Let's say a new question is posted, and I've answered that question before in depth. If I link to my answer in my comment, would that be considered "promoting" that answer - an attempt to gain more upvotes for that answer? Is it acceptable, or would I receive criticism for doing so, even though it was unintentional?
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Yes it is acceptable. It is not considered as self promoting for upvotes. If you think the question is same then you can close/flag the question as a duplicate.
No. In fact it is considered a good behavior for not posting the same answer twice.