It occurs to me that I find an answer to one question among the answers to another question, sometimes in the way of hidden gems.

I believe that creating the linkage between the two questions is beneficial. The solution of the other fellow gets gratefully acknowledged. However, should I post this finding as a comment or as an answer?

If I post my finding as an answer and this is accepted or upvoted, I take points for it.

My input consisted only of having searched the forum and verified that the answer given elsewhere is applicable to the question in point. Is this kind of contributions worthy genuine score points or am I eating from someone else's board?

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    If the questions are the same, then you flag one as a duplicate of the with the answer. If the questions are different and the same answer works for both, then write the answer in your own words and link to the source. If the answer isn't the exact solution, but can be adapted, then do so and link to the source. Sep 2, 2016 at 16:56
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    @Zacharee1 If you convert your comment to an answer, I am happy to acknowledge it as a valid one. Sep 2, 2016 at 16:58
  • Sure. I wrote that on mobile, so commenting was easier. Sep 2, 2016 at 17:13
  • I don't know what you mean by "hidden gem". To me it's that perfect girl you've been looking for 20 years. On google it's 2 out of top 4 are local radio stations that trying to sell me places where I can spend money. What does "hidden gem" mean in your context? Sep 4, 2016 at 1:44
  • @WinEunuuchs2Unix Hidden gem = a bang-on answer found in a place where I did not expect it. Sep 4, 2016 at 6:39
  • @XavierStuvw ohhh you mean like me writing a good answer :) Sep 4, 2016 at 15:53

2 Answers 2


Here's how I see it. There are a few situations.

  1. Exact Duplicate

    If the questions are asking the same thing, and you see one question has a proper solution, then it would be better to use the duplicate flag rather than clone the answer.

    When you flag, users with at least 3,000 reputation will see the flag in one of the review queues and vote to close it as a dupe. Once you reach 3k, you'll be able to directly close questions (they will still go into Review, as 5 votes are needed).

  2. Same Solution

    There's been discussion about the "lazy dupe," where people close one question as a dupe of another, just because they have the same solution. It's not a true dupe, and other users are annoyed at this behavior.

    If you find the solution to the question on another Ask Ubuntu Q&A that is not a dupe, then the best practice is usually to phrase the answer in your own words and include a link to the original. A link-only answer should be avoided, as those are generally flagged and deleted.

  3. Similar Solution

    This one could probably go without saying, but I'll put it in for clarity's sake.

    If you find an answer on AU that could apply to the question you're dealing with, but isn't an exact solution, then adapt the answer in your own words and include a link.

    For example, my answer about remapping capslock is very closely adapted from a more general answer for a question about making xmodmap permanent. The question isn't the same at all, but the answer follows the same theme as the question I was researching.

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    AU = Ask Ubuntu Sep 2, 2016 at 17:27
  • @XavierStuvw oui. Sep 2, 2016 at 17:27
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    Just to add, you can reference and quote any answers you like in your answer but DO NOT post an answer that is just a link to another. Make it your own, use your own word and just quote the relevant part of the other answer. This "There is a solution in this post [LINK]", is not an acceptable answer. Also, taking someone else's answer and passing it off as your own is plagiarism, proper attribution must be given. In short, it needs to be your answer and reference the other, not a copy / paste of another answer.
    – Mark Kirby
    Sep 3, 2016 at 7:45
  • I like your answer, however I would add a 4th scenario: Combo Solution: If you can resolve the problem by using a number of existing answers > 1 I would think that providing steps and links in order would be permissible
    – Elder Geek
    Sep 3, 2016 at 18:49
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    @ElderGeek yes, but I still think your words should be your words, or what you copy should be put into block quotes. Sep 3, 2016 at 18:54
  • Agreed. Certainly you should always reference your sources, the formatting may be a matter of opinion.
    – Elder Geek
    Sep 3, 2016 at 18:55
  • My approach to same/similar solutions is to simply leave a comment Related: <link>
    – Elder Geek
    Sep 3, 2016 at 19:01
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    «It's not a true dupe, and other users are annoyed at this behavior.» This is kinda questionable. In basically all communities on SE (except the LaTeX one) questions with the exact same answer are considered duplicates. Sep 8, 2016 at 13:29
  • @AndreaLazzarotto there's a problem I have seen many users here (not sure about other sites, but that shouldn't be held as too relevant) say they are tired of people duping different questions just because they have the same answer. The solution is found, sure, but we mark questions as duplicates of questions, not based on answers. Sep 8, 2016 at 17:13
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    @Zacharee1 yes, people complain about it but I have yet to understand why. The point of duplicates is to avoid repeating the same information. If different questions have the same answer, closing them as dupes seems like the best approach. Repeating the answer in your own words is pointless. It's more work for you and fills up the site with noise. If the answer exists, close as a dupe.
    – terdon
    Sep 12, 2016 at 9:42

I've found comments are best for saying: this link might help you out....

Comments with links are also useful if the OP hasn't really phrased his question explicitly and you want him to read the link to help him refine his problem. After reading your linked comment he might say no my problem wasn't the floppy disc was upside down. I don't have one of those 5 1/4" real floppy disks. I have one of those 3 1/2" sony compact hard case floppy disks. Then you can get the "ahah!" moment and can post an answer tailored to his problem or comment with the exact link he needs to solve his problem.

Comments have restricted formatting (Ctrl+Altl+T may not work for example). Comments also have a character count limit. If you have a lot to say, or you wanted it presented in an easy to read format you must pick Answer over Comment.

As far as the up-voting answers goes, comments can be up-voted too. I don't see that happening often though and I believe the points are less. (Edit 1: ElderGeek points out flagged comments probably have zero reputation points) (EDIT 2* Zacharee1 confirms 0 points with certainty)

The advantage of taking a correct comment with a link and posting as a correct answer with a link is the OP can flag the question as solved. This is important for those in the future with the same problem who search and skip over questions not marked solved.

Tonight I had flagged a post as duplicate. Then realized it was slightly different than the duplicate. So I retracted the flag and posted an answer referencing the link with explanations of how his question was different than the link. As fate would have it after that I came here and read this question...

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    "The advantage of taking a correct comment with a link and posting as a correct answer with a link is the OP can flag the question as solved." No, this is wrong in so many ways. Do NOT take duplicate comments and add them as your answer. We don't flag things as solved, we answer them IF they are unanswered or we close as a duplicate. An answer that says "There is a solution in this post [LINK]" is completely unacceptable. >>
    – Mark Kirby
    Sep 3, 2016 at 7:39
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    If it is already answered it is a DUPLICATE, it gets marked as a duplicate, then it is closed and does not need answering. Any answers doing this, should be voted down and flagged as low quality. Do NOT just link other answers as yours, you can reference them, even quote them but just a l;ink IS NOT an answer.
    – Mark Kirby
    Sep 3, 2016 at 7:39
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    Links / Content of links sometimes change though. Just a heads-up. Sep 3, 2016 at 16:49
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    FYI As far as I can tell upvoting a comment results in no reputation points whatsoever. It's simply stating that "This comment is relevant to the post"
    – Elder Geek
    Sep 3, 2016 at 18:59
  • @ElderGeek thank you for the clarification. I should revise the answer... Sep 3, 2016 at 19:02
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    Perpetual Improvement is a way of life. ;-)
    – Elder Geek
    Sep 3, 2016 at 19:03
  • Haha wise words from a true elder. Sep 3, 2016 at 19:06
  • @MarkKirby I'm not saying to post a comment as an answer when all it contains is a link. I'm saying after a series of comments between OP and researcher a solution is realized and that should posted as an answer which in turn may contain a link on the final comment by researcher. My answer starts by saying "try this link" should be a comment. Sep 3, 2016 at 19:08
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    @David-yourfriend good point. Someone pointed out to me a fortnight ago that links can disappear over time, ie 404 page not found. Sep 3, 2016 at 19:22
  • Upvoted comments don't 'probably' gain the user zero rep, they don't at all. It's an absolute certainty. Sep 6, 2016 at 16:24
  • @Zacharee1 post updated with 0, thanks. Sep 6, 2016 at 17:11

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