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There seem to be a lot of questions (usually fairly straightforward ones), which end up with 3/4 answers being laid down within a couple of minutes of each other with almost identical content, this one for example.

Depending on how quickly the answers get posted, it appears at least some of the right answers will get up votes, so there's no reason for all of the posters not to leave their answers. But really, most of them are just noise, that detract from any answers that have actually taken a different approach to solving the problem and so may add some value.

So I'd like to propose a new (Magnanimous?) badge with rules something like:

Has deleted own answer with score of X or more, and upvoted competing answer on Y occasions.

I'd say a reasonable value for X would be 1 or 2 (the answer needs to have been upvoted at least once to prevent people posting a silly answer, deleting it and upvoting a competing answer just to get the badge).

A reasonable number for Y, based on the current badges would seem to be 10 / 25, depending on the badge color.

What do people think?

Would a similar badge for deleting 0 voted answers older than XX days help to clean up as well, or is the voting system enough to take care of this by hiding the low scoring answers?

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So, basically, combine Disciplined with Sportsmanship, toss in some alchemy and make it gold? – Tim Post Apr 26 '11 at 9:25
@Tim Post: rofl... I never thought of it that way, but I guess so. – forsvarir Apr 26 '11 at 9:28
I like the idea of rewarding people for yielding to a better answer, or perhaps editing one that exists instead of providing another as an addendum. I'm just not so sure a badge is the way to go about it. I'm one of the people who rarely answers if someone else has posted at least most of what I was going to say, so I do appreciate the situation you describe. – Tim Post Apr 26 '11 at 9:49
up vote 5 down vote accepted

It's not really clear to me why your proposal is better, or even substantively different, from the existing Disciplined badge, which is earned by all those who have:

Deleted own post with score of 3 or higher.

All that you've added is the requirement to upvote a competing answer. A meritous action, to be sure, but we already have a badge for that, too: Sportsmanship. Its requirements are to have:

Up voted 100 competing answers.

Why do we need yet another badge that combines these two into one? It seems likely that those who would earn the proposed "Magnanimous" badge would also earn (or have earned) the Disciplined and Sportsmanship badges.

That being said, I completely agree in spirit with the proposal: not nearly enough users delete their duplicate answers to "hot" questions. Some duplication is okay, as long as each answer adds some value of its own. But four answers with exactly the same code snippet are just noise, and should be removed. My concern is simply that your proposal is not the best way to encourage people to delete their answers.

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Tim made a similar connection above between disciplined & sportsmanship. I guess the reason I didn't think of it that way is because, sportmanship encourages me to upvote when another answer adds something different, not delete my answer. The disciplined badge has always struck me more as, if I answer and get upvotes, then I relise my answers wrong (possibly because of some comments) and delete it even though there will be a rep hit. They seem like different motivations. But you're right, my proposal may not be the best way to encourage people to remove redundant answers. – forsvarir Apr 26 '11 at 9:42
@forsvarir: Indeed, I first posted a comment then decided to promote it to an answer. Tim had the same thought in the interim. What you say about Disciplined being primarily targeted to those who later realize that their answer is incorrect, makes sense. But I am still concerned about the duplication between the badges, and the likelihood that the user who will earn your suggestion will also earn the other two badges. – Cody Gray Apr 26 '11 at 9:45
From the people I've talked to, this seems to be the consensus. – forsvarir Apr 26 '11 at 15:11

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