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Based on this question

I posted my answer as two separate answers because both of them solve the question differently. However, in my not-so-kind mood, if I were not the poster, I would frown upon this because it might be baiting for more reputation.

Related: The issue with multiple answers

The link above seems to favor people to post different ideas as separate answers, so people can judge which one they like the most. However, if this is done, I might have 7 different possible answers for a question, which may have more than 30 answers in total by then.

If the answers are mutually exclusive, then it's understandable to post them as two separate answers, but if they are not, and can be combined (in my answers, both can be combined if the OP wants it), how should we - the answerer - post?

What does the community think about this, and what is the guideline?

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    $\begingroup$ If you alone can post that many answers, are you sure that the question you are referring to is not "too broad" or "opinion-based"? Many possible answers are normally an indicator that the criteria are not clear enough for a question on WorldBuilding. Two answers from one person might be okay, but if you can post seven then something might not be right. $\endgroup$ – Secespitus Jun 19 '17 at 13:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Secespitus example of 5 answers in a not too broad question. Although I'm not sure if it's too broad after reading the linked meta question. $\endgroup$ – Vylix Jun 19 '17 at 13:42
  • $\begingroup$ I haven't read the first one until now and I have never seen the second one. I would argue that both are opinion-based/broad and am looking forward to this discussion. A hint: just because something is not closed doesn't necessarily mean that it's a good fit for the site. Sometimes things slip through and sometimes the scope changes. That there are no comments and other answers on the second question might be an indicator that the OP really quickly accepted your answer and others didn't look at a question with an already accepted answer. That's of course pure speculation. $\endgroup$ – Secespitus Jun 19 '17 at 13:50
  • $\begingroup$ I doubt anyone​ will see it as "rep baiting" if both answers are of good quality. On a side note most of the times where I've posted two well received answers to the same question, I hit the rep cap pretty quickly, so I may have received a lot of votes really quickly, but didn't see a huge amount of rep. Probably a good reason to have the daily rep cap. $\endgroup$ – apaul Jun 19 '17 at 16:10
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If both of your answers are standalone, independent answers that solve the issue in question in a totally unrelated way, then you should post them separately, making sure each one is high quality one.

If the answers you post are just two short paragraphs, three sentences, then reconsider. Is it really a question you should answer? Are these answers really as high quality as they should be? If such a small amount of data is sufficient, maybe the question is opinion based or simply too broad? Or maybe you are not putting as much thought into your answers as you should?

Also, every time when you can come up with multiple answers in a short time, remember the text under the "too broad" close reason:

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question.

Emphasis mine. If there are many possible answers and the question does not give an idea which ones will be better, it's probably too broad and you should vote / flag instead of answering.

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It's too simplistic to assume because a question may have different answers the question is too broad. Detouring into the issue of whether questions are too broad or not is a red herring that does little and probably nothing to address of multiple answers to a single question. Often multiple answers arise simply because the assumptions necessary to answer the question may lead to different answers. This is a common situation with speculative questions and especially when the answers themselves are speculative.

You only have to look at philosophical questions to see how considering one or two factors differently can result in different, if not radically different answers to the same question. This will not be uncommon here on Worldbuilding SE.

I have found myself doing both. Giving multiple answers to the one question in the text of a single answering post and putting different answers in separate posts. Often there has been little rhyme or reason in doing so. Although if the different answers are sufficiently different it does definitely feel uncomfortable putting them in the same text.

Usually what happens when this occurs, is that I had formulated one answer and during writing the post other possibilities arise and they get added in to the post. If they are too contradictory, this feels like I can't make up my mind. Mainly this springs from the fact that worldbuilding will always be a speculative endeavour. Unless we want to restrict worldbuilding to worlds congruent to quotidian reality. That will reject all questions about magic, future technology, even alternative history, and the majority of topics currently considered legitimate on WB SE.

If any guidelines are needed, then this should be mainly up to the answerers. They should determine if they feel their answers can be grouped together or if they are too contradictory then it may make more sense to post them separately.

If necessary, the OP or people in comments can indicate that if separate answers have been posted whether they should be grouped into the one answer/post. The converse is also true. If the one post gives multiple answers, then the OP and comments might advise that they could be broken up into separate answers.

One problem with multiple answers in a single answers is that, for example, I personally might agree with one or two of those answers and reject others. if that were so, I'd have to either point that out in comments. "I voted for answer X, but am unhappy about answers Y and Z." type of thing. However, after this issue has been raised, I could recommend the poster repost their answers separately.

In summary I believe the only really sensible guidelines would be to encourage WBers to encourage posters whether their multiple answers should be posted as a cluster or separate answers. In the event someone posted another answer to a question, then in that case it makes a lot of sense that latter answers should be posted as a new and separate answer.

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  • $\begingroup$ Note that I never said to assume question is too broad. All I said is to reconsider if the question is too broad or the answers are really valid and high quality. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Jun 20 '17 at 10:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Molot. My remark wasn't specifically aimed at yourself or assumptions. The issue of whether answers like this were too broad was going off-topic. Vide the comments to the question. The question was about the practice of multiple answers and guidelines concerning them. This seemed to be a red herring as I said. Perhaps reconsidering such questions as too broad should be a meta question in its own right. $\endgroup$ – a4android Jun 20 '17 at 13:26
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    $\begingroup$ Most of "many short answers" questions I recall seeing here was later closed as too broad. That's why, in my opinion, these issues are highly connected. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Jun 20 '17 at 13:49
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I see nothing wrong with multiple answers. If they are rep-baiting, I am not going to vote for the same person twice for the same answer anyway, and I assume most people voting would notice the same: "Hey, this is the same as the other guy. And IS the other guy! Maybe I'll down vote this one..."

Plus, I have answered twice just because I posted something out of rationality, and an hour later my subconscious produced a more clever or inventive solution. So my first post may be pedestrian, and have gotten some votes, and my second take a little shinier, and I want to tell the OP.

My feeling here is I am trying to help the OP create a better story or game or D&D scenario, whatever. Rules that get in the way of doing that are not good rules. Have some faith in the rest of us deciding what to vote for.

If somebody gets carried away duplicating his answer multiple times, we can throw a flag on the post. I've never done that, but it would be a good reason to throw my first.

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I’ve done both:

Combined

Multiple ideas in one post using level-1 headers for each. But they can share a common intro, and the ideas may form a progression so each introduces the next. This allows simple transitions rather than some prerequisite explaination for each section. More generally, each section ca assume knowledge already explained in prior sections.

Separate

If the new answer is added at a later date, it makes sense to post it as a new answer. People will have already read the original and might not expect substantial new answers to appear as an edit. Naturally, it should stand alone as a post.

Sometimes a late answer is a summary or synthesis based on several existing answers, in which case they should all be acknowledged within the new answer — that may include your first answer.

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  • $\begingroup$ In this case, should mark the second one as wiki? $\endgroup$ – Bebs Jun 20 '17 at 7:14
  • $\begingroup$ No. It's ok to have more than one answer and nobody minds if that’s done on occasion. If you mean specifically a roll-up or summary answer? I agree that would be good form, but my experience nobody adds to them anyway. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Jun 20 '17 at 7:16
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I mean in the case of a second answer that summerizes other answers, the second one should be wiki. $\endgroup$ – Bebs Jun 20 '17 at 7:18
  • $\begingroup$ Example where I have 2 answers: worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/83317/… the second is my developing someone's comment into a full answer, and he inspired me to get tnat book so then I was able to add quotes and details. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Jun 20 '17 at 7:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Bebs - When 'my' answer is more than ~75% C&P, I make it CW. Not that it matters on Meta ;) $\endgroup$ – Mazura Jun 22 '17 at 0:41
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Independent or standalone answers that solve the issues in totally unrelated ways should be posted separately.


If assumptions are necessary to answer the question, use level-1 headers for each section of your answer. If they can't share a common intro, and the ideas don't form a progression so that each introduces the next, consider making separate posts, or that it might all be a giant waste of time; questions that are closed for any reason, and remain so, are auto-deleted in about a month.

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  • $\begingroup$ I prefer line-breaks, but this is WB, so if you don't want to be left in the dust, use headers. $\endgroup$ – Mazura Jun 22 '17 at 0:39

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