I was really surprised with the way Stack Overflow question One pickerview with multiple textfields was answered. One user had posted two answers (this and this) instead of using the "Edit" option on any one of the posts. The most surprising thing is the upvotes. The answers posted by the user got three upvotes for both of the answers. Is this the correct way of using the answering mechanism?

Please provide your thoughts.

  • Well the answers are not identical while the answers may be similar ultimately 3 people have found his short answer helpful and his in depth answer helpful so its a win win situation for the readers. So while I think its allowed maybe its not favorable but again, 3 people found it useful so isn't stack about helping people. ;) Feb 1, 2013 at 12:33
  • Not voting to close because I'm not sure they're dupes but they're related: Two Answers, One Question
    – Alenanno
    Feb 2, 2013 at 11:40

5 Answers 5


Based on my personal opinion, surely it's down to the community to judge via the voting system whether or not a answer is worth rewarding. So regardless, if someone has two answers or three people, the community can see this and should be using the voting system to either upvote answers or downvote them.

Of course, the ideal route would be to edit the questions, but people can be sent a message by the community using the downvotes on answers they feel are not useful. If you think both answer the same thing then simply downvote the one you think is of lesser quality. People doing this will soon learn with the amount of downvotes they have.

  • 1
    There's also an edge case that's rare but worth mentioning, the separate answers might have been posted in separate (but similar) questions that were later merged.
    – yannis
    Feb 1, 2013 at 13:10
  • 1
    I disagree slightly with your statement that "the ideal route would be to edit the questions" (I assume you meant answers?). If there are two substantially different methods of answering a particular question; both with the end result then I think it's preferable to post separate answers. Putting two varying methodologies into one answer is not very clear. Feb 1, 2013 at 13:40

Yes, the same user can post multiple answers to the question.

  • Instead, why cant the user use the edit option for a single answer? or the user can post as UPDATE for the single answer....?
    – Avadhani Y
    Feb 1, 2013 at 12:32
  • 11
    @Avadhani If the answers are different solutions, posting them separately is ok.
    – yannis
    Feb 1, 2013 at 12:33
  • 5
    -1 This does not address the question of whether this is a good idea. Feb 1, 2013 at 13:09

If both answers are good answers to the question, why does it matter who posted them?

  • 6
    Pff, at least that other user addressed whether or not it's possible. This answer merely states whether or not it matters. You should take this Yannis fellow as an example next time.
    – Bart
    Feb 1, 2013 at 12:33
  • 4
    -1 This does not answer the main question as stated in the title. Feb 1, 2013 at 13:08
  • 6
    I see what you did there.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Feb 1, 2013 at 15:29

I have posted two answers to a question on Travel. It was two completely different approaches to something and I wanted people to be able to vote on them independently. Sometimes I'll see a two-part answer and I'll want to vote the first part up and the second part down. That happens on Meta, too. I could see it being reasonable on Programmers (algorithm or architecture approaches), Workplace, Great Outdoors, and plenty of other places that are not quite as cut-and-dried as the typical SO question. But even on SO if someone asks how to do something that can be done two ways, you could add one answer that lists both with their pros and cons, or two short answers and let other people comment the pros and cons and show with voting which the community prefers.

Is a side effect of writing two answers that you could end up with twice the rep you might have? I guess. Rep isn't really fair anyway so I don't worry about that too much.


Answering more than once is allowed and possible, but in many cases that is a sign the question is too broad or bordering on not constructive. Making multiple focused related (but not duplicate) questions is preferable to one general question where multiple answers by the same person would make sense. There are very few instances where multiple answers would be acceptable.

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