There are many questions that are more or less equal to ones asked before. Those often can be solved by the answers given on the alike questions. I'm wondering what is the right way to handle that.

a) Should I mark them as duplicate?

I'm thinking that's a little bit discouraging. Especially because some of the new questions are better asked than the possible duplicates. Besides that they often aren't 100% duplicates.

b) How should I answer those?

Assuming permissive handling, thus not marking them as duplicates.

  • Should I answer by just pointing to another question?
    • Which in my mind isn't really different from making them duplicates.
    • And I personally don't like it because than the answer isn't instantly viewable on the question asked.
  • Or should I answer by possibly reposting, reusing code which has been used for an answer before?
    • Which possibly leads to identical or at least very similar answers and code on various questions.

Basically I'm not absolutely certain what the best way is, but maybe you can help me to get some clarification.

1 Answer 1


Some degree of duplication is fine. Or maybe more precisely it is impossible to perfectly and accurately de-duplicate whole site.

I think that roughly it falls into three categories:

  1. Questions that are answered precisely and completely (or nearly completely) by existing answers on different question - mark as duplicate.

  2. Questions that might be answered by existing answers - maybe previous case, maybe not. The common action in practice is to comment with suggestion to check out earlier question, but marking as duplicate is also valid (especially in light of new more soft "on hold" close system).

  3. Questions that are related to existing questions, but for which no complete answer exist. These are fine to keep and answers them might involve referencing and reusing existing answers, butfocus should then be on addressing diverging requirements of this specific question.

  • OK, thanks! That helps to clear it a bit for me. So, what I'm getting is that it's better to refer, either if it's a duplicate (1.) or if it's a pretty similar question (2.). In this cases posting code again, if the code for the answer would be more or less identical, isn't really the way to go, right? Or at least in my mind, that's what distinguishes case 3 from the other ones. Commented Sep 16, 2013 at 10:30
  • @ialocin just posting same code again is never worth it, that's "bad" duplication. Case 3 is around "That answer gets you XXty percent there, but you also need..."
    – Rarst
    Commented Sep 16, 2013 at 11:00
  • Pretty much what I was thinking, but somehow I wanted additional clearance. Your answer is a good guideline for handling such cases - for me at least. Commented Sep 16, 2013 at 13:20

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .