Often I wish to quote other answers in my own answers or comments, at that time I need a direct link to the answer. That is of course what the share button is for.
Crazy work arounds
However, until today I was unaware of its use and would use mad work arounds to get a direct link to the answer, these included:
- Clicking the edit history and then return to answer
- If no edit history (and I hated this one) going to the answerer's profile and find the answer there
Share as a social networking word
I think its fair to say that the word "Share" is heavily associated with social networks and what I was expecting to find under the share button was facebook, twitter etc logos that would post the answer to those services; this wasn't what I wanted so I never clicked the button. The "share" button actually does have these logos but it also has a direct link to the answer
I would suggest separating out the "share" button from a new "direct link" button to avoid this confusion. Or alternatively renaming the "share" button to indicate its dual use.
Since the original feature request to add this direct link, several people have been confused sufficiently to post questions to find how to get direct links
An interesting question (that I have no answer for) is of the people who need a link to an answer what proportion are sending to a social network and what proportion are reposting on stack exchange itself. The button seems to designed primarily for the first use case with the second use case as a secondary function.