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I've recently been working on a problem in an application regarding collision detection. In researching it, I didn't find the solution I wanted on SO at the time and found it elsewhere.

Once I had my solution working, I decided to return to SO to post a link to where I got my solution, and my port of it to Objective-C.

Once I posted my link, I then used a search to find two other similar questions on SO that I had previously read during my early research, and posted links to my answer on those.

My reasoning was that if I went through the process of reading all those posts looking for an answer, then so might others.

Now it seems that all three of my answers have been downvoted. Is this because I posted the same links in a few places? If so, then what is the better way to try and bring these separate, but similar threads of discussion together in a way that helps people after me to find themselves directed to (what I perceive to be) an answer.

I understand that I may have been downvoted legitimately (if I've done the wrong thing), but in saying that, I would have thought that someone downvoting without a reason would in turn earn a downvote of some form. By downvoting, we are judging the content being downvoted, and there should be a reason given for such a judgement.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 15 down vote accepted

So...I looked at your answers.

This one is a reference to an answer you've already made. This one is effectively the same.

If you feel that the answer given in the question you've linked is sufficient enough to answer the question, then you could nominate it to be Closed as a Duplicate.

However, even then, looking at your ultimate answer, it's distilled to a link-only answer; there's nothing to back it up if that link were to go stale.

That's probably why your answer was downvoted. It's really not an answer.

Now, the multiple linking would get downvoted as well, since you're not really adding anything new to the conversation besides, "Hey, look at this answer! It might help!" Close as Duplicate already fills that role without the repeated posting.

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OK, thanks. I thought that by linking, and linking to a gist, it would reduce duplication of the same text/code everywhere. By all means I'm happy to post the actual code, but it just seemed like bloat to me. I guess to me it's like coding, if I can have one instance of the code, it's better than just cloning it to multiple places just out of convenience. I see your point regarding the possibility of dead links over time though, especially to the original site from which I got my solution. –  PKCLsoft Jan 7 at 5:15
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I've updated that answer as suggested, and included the code. Thanks again for your input. –  PKCLsoft Jan 7 at 5:31
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If the link points inside SO/SE site(s) that's ok. If it points outside, it's a problem, because I really hate it, when I find a link to an answer I'm seeking and I get some 404 or similar. Second on my list are answers like "I solved my problem, don't bother with answering anymore". :) –  Devolus Jan 7 at 7:47

In general, if you wrote an answer (a good one of course), and you happen to find some old question that is not really answered by it (in which case, as Makoto says, it would mean the questions are duplicates and one of them should get closed), but future readers of this question may still find some value in the added information - you can always add a link in a comment - Possibly related to - http://....

It still provides a link to anyone looking (and might even add a link on the Related frame on the side), but reduces the clutter and avoids using an answer to something that's basically not an answer.

I would however try to avoid using it too much, and keep it for new questions mostly. Trying to seek all possibly related questions from the past and bumping them up just to add a link would both make the front pages messy and be mostly pointless as there are many old questions that are just plain bad, duplicated, and should be closed. It's also bad form IMHO to "publish" your answer just to increase its exposure, which may have been the reason you got downvoted.

Maybe the top 1-2 questions up on googles' results for that topic are worth it (and that's only assuming your answer is truly good - I know we all feel our answers are always really awesome but i'd wait for a couple of upvotes to prove that).

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