It seems to me like I can pop into any random question, and unless it's a borderline case, there's always one answer that is duplicated 3-4 times throughout. Some pertinent cases:

These are just a couple that have been put on the HNQ, but I'm sure there's many other cases. There's nothing to flag these as, and protecting a question only goes so far to prevent this sort of thing. There is a message that asks users to read existing questions before posting, but it seems this is being ignored. It can be incredibly frustrating when 4 people make the same (highly upvoted) answer, and when sorting by votes all other points of view are drowned out. Personally I feel that makes the answer pool a bit suffocated, a kind of echo chamber for those who agree with the answers.

This isn't the first time this has been an issue. Like really, this is a serious issue. I really think we need some sort of system in place.

Is there a better way we can handle these duplicate answers? I had a couple ideas that might be possible.

  1. Automatically flag any answers after a question is protected for a review queue to check for dupes.
  2. Provide a flag for duplicate answers for mods. I'm not fond of causing mods more work though.
  3. Raise the minimum rep required to answer after a question is protected. (I personally think 125 would be sufficient)

Can we come to a consensus on which idea (or other ideas) would be the best way to handle this issue (if we feel it's a big enough problem at all)?

2 Answers 2


1: that would blow up the review queue! It is also unfair to those users who post at hours where the review items are not handled as fast as at other times. Their answer would not show up for hours.

2: mods have enough on their plate already. If there were a normal (non-mod) flag for duplicate answers though, I would be okay with that. For the moment, just use the "Not an answer flag". Make sure you leave a comment saying that this answer was posted already - that they need to either make their own answer more distinct or delete it.

3: The protection already makes sure that all answerers have at least 15 reputation earned on this site, so one can assume that they are familiar with some if not most rules here. Raising the needed rep from 15 to 125 would make the question unanswerable for many users who otherwise could be able to write a nice, non-duplicate answer already. The needed rep should be kept as low as possible.

So, how do we handle duplicate answers?
As I mentioned in point 2, leave a comment stating that this answer was already posted, and flag it as "not an answer".

  • So quite literally going with answer 2, causing the mods the work. Ok. That said, your point 1 is confusing to me. You said there's no review-before-post-visible system, but that's what all sites have had on their edits before the rep point for unilateral changes are complete. What do you mean by this?
    – Anoplexian
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 14:37
  • 4
    The "Not an answer" flag is not a mod flag! the post will go into the review queue. The main point from 1. is that it would blow up the review queue, I will remove the rest as it was just a sidenote.
    – kscherrer
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 14:45
  • But wait, you just said that the not an answer goes there. Either it's blowing up mod queue or review queue, but your point 1 was against that? Do you feel the current method works?
    – Anoplexian
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 14:50
  • @Cashbee I think you're making a point here, but how would you decide which answers to flag as NaA? All answers? All the ones following the first posted with the same opinion?
    – avazula
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 14:51
  • 1
    @Anoplexian in your point 1 you talk about automatically putting them in review queue. point 2 is about manual flagging.
    – kscherrer
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 14:52
  • 1
    @avazula The first answer should not be flagged as duplicate, since there was no duplicate when it was posted. Any following answers saying the same as the first are the duplicates.
    – kscherrer
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 14:53
  • @avazula I didn't even think about that, that's a good question. I agree Cash, I just think it's a bit narrow to say "Not an answer" on a duplicate, and using existing nomenclature is a bit confusing. To me, it seems more like using a band-aid on a bullet wound. I don't think it'd blow it up, as if it already has enough views to be protected by the people who can, it's gotten enough attention to warrant that and will be viewed by more people on HNQ. Maybe it's just me, but whereas comments are commonplace, flagging up to 5 answers on a protected question seems to be pretty small.
    – Anoplexian
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 15:00

So the same correct answer shows up multiple times. I can understand annoyance, particularly if you are reading through answers and see the same one 4 or 5 times. But if the purpose of StackExchange sites is to provide good solid answers to questions, it doesn't strike me that having multiple copies of the same correct answer is a serious problem. Not saying it's not a problem, just that it's not a crisis.

I use Stackoverflow a lot for answers to software / coding / language issues, and there duplicate answers do bother me, because in software the exact details matter. In software duplication drives me crazy. In IPS answers it seems less critical.

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