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Usually, users can provide multiple answers to the same question.

However there should be a different rule, i.e. one answer per question per user, which is applied only to new (i.e. low-reputation) users (the existing behaviour for higher-rep users would be unchanged):

  • Because new users are less likely to do it well/appropriately
  • Because new users may be trying to spam the question: i.e. to provide more than one unwelcome answer.

This new rule should be applied, even when their first/original answer to the question is deleted (instead the user may edit their deleted question, and then reopen it or flag it for a moderator to reopen).

Although there's no great demand for feature its justification is that I'd guess it's trivial to implement (not much need but even less cost to implement): because there is already a message box displayed, when multiple answers-per-question-per-user are detected.

There are many other automated features which help keep the site tidy: the message box for repeated answers; inviting user to Chat instead of having long comment-dialogs; the ability to "protect" specific questions; etc.

Also this (automated) feature would less intrusive to new users than protecting a question: because "protection" prevents every new user from even answering the question once.

I doubt I can establish whether there's "enough misbehaviour from new users to justify this feature" without without access to statistics re. deleted answers; and even then, whether that's "enough" new users would be subjective.

Yet seems to me self-evident that one answer per question is usually enough, that multiple answers per question is an exception not a rule, and that only allowing established users (who have e.g. a rep of 10 equivalent to "remove new user restrictions") to escape that rule would not be unduly restrictive.

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    Meh. I'd prefer a little notice ala Clippy. "I see you're posting another answer to this question. Would you like help editing your previous answer?" – MikeTheLiar Aug 21 '13 at 13:01
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    Do you have any examples? I'm not sure this is really a problem – David Robinson Aug 21 '13 at 13:02
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    @mikeTheLiar That already exists. – ChrisW Aug 21 '13 at 13:03
  • @ChrisW -1 not enough Clippycorn. – MikeTheLiar Aug 21 '13 at 13:05
  • @ChrisW Lie! I see no Clippy! – Andrew Barber Aug 21 '13 at 13:05
  • @mikeTheLiar D'oh! You beat me to it ;) – Andrew Barber Aug 21 '13 at 13:05
  • @DavidRobinson I only know of one example (but I'm not a moderator so I don't know much). I posted this request without consulting DJClayworth who posted the semi-annoyed comment: I noticed that because he has 10,000 rep which is enough to let him delete some things (including perhaps, I don't know, zuma's extra answers) yet not enough rep to 'protect' the question. – ChrisW Aug 21 '13 at 13:10
  • Are you certain that zuma actually posted multiple answers? I'm not a 10k user on Skeptics, so I can't see deleted answers. I only see the one answer, and it looks fine to me. – Cody Gray Aug 21 '13 at 13:13
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    Meh. I don't think this is big enough of a real-world problem to warrant a feature. One user posting two "not an answers" or two users posting one each - what's the difference? They will be deleted by a moderator. – Pëkka Aug 21 '13 at 13:15
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    also, two deleted anwers move the answerer twice as fast toward an answer ban than a single answer does – John Dvorak Aug 21 '13 at 13:17
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    I think flagging it for moderator attention would be a better response than handling it in the site rules. Handling unusual one-time abuses (which, unless you can find other examples, is what we're looking at) is what moderators are for. – David Robinson Aug 21 '13 at 13:33
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    @mehow I'm not sure what you mean. How is this not a feature request? – Pëkka Aug 21 '13 at 13:34
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    @Pekka웃 I assume mehow was referring to: "including a justification of why the new feature is needed and/or how it can improve the community. Basically, prove to the administration that they should spend time developing your feature." He stopped at just describing the feature; he didn't explain the need it fills or justify why it's worth implementing. (Granted, most people don't do that, even though they all should.) – Servy Aug 21 '13 at 13:45
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    IMO I 'explained the need' in my list items. The justification is mostly that I guess is trivial to implement (not much need but even less cost to implement). There are many other automated features which help keep the site tidy: the message box for repeated answers; inviting user to Chat instead of having long comment-dialogs; the ability to "protect" specific questions; etc. Also this (automated) feature would less intrusive to new users than protecting a question: because "protection" prevents every new user from even answering the question once. – ChrisW Aug 21 '13 at 13:51
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    @ChrisW A part of demonstrating a need would also be showing that not only is this a potential problem, but it's actually a problem; that there are enough new people actually posting multiple bad answers to justify prohibiting it. – Servy Aug 21 '13 at 14:03
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I totally disagree with your statements

Because they are less likely to do it well/appropriately

That is not true. I have seen lots of great first answers provided. I see a good amount of users who have not asked a single question yet but provided many useful answers.

Because they may be trying to spam the question: i.e. to provide more than one unwelcome answer.

Anybody can do that. There is a system implemented to deal with the most obvious acts of vandalism/spam. The other half is us - the community, queues, reviews, flags, etc. (plenty of tools)

On top of that, does it hurt that much to leave an advisive comment for a new user?

This new rule should be applied, even when their first/original answer to the question is deleted (instead the user may edit their deleted question, and then reopen it or flag it for a moderator to reopen).

There is no such feature regarding the answers. Answers can easily be merged through editing(or suggested editing). The second (unnecessary) answer needs to be flagged for deletion.

because there is already a message box displayed, when multiple answers-per-question-per-user are detected.

which is this

second answer

Clearly, if the user decides to add a new answer he either must have a good reason for it or clearly his intention is to vandalise. He is being msgbox-ed to edit his current answer instead of adding a new one. If he still decides to add a second one he may be breaking the rules. The system for reporting such is called flagging and its widely used by the community.

What else do you want to implement here? Are you suggesting another feature: reopening answers?

I doubt I can establish whether there's "enough misbehaviour from new users to justify this feature" without without access to statistics re. deleted answers; and even then, whether that's "enough" new users would be subjective.

What would you need all the stats for?

If a new user makes an effort to answer a question we should already be rewarding his commitment to make the site better. He may not be aware at the time but from a more experienced point of view this is great and the one of the main drives for running Q&A site. If his answer is misleading anyone with enough rep can downvote it (remember 5 downvotes faded answer) and I'm sure at least one of the 5 will leave a comment or flag for moderators attention, specially seeing that users is new to the site.

Yet seems to me self-evident that one answer per question is usually enough, that multiple answers per question is an exception not a rule,

There are lots of multiple solutions in many cases. Having a few answers is a very positive status-by-design feature. Users can up/downvote any answer and for anyone who visits the site in the future more answers provide a better source of reliable information. We are not Einsteins and sometimes we overlook something that one can point out in his answer/ alternatively his comment.

and that only allowing established users (who have e.g. a rep of 10 equivalent to "remove new user restrictions") to escape that rule would not be unduly restrictive.

Come on, this isn't a kindergarten. We don't need mumma's permissions to breath. Break rules = be warned = be warned again = final warning = ban.

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    No I'm suggesting that we shouldn't allow them to post TWO answers to the SAME question. Several answers to MULTIPLE questions (one answer per question) is fine. It's rare that anyone should provide two separate answers to the same question: usually a single answer should do. – ChrisW Aug 21 '13 at 13:37
  • @ChrisW Ok. Maybe rewording your statements and suggestions could help us identify your message – user221081 Aug 21 '13 at 14:08
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    Thanks for your comment and I'm sorry it was unclear. Is it clear now and/or do you have further edits to the OP to suggest? – ChrisW Aug 21 '13 at 14:12
  • @ChrisW of course I have been editing my answer to suit your every 5 minute edited question :) – user221081 Aug 21 '13 at 14:35
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    @mehow: I actually don't think his original question was unclear or that he's been editing it to change it. I'm not sure how "posting multiple answers to the same question" could be misinterpreted. – David Robinson Aug 21 '13 at 15:04
  • you think i misinterpreted his question? really? – user221081 Aug 21 '13 at 15:06
  • @DavidRobinson People might have thought from the original version that I had suggested changing an existing rule and making a new rule applicable to every user (including limiting the behaviour of experienced users), so that new users don't abuse it. – ChrisW Aug 21 '13 at 16:07

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