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This may be a little bit way out there.

Some good answers are nuanced and may contain several options. Some of which are good or bad. Say there were three alternatives given in an answer, one brilliant and the other two rubbish. It would be nice to highlight the brilliant bit and upvote that specifically.

I think that the current way to do this is to put a comment explaining why you voted on a particular answer, but it may be nice to split the best bits out.

This does lean toward the SO as a wiki idea, where the best answer could float to the top but it could also end up a complete unintelligible mess.

Another way around this which is perhaps more practical is to encourage single answer answers. If people can think of a few alternatives to post them as separate answers and let the community decide.

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What's your suggestion, giving fractions of upvotes? Or splitting an answer, with parts floating to the bottom and parts floating to the top? I see your point, but I can't see any practical way of doing this. –  balpha Aug 10 '09 at 15:32
    
I like the thought, but I can't come up with a good idea, other than encouraging users to post multiple, unrelated ideas as separate answers. –  Thomas Owens Aug 10 '09 at 15:43
    
@Thomas: Well, that is actually what is supposed to happen, but it can be a bit unrealistic. –  GEOCHET Aug 10 '09 at 16:38
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4 Answers

By and large, we do encourage single answer answers.

As for voting on bits and pieces, that just adds a whole new level of complexity for no really good reason. Leave a comment and/or edit the rubbish parts out if necessary.

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I think a better solution would be for you to create a new answer with just the good bits. It would be polite to acknowledge the other answer and to explain why the not so good bits weren't so good.

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This is why we have the ability to edit and comment on answers. No need to complicate things by changing the voting system.

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if (youAgree == true) 
    upvote++;
else if (youAgree == false)
    upvote--;
else 
    upvote = null; // I assume youAgree is a nullable bool.
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