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What's the preferred action when an answer to a new general case question solves issues brought up by two older specific case questions?

In my case I found two questions about very specific cases of a general problem. One was manually syncing A to B. The second was manually syncing B to A. (Android has two types of cookie repositories which are separate (let's call them A and B), this causes a big headache since app devs usually want them combined.)

Wanting to find a better solution, that instead of manual syncs, unites the two types into one - so they are already synced out of the box by the system I asked a new question about it.

After I had a good answer I went to the other two questions and posted an answer that pointed out my general question and the solution there. These answers were deleted by a moderator. The notice said that the possible reason was because they don't answer the specific question.

This is incorrect. The solution presented not only answers both questions, it also does that significantly better than anything suggested in those questions. The solutions there of manual syncs are an ugly patch. Uniting the two repositories into one is the elegant approach. Deleting this approach does a huge injustice to developers reading these questions.

Should an answer be posted on the old questions pointing out the answer on the new question?

Or should the older specific case questions be flagged as duplicate of the newer general case?

Or something else?

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    Where did I tell you that I deleted those answers because "they don't answer the specific question?" I don't recall ever telling you that. I'm mostly asking for curiosity - I don't necessarily disagree with that statement, but the reason I deleted them is different. Aug 6, 2013 at 1:20
  • I upvoted this question because this is a situation I have also encountered in the past. I've been unsure that to do when questions have answers that are applicable to other questions, but the questions themselves are not duplicates. I don't think this question deserves to be downvoted; it's not like there's an obvious answer that the OP missed.
    – Jeremy
    Aug 6, 2013 at 1:25
  • The deleted notice on the posts linked to a help page explaining why are answers deleted, which is mainly because they don't fundemantaly answer the question. It made sense because it's somewhat true
    – talkol
    Aug 6, 2013 at 1:29

1 Answer 1

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I am the one who deleted those; Both of the answers of yours I deleted contained this:

I've had a similar issue, except I needed full two-way sync between HttpURLConnection and WebViews.

I asked my own question here, and solved it in a different way.

My attempted solution eliminates the need for manual sync by using the same cookie repository for HttpURLConnection and the WebViews. Since it's the same repo, everything is synced right out of the box.

There is actually no answer there whatsoever.

If you believe that those other two questions were exactly answered by your post, you should not have posted links to your original answer as answers themselves - you should have voted/flagged as duplicate.

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  • The OP makes a compelling case that his question/answer is useful and relevant to people interested in the existing questions. However, closing the existing questions as duplicates might not really be fair to people who posted answers to the original questions, which would not be applicable to the OP's question. Users might also prefer the simpler solutions, if that's all they need. I'm not sure what the appropriate action is in this case...
    – Jeremy
    Aug 6, 2013 at 1:21
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    Thanks Andrew. Please tell me how to share this knowledge on those questions. I thought about copy pasting my entire answer in there, but it's pretty long (lots of code), so I thought I'll only link since it's still on stackoverflow. I don't want to flag those questions as duplicate because they're not, it's just my answer solves them too
    – talkol
    Aug 6, 2013 at 1:22
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    @JeremyBanks I'm not either, which is why I actually didn't go ahead and close the others as dupes (something I usually look at when I find autoflags for "duplicate answers".) I think in this case the 'reason' that the OP says I gave above might be instructive; each could use their own, tailored answer. Aug 6, 2013 at 1:22
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    "There is actually no answer there whatsoever", you're being a bit harsh. The answer there is: "Change your approach and don't do a manual sync. The better approach is to unite the two into one, not sync between them." I think the linked question actually helps because the question brings background as to why this is a better approach
    – talkol
    Aug 6, 2013 at 1:47

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