I sometimes see a not very well written answer that does not appear to be plagiarism, but that only contains information that has already been provided in previous better written answer(s). They often have comments like "this adds nothing to the accepted answer". I usually downvote these answers as they are not helpful.

However, I occasionally come across answers like this in the Low Quality Posts review queue. Even though I believe the answer deserves a downvote and it wouldn't bother me if it was deleted, I'm not sure that it falls the the level were it needs to be deleted.

What is the community consensus on deleting answers like this?

  • 7
    I can't think of many things more frustrating than someone who takes your answer, makes the minimum of effort in altering it, then posts it as their own answer. It's doubly annoying when that answer then outranks your own; i2.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/newsfeed/001/079/173/ed2.png
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 23, 2017 at 14:20

1 Answer 1


There's two things to consider here

  1. Is it from the same time frame as the other answers? Competing answers in the same time frame should be left alone. It's the late answers we're concerned with
  2. If the late answer is not treading any new ground at all it should be deleted. We don't need 15 answers making the same point over and over years after the question went dormant. Leaving them up encourages noisy retreads, which is something that the whole SO network tries to avoid.

The catch with #2 is spotting the gems. Sometimes a late answer will retread a lot of ground, but contain a morsel of new material. Those should be kept, and they should be given the benefit of the doubt if you're not sure.

  • So in case #2 (assuming no redeeming quality), the answer should be flagged as a Not An Answer?
    – Blackwood
    Commented Dec 23, 2017 at 16:22
  • 5
    @Blackwood Yeah. Low Quality and NAA are "kissing cousins". They both wind up in the same place. I'd leave a comment so people don't view the answer without context
    – Machavity
    Commented Dec 23, 2017 at 16:26
  • Sounds reasonable, thanks.
    – Blackwood
    Commented Dec 23, 2017 at 16:27
  • 2
    @Machavity I realize this answer has already been accepted, but I think one other thing to add would be regarding new users. I remember when I first joined the site I had no ability to do anything and needed to answer a question or something to get some rep. Of course, all the questions had been asked and answered so my first few answers were all just "extra details" to try and keep myself from simply re-answering someone else's answer. Anywhose; my main point: Give new users just trying to get some rep some slack if they do just regurgitate a previous answer. Hopefully they don't but...
    – Odin1806
    Commented Dec 23, 2017 at 22:16
  • 10
    @Odin1806 I'm fine with new users who add a few extra details. That isn't the same as adding and answer that only repeats information that has already been provided and adds no extra details.
    – Blackwood
    Commented Dec 23, 2017 at 22:45
  • @Blackwood I understand that, but I think the point still merits. Say you are a new user, but everything you could answer already has been AND you have no new details that you could share... Personally, I am ok with an extra answer (especially on an already accepted question) that restates some other answer just to get you some rep to broaden your ability to do things within the website. I remember that my first answer - I had to answer, because I did not have the rep to comment! It was an answer that just gave extra details, but I could not comment despite my desire.
    – Odin1806
    Commented Dec 23, 2017 at 22:55
  • Re. "gems. Sometimes a late answer will retread a lot of ground, but contain a morsel of new material. Those should be kept" - definitely yes, and sometimes it's worth adding either a comment or a small edit to make it stand out: e.g. bolding the extra bit, or adding a one line summary at the top of the answer that emphasises it. Then someone reading the whole page (which presumably this will stay near the bottom of) can easily see the extra info and see that actually this contribution is worth reading. Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 16:58
  • Note that while this answer seemed reasonable to me, the answer to the duplicate question pointed out by Skooba contradicts it. That answer says answers should not be flagged if they include nothing new, unless they are plagiarism.
    – Blackwood
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 17:54

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