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Well, I have imagined this to happen as follows:

I ask a question. A person answers it. In his post there is a link to an existing Stack Overflow post which deals with the same subject. I assume he must have gone through the post before and thought it was useful; hence the link.

So why can't we come out with a strategy to recognize such posts (i.e. those which are linked to in other posts)? I don't mean that we reward every such link. If the person who has asked a question marks an answer he has received, and that answer contains a link to another post on Stack Overflow, then the linked-to post should be rewarded somehow. Also, the person who has answered the question should be awarded a little extra rep, since he has referred to that post.

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FWIW, I suggested a badge that would be awarded to a user if his answer was internally linked x times by other users. –  Andy E Jul 20 '10 at 9:17
Well, of course a person answers it. We have... ways... of keeping the robotic riffraff out. –  Pops Jul 20 '10 at 17:24

2 Answers 2

Sounds like a recipe for internal link-farming...

If a link (internal or external) improves an answer, then there's already potential for reward: the answer will get more up-votes. Assuming readers follow the link, find the original answer useful and up-vote it, there's a reward for the original author as well.

And of course, linking to welbog is its own reward.

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i don't get it. could you elaborate more...who or what is welbog? –  deostroll Jul 20 '10 at 4:48
@deostroll: it's a bit of an inside joke - don't stress about it. ;-) –  Shogging through the snow Jul 20 '10 at 5:07
@deostroll Welbog is a creature of extraordinary mysteriousness. We aren't even sure just how mysterious he is. But it's a lot. Also his profile is legendary. –  devinb Jul 20 '10 at 18:05
@deo: D.O N.O.T A.S.K.! He can here you. Shhhhhhhh! –  Ladybug Killer Jul 20 '10 at 18:59

One of my favourite passtimes is to go to ServerFault questions that have been asked dozens of times and give the user a link to everywhere it has been asked before. Someone once called me the Rollerdex of Serverfault.

Am I awesome? Yes. Did I do this by going to http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&hs=Tt5&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-GB%3Aofficial&q=site%3Aserverfault.com+favourite+vps&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai= ? Yes. Should I be rewarded for this? Unlikely.

If you just do a google search before asking your question, then people like me won't have to post thirteen links to duplicates.

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in the scenario you describe shouldn't these be flagged as duplicates and closed/merged instead? –  matt wilkie Jul 20 '10 at 7:24
It IS awesome, and those links give less-knowledgeable users a treasure-trove of related reading material. –  Kara Marfia Jul 20 '10 at 16:57
@Matt, a lot of them are. But when I'm the only one giving them close votes, nothing's going to happen fast. –  Mark Henderson Jul 21 '10 at 0:10

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