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I would like to propose an "alternate" to "edit answer". It seems to me that sometimes a question has too many answers to parse through. Often I think this is because everyone wants to get the reputation for upvotes. I know I've been there and done that, but lately, I've had a change of heart. I see no point in adding another answer when all I'm really offering is "extended information" from a possibly correct answer already given.

It seems like more might be encouraged to "edit an answer" if there were some sort of "extend" button to click instead, whereby the original answer is not "edited" but instead, added upon by the user. Thus adding the user to the Answers upvotes, though perhaps at slightly less than the normal 10 points. This might encourage more users to do as I have done in some cases and simply "extend" an already given answer, thus providing all the extra information in one spot, making it easier for future users to find all the information they need in as concise an area as possible.

I'm sure there are plenty of cons to this as I haven't thought it all the way through yet, but it just seemed like a good idea when I was "extending" another answer a few minutes ago.


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I would argue you should not make such edits. –  Bart May 22 '13 at 19:31
And I would concur with Bart. Rolled back. –  LittleBobbyTables May 22 '13 at 19:40
Oh, my, you deleted an original answer and replaced with your content, that's wild! o_0 –  brasofilo May 23 '13 at 0:38

2 Answers 2

There are a host of potential issues with this, but the simplest reason not to encourage it is that... Appending a section to an existing answer just isn't much different from posting another stand-alone answer. The result is a slightly shorter page, but that comes at the cost of separate voting, comment threads and revision histories.

And as you've noted, it can be rolled back and thus accomplish nothing at all.

I don't want to discourage editing to substantially improve existing answers, but if you're gonna do so you should strive to improve the answer as it was written - not to add an entirely separate block of information that could just as well stand on its own.

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If you have truly valuable, relevant, significant information to add, an additional answer is perfectly fine. Where things get a bit messy is if people start posting the same thing someone else already posted a long time ago.

Also, this is often only a real problem with some older questions, back when 'opinion' and 'shopping' questions were more widely accepted. Nowadays, you won't tend to see so many answers that it's truly difficult to scan them all.

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Well, it's not all that unusual to find a question with several duplicate answers. FGITW and all, y'know. Not necessarily a problem either when they're reasonably short (which they almost always are). –  Shog9 May 22 '13 at 19:50
If an accepted high voted answer is no longer correct and the answerer won't amend/remove it (and the OP is gone), new questions sometimes have no hope of rising to the top... Good point about fewer answers these days, but still. –  hayd May 22 '13 at 21:19

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