I was going to reinstall Windows on my computer, but I wanted to clarify first some questions I had. So I started searching through superuser.com. I've found answers to my questions but they were located in the "wrong questions" :) Let us see:

My question: What are system, active and boot partitions in terms of microsoft?
Suggested question: System Reserved partition no longer marked as System

My question: What is System Reserved partition for?
Suggested question: How to Refresh or Reset Windows 8 without the System Reserved partition?

My question: What is MSR partition?
Suggested question: Are GPT reserved and EFI system partitions important?

So I created new questions and extracted there information solely related to them. Sure thing, I can find this information in suggested questions. But this information is a background for answers and people are asking about different things there. Also, some of my answers is a mix from several other questions. And there is some information I added myself.

So, do I not understand what duplicate is?


I asked it on MetaStackExchange, but unfortunately an answer with a discussion was deleted by someone, here's the beginning:

x-yuri> "the question asked can be answered by an answer from another question" - this way my questions are duplicates, but it leaves the other question open: "Any other question?" If so, it doesn't seem sensible to me. "This question has been asked before and already has an answer" - my questions "haven't been asked before". They ask about different things.

x-yuri> Actually it depends on what exactly you mean by "can be answered". My questions can be answered by other questions, because my answers are subset of their answers. On the other hand, they can't be answered by other questions, because they ask about different things.

Travis J> @x-yuri You copy pasted the answer here into your answer here and wrote a slightly different wording in a question. Not only is this an exact duplicate, it is borderline in violation of Stack Exchange policy in that it is not really an honest practice and barelyavoids the label of plagiarism. Barely. I would not continue doing that.

Robert Harvey> The way duplication tends to work is if the question asked can be answered by an answer from another question then the asked question can be marked as a duplicate of the other question. -- Wrong.

Travis J> @RobertHarvey - Should I respond to you with no and leave it at that?

Robert Harvey> "This question has been asked before and already has an answer." -- That's it. Says nothing about whether your question (if it's even a duplicate) is correctly answered.

Travis J> @RobertHarvey - That isn't always the case. Many times questions are asked in different ways, sometimes in non-related ways, but have the same solution. Those questions are almost always closed as duplicates of the question which contains the solution.

Robert Harvey> Doesn't mean that people are doing it correctly.

Travis J> @RobertHarvey - I didn't mention it had to be correctly answered. I said that the answer there was an answer to the question posed.

Robert Harvey> The question also has to be a duplicate. It has to have been asked before. This is nothing new; question duplication has always been about duplicate questions, not duplicate answers.

Travis J> @RobertHarvey - I have seen moderators do it multiple times on mSO regardless of the question itself being duplicated because the answer linked in the duplicate question was an answer to the question.

Robert Harvey> Only for canonical questions. That's the only exception. Canonical questions exist for the purpose of closing near-duplicates that are endlessly asked over and over, in slightly different variations.

Robert Harvey> Here is a clarifying example. "What color is the sky?" "What color is my car?" Both questions have the same answer, but they're not duplicate questions.

Travis J> @RobertHarvey - Wow, great example.. ? I will find you some real examples instead of the color of your car which is a horrendous misrepresentation of this situation.

Robert Harvey> I eagerly await your examples.

Later on, Robert Harvey says that although my questions are not duplicates, closing them was expedient, regrets that people judge if questions are duplicates by answers, not by questions themselves, even when it's obvious from the questions, and whatnot.

  • 1
    Did you entirely skip over reading the part where you barely didn't violate the rules? How about answering questions that have NOT been answered before ?
    – Ramhound
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 20:26
  • Actually, if someone is creatively coming up with new questions and pasting answers from other questions to answer his new questions, I'm going to relent and call that an exact duplicate. Some exceptions: Questions that are answered with exact copy/pasted answers.
    – Sathyajith Bhat Mod
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 5:30
  • @Sathya If you're able to post all the conversation, that must be advantageous. There Robert Harvey says that my questions are not question duplicates. Then he supposedly relents and call them exact duplicates. But as a result he supplements definition given in Help Center with two exceptions. That's fine by me: generally one wouldn't call my questions duplicates, but considering the more complete definition, they are.
    – x-yuri
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 7:35

3 Answers 3


Let's see. You're:

  • Taking existing content from other users on SuperUser and re-posting a subset of it in your own answers.
  • Asking extremely simplistic questions which are of low quality and can easily be googled, and have already been answered multiple times on the site before.
  • Repeatedly asking and answering your own questions with answer content that, while it's correct, does not add any value to the site by being posted again.

Someone searching SuperUser using our built-in search feature or using Google, Bing, etc. is going to be able to hit the same keywords in the original answers you copied, as in your answer. Your answers therefore only add to the volume of questions on the site, while contributing nothing. It's like you read answers, try to isolate a subset of that answer that you can ask a question about, then ask that question and answer it using the other user's content.

Although yes, all the content on the site is under a Creative Commons license, I personally feel that it is bad manners to post someone else's words verbatim -- especially in the quantities that you've done so in your answers -- when you are lifting the words straight from SuperUser itself.

Now, if you were quoting someone on another site, say, unix.stackexchange or stackoverflow, I would have less of a problem with that, because we as a community do not consider a question to be a "Duplicate" if the duplicate question is found on another site within the StackExchange network. That's because someone searching only SuperUser in particular will be able to find what they're looking for if we take the question/answer from another site and post it here.

But just because I just said that "we don't consider copy-pasting from other sites to be duplicates", does not mean you automatically have a license to copy and paste every valid question/answer from every other site that happens to be on-topic on SuperUser. We require questions to represent actual problems that you are facing in the real world -- so if you are asking about something and that something is not causing you a problem with your actual computing environment, then you shouldn't ask it. We impose this policy because any suggested remedies or knowledge conveyed by the answers can't be properly evaluated by you in order to select which one is the best accepted answer, unless you are facing the problem and can therefore take the answer's advice, try it out, and see if it works.

To be honest, it seems like you are just trying to find a way to get easy reputation. I may be reading too much into your activity, but that's what it appears to be.

  • First, I believe simple questions are a good thing. They are like unix utilities, which, in spite of being simple, combined together can do really complex stuff. As to being easily googled, do you mind being in first position in google results for some simple questions? As to users being able to find answers to their questions by inspecting, I must stress, related questions. Not a good user experience I must say.
    – x-yuri
    Commented Apr 19, 2014 at 23:28
  • Nevertheless, notion of low quality becomes clearer. Particularly, you might accuse my answers of being of low quality. Because they're mainly quotes. But on the other hand they are good quotes. I can admit I was in a hurry, but rephrasing them wouldn't add much value. And now let's read a little into my activity. I spent a lot of time looking through questions on superuser.com this day, but in the end I had some really interesting pieces of information, and I didn't want this information to be buried in related questions.
    – x-yuri
    Commented Apr 19, 2014 at 23:48
  • 1
    As such, I searched for questions asking these exact things, but there were none, so I decided to create corresponding questions. You might accuse me of asking questions so that I could easily find answers in the future. But first, I didn't think about that at least consciously. And then, it shouldn't be a bad thing. If it's true, that must be part of the other truth, that it's so that everyone could easily find answers for those questions.
    – x-yuri
    Commented Apr 19, 2014 at 23:48
  • I no longer have much suspicion of your motives, after seeing your comments here and in the questions you asked. However, if my answer here isn't satisfactory to you as a reason why your questions were closed, I would suggest you ask Sathya, the moderator who closed them (after the close votes were first registered by another user, Indrek, but that initial non-moderator vote was not sufficient to close the question). Sathya is impartial in my dealings with him, so I assume he can provide a better reason. Commented Apr 20, 2014 at 1:02
  • I've specified actual problems I was facing in my questions. You can take a look and see if the questions meet the standard now. To be honest, one of the questions is semi-actual, that is: "What would it be if I were in that situation?". Also, some of the answers are probably incomplete. But somebody else can contribute to my answers, or answer themselves, can't they? As to Sathya, how am I supposed to ask him? And it's not that your answer isn't satisfactory. If Sathya has something to add, I'm all ears :)
    – x-yuri
    Commented Apr 20, 2014 at 1:41
  • I'm trying to understand what I'm doing wrong, so I edited the answers to know if they're fine now. The main thing that's left I take it is whether I'm quoting too much.
    – x-yuri
    Commented Apr 20, 2014 at 1:41
  • 2
    @x-yuri - I think you don't understand the problem. Those 3 questions should have never been asked in the first place. You shouldn't be asking questions and then trying to quote an answer from Superuser. If you are doing that, it means the question has already been answered, even if the title of the already existing question could be changed to better reflect the actual question.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Apr 20, 2014 at 2:07
  • 3
    I've nothing to add, @x-yuri. Allq has mentioned the pertinent points. Honestly i thought the questions were general reference material, but since you'd already copy-pasted quoted answers( and not one, 3 in a row), I'd closed it as duplicate to leave a pointer to those who come via search
    – Sathyajith Bhat Mod
    Commented Apr 20, 2014 at 5:18
  • @x-yuri It seems pretty straightforward to me. A duplicate question is one that has been answered before. Says so right on the label that gets applied automatically. The questions you posted had been answered before (as evidenced by the fact that the majority of your own answers were direct quotations from existing ones), ergo they were duplicates. So that's why I voted to close them as such. As with Sathya, the fact that you posted three dupes in a row was also a contributing factor. Please understand that this is nothing personal, though - simply the way the community self-moderates.
    – Indrek
    Commented Apr 20, 2014 at 8:20

The asumption here is that the information itself is duplicated, not based on the way that the question is asked. It IS!
The asumption is also that the information is found easily when searching for it. It Is NOT!

Taking the other side of this debate, I find that the information is NOT found when searching for it. that more is better. If I search for the info Now that I know the search terms, I will of course come up with it, but people do not always know what to search.

Many times the wording of the searching, plus adding in the huristic searching that google applies, takes the person further away from finding an answer, and puts them (instead) into the boat of hundreds , clicking the same non-answers that are clicked on when searching for it.

The assumption here is that the SuperUser site does not need redundant repetitions of similar data. On one side that is a correct assumption, because often people will point out where the information can be found. On the other side, presenting the data for a specific question (even if the answers can be extracted out of previous answers) refines it also.

As long as the back button on my browser is functional, I do not have a problem with it. While I would still agree with the assessment that the questions are duplicated, I think the site would benefit by the presence of them exisiting.

To achive some sort of balance between the 2 ideas, would be to have the question marked as duplicated, and for that to remain on the system for future referance and cross linking. I hate following extended links to dead end answers, it would be refreshing to follow links to real answers that solve the problems and answer the questions.

I am not reading the whole of it all, but (from what I read of them) you have culled out relevent information pertaining directally to the exact question that is presented. Other than the debate about it, I think the idea works. I do not think it will ever work on this site though.

  • Good to know people who share my views exist after all :) The only thing I don't understand is why you also consider them as duplicates. I can understand if you say the information is duplicated (the quotes). But the questions have different phrasing, ask about different (but related) things, have different actual problems behind them. So questions just share the topic and content of answers. Common content of answers is just a background for one of the questions. I can't get it through my head how come people call them duplicates. They are related, not duplicates.
    – x-yuri
    Commented Apr 20, 2014 at 19:40
  • @x-yuri - You do understand that Pyscogeek basically said he does not agree these questions were a good fit for this website? If you are providing the same answer to a question then the question is a duplicate. Does not matter if its phrased differently.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Apr 20, 2014 at 22:41
  • Because that is how the site works. I do not agree with it. I came from "the rest of the web", where you could read 50+ repeated forum question and answer informations, and get new information and perspective from all 50. Where people are allowed to speak more freely and without negativity of the evil downvote (like thanks only). Where there is way more information, and much of it not relevent to anything :-) This is "different" Being regular i can understand the way it is set-up, remembering back when I was new to here, much of the policy told me to Run Away from this place.
    – Psycogeek
    Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 5:07
  • @Psycogeek - A downvote isn't negative it just means somebody does not agree with you. If I wanted 50 non-experts weighing in on something I would ask my questions on a technical forum. There is a reason Superuser and Stackoverflow works.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 11:06
  • @Psycogeek Generally, restrictions are not a bad thing. They are able to make things better. Or worse. One of those :)
    – x-yuri
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 20:04

Okay, let me share the way I see it.

They are not duplicates. They are related questions. They share 1) content of answers (the quotes) and 2) topic. But they 1) have different phrasing, 2) ask about different things, 3) have different actual problems behind them. I can't believe there are people who seriously call them duplicates. Did you read the edited versions? Some of the information is duplicated, but not the questions themselves. It reminds me of Orwell and doublethinking.

I can understand if you say you're trying to make yourself less work to do. Questions like mine doesn't worth it and so on. I can understand if you say that questions must have actual problems behind them. You're putting much more effort into it and have much more experience with it. So you should know better if it makes sense or not. But let us finally call things by their proper names. Otherwise make yourself clear in Help Center. When did you last read these articles? One of them contain link to Dr. Strangedupe: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love Duplication. And they're talking there about questions which even I consider duplicates.

There is a value in having these questions. Presenting users with answers for the questions they're searching for is a good thing. They: 1) don't need to inspect related questions, 2) won't create a "duplicate" because they didn't find the question, they were searching for. Again, already mentioned article suggest even more liberal approach than mine.

  • 3
    You will find many people won't agree the questions you asked are useful. If you think you can improve upon the already existing questions I suggest you go that route.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Apr 20, 2014 at 22:40

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