Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 153 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

I wanted to give a short answer to a question, by linking to my answer to a previous question. My answer was caught as "trivial" and converted to a comment.

When I want to give the same answer to more than one question, how do I avoid the "trivial answer" catcher? I could, of course, paste the earlier answer into the new question, but that seems counterproductive.

Added this based on first answer:

Here are the two questions, the latest one first:

How do I model one entity that references one of several other entities in SQL?

Is there a relationship between Database Tables and Object Oriented Classes?

Now my question boils down to this: does one of these questions really duplicate the other? On the surface, the answer is no. But, beneath the surface, the later question is really an instance of the issue adressed more generally by the first question.

If the rght answer to my dilemma is to flag the second one as a duplicate, I'm prepared to listen to reason. But if the answer is no, then I'd like a good way of dealing with "the questions are different but the earlier answer also answers this question".

What's the best thing for SO? For new questioners?

share|improve this question
"by linking to my answer to a previous question"... is the question not a dupe to begin with? – Bart Feb 16 '13 at 18:55
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Juergen is correct in the general case, but in this specific case the questions are not the same. Copying or linking to your earlier answer may be mildly helpful, but it does not answer the question.

It is best to leave that as a comment, or to write a new answer specifically targeted at the more recent question, quoting parts from your earlier answer that you feel are relevant.

share|improve this answer
I think you are probably correct. The two questions are at different levels of abstraction. In former years, I got so used to dealing with problems at multiple levels of abstraction that I tend to forget that a lot of people do not do this. So, unless the second questioner can see that his question is really about supertype/subtype (or, as I phrased it, class/subclass) s/he isn't going to see how my earlier answer applies. – Walter Mitty Feb 16 '13 at 21:40

If you want to give the exact same answer to a question then the new question is the same as the old one that you want to refer to.

In that case vote-to-close if you have the required reputation.
Otherwise flag as a duplicate.

share|improve this answer
Duplicate answers don't necessarily mean the questions are duplicates, although they can be. See – CodeGnome Feb 16 '13 at 20:35
Well, that is a very rare case, since the common language in SO is English. – juergen d Feb 16 '13 at 20:36
You just made my point for me. You're focusing on the question, not the answer. Read the answer again. – CodeGnome Feb 16 '13 at 20:38
See also…. – CodeGnome Feb 16 '13 at 20:41

Links are not answers. Please do not attempt to circumvent the systems that help to enforce this.

That said, I see why you tried to answer in this manner. Duplicating an answer exactly violates DRY, and two distinct questions can very well have the same answers. I don't think that there is a catch-all fix for this scenario.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .