I responded to a story-id question with a comment suggesting that it's a duplicate. Several years went by with no word from the OP, and the question was still unanswered, so I decided to post an answer rather than leave it dangling as another unanswered question.

In such a case, should I duplicate the information (plot summaries, excerpts, etc.) from an old answer, or is it enough to just name the story and link to an old answer for further information? The reasons given for deprecating link-only answers don't seem applicable when the links are to this very site, but what do I know?

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    I'd always make it a full answer, even if you're just quoting (with attribution of course) another answer. Best to keep the needed information where it can be seen and it means you can tailor the answer to the question more should you need to. Also you don't know if at any point the old Q/A might be deleted.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Mar 3, 2023 at 8:44
  • In what circumstances does a story-id question with an accepted answer get deleted? That must be a pretty rare event. And isn't "keep the needed information where it can be seen" a reason to post duplicate answers to all duplicate questions, even if the OP agrees that it's a duplicate?
    – user14111
    Mar 3, 2023 at 9:20
  • @User14111 - OP can delete it if the answer doesn't have any upvotes. But you're right, it's rare.
    – Valorum
    Mar 3, 2023 at 17:53
  • There have also been cases where a question has been altered after being answered, which could strand a good answer on a no longer properly matching question.
    – DavidW
    Mar 3, 2023 at 20:19

2 Answers 2


I'm in favour of posting a proper answer, with full details, and not just a link.

If it's a question without an accepted answer it can't be marked duplicate, and thus someone searching might land on it; it seems pointless to force them to search further when the answer could be right there.

It also permits the answer to be tailored to the current question, which may recollect a different set of details from the story.

I think we can distinguish the case where a comment answer is quickly accepted by the asker, since that question can be closed as a duplicate. It's open questions with no answers we want to avoid.

  • Of course a new answer is needed if the new asker remembers the story differently from the previous askers. My question implicitly concerns the case where the questions as well as the answers are duplicates. I wouldn't describe having someone click on a llink to an old answer as "forcing them to search further." And why don't "wanting the answer to be right there" and "tailoring the answer to the question" apply equally to the case where the asker accepts a comment answer pointing to a duplicate?
    – user14111
    Mar 3, 2023 at 20:17
  • @user14111: On SFF, story-id questions are only duplicates if the asker confirms it. You/we can't close it as a dupe merely because the questions look very similar to each other. But if they do actually confirm it in a comment, sure, go right ahead and close it as a dupe.
    – Kevin
    Mar 17, 2023 at 0:57

Having all the information on one page (i.e., the text of both the question and the answer) is helpful for how most people find answers: Google.

When I post an answer to a question I think is a duplicate, I often find that the quotes and images used in the duplicate's answer give enough context, so I copy them into my answer, linking back to the other Q&A. If more is needed (e.g. OP asks for clarification on some detail), it's easy enough to build on that.

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    Does that mean that every duplicate question should receive its own answer, before being closed as a duplicate?
    – user14111
    Mar 8, 2023 at 3:03
  • If I think I know the answer, I usually post an answer instead of a comment so that's not an issue.
    – Laurel
    Mar 8, 2023 at 3:20
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    @user14111 ideally, yes. We've agreed to accept a confirmation in a comment as good enough, but an (accepted) answer is much better in my opinion.
    – SQB
    Mar 8, 2023 at 13:47
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    As a side note, I have found that, when copying my own answer, it's a good idea to note that in my answer to avoid the "How could you plagiarize this person's answer?" question. Or at least reduce it.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Mar 13, 2023 at 0:11

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