is at least technically a distinct question (ie, it's not the same person crossposting on both sites), then it's appropriate for it to be separately represented on both sites.


No, unless you ask the person who wrote it.

  • 1
    You can use any post from Stack Exchange as long as you attribute it; the license does. It require you to ask anyone. If you are the author yourself, then you can do what you wish with your text. Commented May 10, 2014 at 7:57
  • 1
    I lost a doesn't there; It doesn't require you to ask anyone. Commented May 10, 2014 at 11:29
  • @MartijnPieters : reposting your comment is the correct way for doing this Commented May 10, 2014 at 12:11
  • @user2284570: I can't say I care enough about the comment. I know I can repost. Commented May 10, 2014 at 12:20

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