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Since there are duplicated and/or similar questions, it would be great if I could count on a mechanism to post my answer to related questions instead of just copy/paste.

This might raise new questions about how to rate them. If questions are repeated the up/down votes should be shared among both. However if the questions are "slightly" different, it would make sense to alter the voting system. A good and highly voted answer should not start with "Votes 0" if cross-posted to a similar question.

I know that the voting issue and the comments might become a headache, maybe that could be solved later. However if one question has a great answer it should be easier to reuse it within similar questions.

Great answers are the best asset of SO, it should be easier to share/promote them

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@devinb - I sense a pattern. –  Gnoupi May 5 '10 at 18:59
    
@Gnoupi I dislike it when people downvote me without an explanation. That's not to say that they aren't allowed, just that if there is something wrong with my answer, I'd like to improve it. So, it behooves me to offer that chance to everyone I downvote. So, on Meta, that means you might find up to "213" of those comments. –  devinb May 5 '10 at 19:08
    
Actually, it might be more, because I've rescinded downvotes sometimes based on the user editing their response. (But I leave the comments to leave the comment thread intact) –  devinb May 5 '10 at 19:09
    
@devinb - nothing bad about it, it was just funny to notice. Good indeed to explain like this. –  Gnoupi May 5 '10 at 20:02

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Each question should be considered separately. They are different users and their problems are different. Their environments, their reasons, their experience, their methods for debugging, their native language, etc. All of these things mean that each question should be considered on an individual basis.

If the answers turn out to be identical, you should provide a contentful answer on one question. On the other question, (ONLY if the answers are identical) you could add a comment linking to the first question, saying "perhaps this might help you", OR you could answer the second one, also with an answer that is useful in its own right, and link to your other answer.

Do not answer with only a link.

It is a bad precedent to answer two questions with an identical answer, because some questions that seem simple are really complex. So one user may be saying "I don't understand how to use ECHO in batch scrips" and the other user is saying "I don't understand how to use ECHO in for loops in batch scripts", but then it turns out that one of them is actually a VERY different question, because the user adds context and error messages and such. Suddenly, your 'linked' answers don't make sense on one of the questions.

Ultimately, this would encourage me to write "Have you considered using jQuery?" and just post it on every SO question.

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