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I just saw a question in which the same user answered twice. The two answers are however slightly different. Why is this possible and is there a limit to the number of answers one can give?

Check for the Question, User Answered Twice

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Sure this is possible. Even three times. :) –  Bart Feb 22 '12 at 15:42
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@Bart how much max answer we can give? –  Ravi Gadag Feb 22 '12 at 15:43
    
Until you run out of them. But seriously, I'm not sure there even is a hard limit. (at least I'm not aware of one) If they are good answers and having them in one answer could be confusing, then perhaps it's even better to split it up. But in general I would say, why not combine them and add a note that you're presenting two solutions. –  Bart Feb 22 '12 at 15:45
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As many as one wants. There is no built in limit. Why should there be one? –  Oded Feb 22 '12 at 15:45
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Waiting on someone to answer this twice... –  Bill the Lizard Feb 22 '12 at 16:04
    
@Oded it will be confusing. even i got confused :P –  Ravi Gadag Feb 22 '12 at 16:47
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Confusing? Why? An answer is an answer - doesn't matter if it is the same person answering. –  Oded Feb 22 '12 at 16:49
    
will it be kind of spam , what i think , nyway there are features, which mods only knows :-/, hope we will come to know all features soon ;) –  Ravi Gadag Feb 22 '12 at 16:57
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3 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

It's a feature, not a bug. Users are allowed to write more than one answer; each time they do this, they get a dialog box that asks they are sure they don't mean to edit their previous answer.

screenshot

Apart Community Wikis, there are cases where answering more than once makes a sense.
Suppose that somebody is giving two different options as an answer to a question. If both the options would be in the same answer, who agrees with an option, but not with the other one, would have some problems voting the answer (+1 for the first option, −1 for the other option; the total is: no votes); if the options are separated in two answers, it is easier giving a vote, and it is easier for who see the answers understand what the community thinks (e.g. both the options are valid, one of the options is very bad).

Clearly, as the dialog box reminds, the second answer could be avoided, especially if it is the carbon copy of the first answer, with some changed words. In that case, it is better to improve the existing answer, as the new answer doesn't add anything new.

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Both answers were originally the same; he only edited one of them later, without bothering to delete the other one. So I trashed the other one (and berated the author for not already deleting it himself -grumble-).

Now, I don't understand why there isn't a limit in place to prevent identical double-posted answers, since there's no reason for anybody to post two identical answers besides accidentally clicking submit twice. (Twitter has such a safeguard against duplicate tweets, which is pretty effective against spam and accidental double postings.)

It's fine to provide more than one answer to a single question provided the answers actually differ from one another, of course.

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And in the process you also cleaned up my "three times" example? Awesome. :) –  Bart Feb 22 '12 at 15:57
    
And it's back: stackoverflow.com/a/9398669/488657 :) –  Bart Feb 22 '12 at 16:44
    
@Bart: That's funny. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Feb 22 '12 at 16:46
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I do not believe that there is a limit. As long as your answers are valid and don't attract any moderator flags for abuse. However I think that this behavior could be viewed as gaming the system as each answer can be voted on separately hence doubling the chances of upvotes for a user (if both the answers are valid). IMO, If you have two solutions then list them both - there is really no need for two answers.

It would be recommended to simply add details to your original answer though - adding more details, adding an "alternative solution" header and detailing your additional solution there...etc...

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