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Oh gosh, that's such a great question!  I wish I had a great answer

Some tools (eg clone and healing) work either way.  The Patch Tool needs a duplicate.  Often when I'm cloning I might need to include a little bit of patching too, so in those cases I generally duplicate to be safe.

But duplicating adds a heck of a lot of file size to your PSD, of course, so it's not always the best idea.

If you're cloning, and it's only a small area, a blank layer is ideal.

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