Earlier today a user posted three answers to three different questions, the final two of which were almost entirely copy-pasted from the user's original answer, and each with a link to a YouTube video posted by the same user. This appears to be the first answer, followed by this one, and finally this one. None of the answers mentions or provides links to any of the other copies.

Is it acceptable to copy your own answers like this on Stack Exchange sites? I have to say that it doesn't seem right to me, but I don't know what the policy is on such answers here. In the publishing world, self-plagarism is frowned upon, but I don't think that Stack Exchange adheres to this standard. Still, it seems like the least that such an answer could do is to cite the original answer and provide a link.


Just to look at the wider perspective, duplicate answers generally shouldn't be a something that happens because of the duplicate question rules. If an answer serves as a genuinely good answer to two questions, it probably means that one question is a duplicate of another. Ideally, we identify that before anyone gets a chance to post duplicate answers, but if duplicate answers are posted to existing duplicate questions, then we can take that opportunity to close one as a duplicate of the better, more canonical one.

If a user posts the same answer to different questions, which (as you say) seems to be what has happened here, the likelihood is that it's not an answer to one of them. In fact, in this case, I've flagged it on all 3 questions as 'not an answer' - none of them really seem to be addressing the OP's concerns in the text of the answer.

In the very rare case that the same text genuinely serves as a legitimate answer to two different questions, I don't see that copying and pasting one's own text is a problem - but I'd expect that to be an uncommon situation.

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    I just deleted all of them. When we talk about we tend to attract self promotion and this is a good example since the primary purpose of the post seems to be to get more views on the user's videos. While not quite spam, definitely more promotional than helpful in the context of the questions.
    – Dom Mod
    Apr 6 '18 at 13:45
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    @DavidBowling yes - I was only thinking of the situation where I'd struggled previously to phrase some aspect of an explanation concisely and didn't want to repeat the work! There's always the option of linking to an existing answer (or question) that's tangentially relevant to a new question.
    – topo morto
    Apr 6 '18 at 15:20

Maybe if you have already answered a question you should flag it as a dupe before you answer it again.


I did not see the posts in question, but we certainly do see self-promoters from time to time - people who just want to post their video or sell something, etc.

Sometimes I will copy part of an answer I have previously posted, when it fits the current question.

I generally don't just paste it in, but edit and make it an 'organic part' of the new answer. Often when I do that, I will cite the question where the answer was first posted, if it is relevant.

Pasting in the exact same answer doesn't make much sense - if the exact same answer fits, it would be a duplicate question, although perhaps phrased differently. If I come across something like that, I consider it suspicious and often investigate the user account and their activities here, and on SE at large. Sometimes that results in a flag.

For me, one of the big challenges when considering if something is a duplicate is that it's necessary to drill down to the core of the question and not get distracted by differences in terminology or context, and determine if the the underlying question is the same.

It happens with some frequency that two questions which superficially seem different are really the same question.

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