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Is it wrong to answer a question and also mark it as a duplicate?

I came across a question which I feel was duplicate so marked it so, but also posted an answer to the question. The reason I answered is I may have been able to remove a step for the question asker (they don't need to follow the link to the duplicate question) and I also just picked out the information they were specifically asking from the duplicate answer. However I worry I could be encouraging bad habits, as people feel they don't need to bother searching as they will get an answer regardless of whether their question is a duplicate.

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Fundamentally yes, as it splits the answers to the problem up and future visitors will have to look in two (or more) places to check all the possible solutions to their problem. Duplicates are OK (different wordings, problem statement etc.) but they should all point to the one place where the answers live.

However, that said, it might not be apparent that the question is a duplicate a first sight and you only might realise later. In this case there's a couple of things you can do.

  1. Delete your answer and repost it on the duplicate target (assuming it adds new information).
  2. If there are other answers on the question you answered then flag then flag it for moderator attention with the "other" option asking for the questions to be merged. NOTE: This is only really done if the questions are exact duplicates so might not happen.

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