I gave this answer yesterday that basically summarizes Valorum's answer from Sci-Fi to the same question. There has also been Cheese's answer to a question about the reading order for Sanderson's Cosmere. Both answers have been well received.

I know that we have determined to allow the same questions over different sites, but how do we feel about repeating answers?


4 Answers 4


It should be fine as long as the answerer makes sure to cite your source, and give credit where credit is due. In addition, make sure to not just link to an answer on a different site. Post a summary, any important quotes, how that answers the question, and maybe how that applies a little differently to this question.

Since we have agreed that these questions are on-topic, it is fine to answer them like this; both answers in this way, as you mention, have been well-recieved.

So if you're about to do this, go ahead, just remember to cite your source and don't write a link-only answer.

  • I guess it might also be worth mentioning that if there's anything you can do to make the answer even more relevant to this community or the specific question being answered, beyond just quoting the other answer, then please do. Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 13:31
  • +1; this essentially summarises the official guidance on such answers.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 13:34

The same principles apply as for citing any other source.

From the Help Centre page on How to reference material written by others:

When you find a useful resource that can help answer a question (from another site or in an answer on Literature Stack Exchange) make sure you do all of the following:

  • Provide a link to the original page or answer
  • Quote only the relevant portion
  • Provide the name of the original author

Do not copy the complete text of external sources; instead, use their words and ideas to support your own. And always give proper credit to the author and site where you found the text, including a direct link to it.

For examples of these principles in action, see these answers from Movies & TV, or this answer right here on Literature. (All my own answers, sorry - I couldn't find any other examples offhand.)


Perfectly fine as long as you cite your source.

Look at the veeery bottom of the page. That says:

site design / logo © 2017 Stack Exchange Inc; user contributions licensed under cc by-sa 3.0 with attribution required

If you follow that link, it takes you to a blog post of Jeff Atwood's which says:

Attribution — You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).


I am going to add the dissenting opinion to this question, even though it seems current policy SE wide is against what I will say...

If you copy and past verbatim (i.e. no changes or additions) an answer given by another user on another SE site you should make it community wiki.

When should I make my answers Community Wiki?

  1. When you want to enhance the "wiki" aspect of your post, so that it can be a continually evolving source of good information through repeated editing.

  2. When you feel your post would benefit from less concern about voting affecting the reputation of those participating in it.

It is my opinion that when an answer is copied and pasted verbatim that it would fall under both aspects of the usage.

  1. The CW answer will make the answer freely editable in case the original answer is ever updated. They can then freely update the answer on both sites without having to worry about their edit being rejected or rolledback It also might be especially useful if the user who gave the original answer is active on both site or the user who did copy and pasting become inactive.
  2. The CW status will also free a voter conscience if they the answer is a good answer but have reservations about the copy/pasted nature of it. This may be a minority of users, but I feel it is at least worth mentioning.

To be perfectly clear this is only when answers are copied/pasted verbatim. If you are "inspired" by another answer, use it as a source, then add your own content or edit the existing content feel free to post as a standard answer. Overall your new answer should have an almost entierly different look and feel to it. It is sometimes easier to see where another answer found a quote or an idea that makes things click in your mind.

Also if you are copy/pasting your own answer, go right ahead!

  • 1
    If a verbatim copy and paste would be appropriate, I'd suggest it's best not to answer at all and defer to others to provide an answer. From the help center: "Do not copy the complete text of external sources; instead, use their words and ideas to support your own. And always give proper credit to the author and site where you found the text, including a direct link to it." This way, it's more likely someone else will come in and post their own answer (seeing that the question is unanswered) and we get new, better content.
    – Aurora0001
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 20:36
  • @Aurora0001 Sometimes questions might be duplicates even if they are posted on different sites. Since we cannot close as duplicate across sites, it leaves the door open to this behavior as the Q&A perfectly match.
    – Skooba
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 20:51
  • 2
    Different sites have different standards for answers. The fact that a question is asked on our site means that people want our answers, not another site's answers. We shouldn't treat links/quotes from another Stack Exchange site any differently than we treat another source.
    – user111
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 20:52
  • @Skooba Indeed, and cross-site duplicate marking would certainly be helpful in these cases. However, it just seems like a waste of time to copy over the answers, and the Literature copy of the answer may 'fall out of sync' with the original SE answer where it was copied from. I'd much rather leave a comment directing the user to the original Q&A. If the question is almost a verbatim copy of something on another site, a downvote may be appropriate for lack of research, but in cases where they are subtle duplicates, it might be nice to elaborate on it in an answer (hence not being copy/paste).
    – Aurora0001
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 20:55
  • @Aurora0001 Comments, might be a good solution as well, but the current accepted answer here is saying the copying of answers is already acceptable.
    – Skooba
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 20:59
  • @Skooba The way I read it was that there's a subtlety between your answer and the accepted one - I personally don't object to using another SE answer as a source, only copying verbatim while adding nothing (or very little), because it doesn't really add any new content. The usual concerns of a link going dead aren't such great concerns for comments linking between SE sites, because, well... this is a SE site and it's unlikely one site will keep running while the other shuts down. It's highly unfortunate that the system doesn't support guiding users to cross-site duplicates at the minute.
    – Aurora0001
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 21:06
  • 3
    I'm not sure this is really what community wikis are for, either.
    – user80
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 22:37

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