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Often I see paragraphs (or even whole answers) from one question which can perfectly fit a different question. E.g. this answer by Joel could be easily copy-pasted to the linked master question on dual-nationality travel.

Technically speaking all of the user content on StackExchange is licensed under Creative Commons, so copying (with attribution) is okay. But is it generally accepted as good practice?

  • It's actually possible to merge questions if needed. Although in this case, the real problem is the silliness of closing an older, highly upvoted and fully answered question as duplicate. Since the so-called "master" question already has a good answer, there is no need to copy/move/merge the older answer either. – Relaxed Sep 26 '16 at 13:40
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If it's your own answer then I think copying it to the new question is fine. I would also put a linkback to the original at the beginning though.

If it's somebody else's answer then rather than copy I would blockquote one or more relevant bits of it, attritube the original answerer, link to the original, etc.

This is a blockquote, by the way

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No, this is not a good idea in general.

In your example, you would be moving an answer to a ‘master question’. A master question is one that typically sees lots of traffic and lots of piling-up votes over time. That would give your answer a significant advantage over the original one over at the other location. But you are not the creater of the answer, you are merely quoting it. From a moral point of view, you ‘do not deserve’ the reputation you’re gaining.

But even if you are not copying to a ‘master question’ I think it is a bad idea. What you should do instead, in my opinion, is summarize, rephrase and attribute; ideally not just from one answer but multiple ones. In science, that would generally move such a contribution from ‘plagiarism’ (bad) to ‘review’ (good).


Side note: Over on Chemistry, every now and again an answer pops up that was copied from somewhere else on that site. They are usually downvoted, commented on, flagged for mod notice and then deleted.

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My own answer is: yes, it's perfectly acceptable to copy any part of any StackExchange post, as long as the original author is attributed/linked to. If it's licensed under Creative Commons (and all Travel.SE content is), there's no reason not to include that content in new answers/questions.

Of course, it's usually better to either close-vote, or write a new answer tailored to that specific question. However in the specific case of the linked dual-nationality question it would be perfectly fine to copy-paste Joel's original answer, as it's both impossible to close-vote (it's already a dupe) and the answer fits the other question perfectly.

Jan mentions that:

From a moral point of view, you ‘do not deserve’ the reputation you’re gaining.

I believe that unlike academia the points here are not in any way convertible to real-life fame/prizes/money, so it doesn't really matter if someone 'deserves' them or not. Chemistry.SE might have a different policy, but they're probably more of an academically-inclined community.

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