I have a weird question about this post: PHP Code Log out

There are two answers posted by one person (I will call him simply "the user" because it doesn't really matter who it was). This is what appears to have happened:

  1. The question was posted.
  2. The user posted this response and the consensus by other people was that this answer was correct because it has 2 upvotes.
  3. OP decided to update the question with more information.
  4. The user decided to post another answer that reflects the additional information. It is a different answer in general, too.
  5. In the meantime, other people gave answers that aren't duplicates of anything else there.
  6. OP accepts the second answer by that one user.

Since the answers are different (because they're based on different amounts of info provided in the question), is it okay that the one user posted two answers? Or, since it's a new user, maybe they just didn't know to update the old post.

Since one has upvotes and the other is accepted, would it even make sense to edit the answers together and flag a moderator to delete one? The user would lose a fair amount of points to have either answer removed, seeing as they don't have much rep to begin with.

tl;dr? Someone posted two answers; one is accepted, the other has upvotes. Do I flag it or ignore it?

Edit: I think I have my answer already but let me just clarify something... the first answer this user gave is no longer relevant anymore since OP provided some more code to clarify the issue. It's text contains just this:

This part of code is correct, there might be some problem in the Login section of the code, where you create these SESSION variable.

It's not like it's two valid but different approaches to solve the same exact question.... The second answer given by that user shows how to correct specific parts of the code in question.

  • 1
    Re your edit; the question as to if either answer is valid is separate from if two answers are acceptable. Act towards each as if it was answered by a different person. I feel you are moving towards a Not An Answer flag on the first answer. It is borderline, but I'd say it should be a comment Nov 7 '13 at 0:23
  • @gloomy.penguin People on math.SE sometimes multiple answers to a single question. A somewhat extreme example that I notice now and then is math.stackexchange.com/q/374937/72995 where one user has posted six answers. Nov 7 '13 at 2:38

It's not against any rule to post two answers to the same question as long as they are significantly different. It's arguably even better, so people can vote on the merits of the answers individually.

However, the asker should not materially alter the question enough to invalidate already posted answers. If that happens, he (or she) should be asked not to change the underlying question, only clarify it, and ask a separate question should the need arise.

In this particular case, however, the double-answerer's first answer would be better as a comment.

  • So... (my question died as a duplicate)... is it a comment and not an answer? I almost wanted to flag it as a comment but other people upvoted (meaning it was useful and implying it was a good answer). Nov 7 '13 at 0:15
  • Yes, it is a comment and not an answer. You can flag it as "not an answer."
    – Kevin
    Nov 7 '13 at 0:15

Yes, it's totally OK someone posted two answers. You are allowed to do this. If you weren't, you wouldn't even be given the option to post a second answer whilst you have an undeleted answer on a question.

Don't flag them. It's fine. Upvote them if they're useful, like any other answer.

Do not attempt to merge them. They are two different answers. Leave them as such. Sometimes, a person might post two different answers because they are actually wildly different.

Consider, for instance, this question on RPG.SE asking for interpretation of some rules (in a game where the rules are often very unclear): the user KRyan posted two answers. They both take completely opposite positions, because some time later, he changed his mind entirely and posted an entirely different position.

Would you merge these into one answer? How would you merge them into one answer? Would people upvoting the answers now be expected to vote for "yes it works that way" and "no it does not work that way at all" simultaneously as correct and useful?

Leave it up to the answerer to decide if they should have a second answer rather than updating their first answer.

  • "If you weren't, you wouldn't even be given the option" -> Well that makes absolutely perfect sense! I will leave them alone! (how would I merge? I read another meta post that suggested someone edit post A into post B, and then flag post A for a moderator to remove) Nov 7 '13 at 0:08
  • Hi.... so my question was closed as a duplicate, which is fine, but I was in the process of editing my question in response to your text. Is there anyway you could read my changes and confirm that none of it changes anything? Nov 7 '13 at 0:13
  • 1
    @gloomy Try to think of closed as duplicate as a good thing; "here have all these free answers" Nov 7 '13 at 0:26
  • If the first answer the user posted (or any answer for that matter) is no longer a useful answer to the question in its current state, downvote it like any other not-useful answer, regardless of whether it was useful once. Yes, that means there are problems around major question edits. Nov 7 '13 at 0:27
  • Oh, no, I'm good with the closed duplicate. I understand. That's fine. I was just making sure the new info didn't add anything that changed anything. I over think things...!! Nov 7 '13 at 0:28
  • Your new info doesn't significantly change things. It is dealing with a separate issue around what to do when a question edit invalidates an answer, which is a very different tricky situation. Nov 7 '13 at 0:30

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