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Let's imagine this scenario:

  • User 1 asks question A
  • User 2 asks question B -- related to question A, but not a duplicate.
  • Question A gets answered, the answer is upvoted and accepted, then user 2 notices the answer to question A would be the perfect answer to his question B.

How should user2 proceed here? Post a comment to his own question with a link to question A's answer? Copy the entire answer and re-post it as an answer to his question? Post a new answer being it just a link to the original answer? Delete his own question, even it not being exactly a duplicate?

Example:

5

The other could be deleted if totally unanswered, but if it would be useful to others then it's best to keep it and provide an answer. If the answer's long I usually summarize and link it (when I've done this sort of thing with my own answers), otherwise I just copy it outright.

If you're worried about rep I would say that you deserve credit if you answer B with something copied from A. We all learn things somewhere, it doesn't matter if it was on this SE or not; spreading knowledge to help other users is exactly what we want you to do.

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In my Answer A, I would post a link to Answer B. It would look like:

Check out this answer. It can fix your problem.

In cases where I'm not sure Answer B would completely fix the problem, I would post the link as a comment to the Original Poster's question, telling them to try it out first. In case it does work, I just leave it as is, and give away the points to whoever will post the correct or actual answer.

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    Please don't post an answer that only links to another answer; it will most likely be deleted. A comment would be preferable. – eldarerathis Jan 2 '13 at 16:03

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