Let's imagine this scenario:

  • User 1 asks question A
  • User 2 asks question B -- related to question A, but not a duplicate.
  • Question A gets answered, the answer is upvoted and accepted, then user 2 notices the answer to question A would be the perfect answer to his question B.

How should user2 proceed here? Post a comment to his own question with a link to question A's answer? Copy the entire answer and re-post it as an answer to his question? Post a new answer being it just a link to the original answer? Delete his own question, even it not being exactly a duplicate?

Example:

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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The other could be deleted if totally unanswered, but if it would be useful to others then it's best to keep it and provide an answer. If the answer's long I usually summarize and link it (when I've done this sort of thing with my own answers), otherwise I just copy it outright.

If you're worried about rep I would say that you deserve credit if you answer B with something copied from A. We all learn things somewhere, it doesn't matter if it was on this SE or not; spreading knowledge to help other users is exactly what we want you to do.

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In my Answer A, I would post a link to Answer B. It would look like:

Check out this answer. It can fix your problem.

In cases where I'm not sure Answer B would completely fix the problem, I would post the link as a comment to the Original Poster's question, telling them to try it out first. In case it does work, I just leave it as is, and give away the points to whoever will post the correct or actual answer.

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Please don't post an answer that only links to another answer; it will most likely be deleted. A comment would be preferable. –  eldarerathis Jan 2 '13 at 16:03
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