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Sometimes you see in answers or questions a link to an earlier answer to a different question. The url often is a mysterious sequence of digits and letters. How is it obtained? Linking to a question is easy: go to the question and see what is in the adress bar of your browser, but for answers this obviously doesn't work. Any help is appreciated!

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Below each question and answer, you will see a 'share' button. Click on it and get this:

Share Dialogue

The url you need is right there, already selected to cut and paste.

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    $\begingroup$ It might be worthwhile to observe that when doing this while logged in the url one gets looks somewhat different than the one in the image and depends on the user requesting it (via an appended "/[userID]"); depending on context one might prefer to remove this individual part. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Sep 5 '14 at 17:50
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Go to the answerer's page and find the answer there.

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I have noticed that this was discussed in the comments to this question: Privacy of software-generated links to questions and answers. (Which was bumped not too long ago. The linked discussion mostly focuses around the fact that from the "share" button you get the link which can also identify the user copying the link and the possibilities how to get URL without the uid were discussed there.)

So I'll summarize a few things here. (To some extent, I am just repeating stuff already said in the answers to this post on Mathematics Meta: Distinguishing between questions and answers in references. The post is linked in the comments - but perhaps it is better if this information is posted as an answer, where it is easier to notice.)


Various formats of a link to an answer

On MO (and other SO sites) there are many possibilities how a working link to the answer can be formed. Let us mention at least the main two:

  • The format site/a/id or site/a/id/uid - where id is the id of the answer. And if you copy the link from the share field, you will get also For example the link to this answer is: https://meta.mathoverflow.net/a/4749 https://meta.mathoverflow.net/a/4749 or, if I get the link from the "share" it will contain my uid and it will be: https://meta.mathoverflow.net/a/4749/8250 https://meta.mathoverflow.net/a/4749/8250
  • You can get the link in the format https://meta.mathoverflow.net/questions/1885/how-do-i-link-to-a-mo-answer/4749#4749 How do I link to a MO answer? - basically it contains site/questions/qid/title/aid#aid. (So the id of the answer is used there as a HTML anchor.)

How to get link to the answer?

  • Of course, one possible way is clicking on "share". And if you don't want uid, you can edit it out manually. (This is a bit cumbersome.)
  • If you're after a link without uid, you can simply browse MathOverflow without being logged in or in incognito mode. (Again, to me this seems a bit cumbersome - but maybe that's a matter of personal teste.)
  • Often it is easier to copy the URL from the browser's address bar. But to do that, you have to get an answer-link into the address bar in some way. There are various ways to do that.

How to get the answer link into the address bar

  • I consider as a rather fast way simply using the share link to get in your browser to the answer. This might be dependent on your browser, OS and your setup but, for example, this works for me: Ctrl+left click on "share" opens the link in new tab, where I get in the address bar the URL of the answer. The same thing happens if you use right click and then choose "open in new tab/window". Similarly, I can right click and choose "Copy link address". This gives me link with my user id - which I don't want - but if I paste the link into the address bar in a new tab or a new window, the browser will be redirected to the page with the "longer" URL fro the answer.
  • Of course, anything where you can find a link to an answer and you can click on it works - another answer mentions that the answer is linked from the OP's profile. (However, the method I describe in the first bullet point has the advantage that I have the share link immediately here whenever I am viewing an answer.)
  • If the answer you're interested happens to be the one that has the most recent activity, you can get to the answer simply by clicking the timestamp saying "active: date" at the top of the page displaying the question.

In my answer on Mathematics Meta I describe also the shortened format site/q/qid#aid. for example, for this answer it is: https://meta.mathoverflow.net/q/1885#4749 https://meta.mathoverflow.net/q/1885#4749. And I give there also a link to a bookmarklet which can be used to obtain such links which are nicely formatted. (For example, for this answer you get [How do I link to a MO answer?](https://meta.mathoverflow.net/q/1885#4749) from that bookmarklet. Which is nicely formatted if you paste this into a post or into a comment: How do I link to a MO answer?) However, this is probably relevant mainly for writing comments - in which you have rather limited number of characters and it helps a lot if you can shorten the link.

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  • $\begingroup$ I realized that many things are so automated after using them very often, that I don't even think what to do. Maybe that explains why I had to edit the answer several time and mixed up whether to use cltr+click or right click. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Nov 1 at 16:04

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