Update: problem description
I was trying to reduce the problem of clattering the list of answers with similar or same answers to the same question. The problem was discussed many times earlier:
- How should we deal with duplicate answers?
- Are duplicate answers acceptable?
- How to respond to late answers that are duplicates of accepted answers?
- Vote to delete answers as duplicates of earlier answers
- Should I raise a flag for late answers which are just a copy of the accepted answer?
- Flagged a duplicate answer as such, flag was declined - define "duplicate"
- Lots of duplicate answers on a question
- What to do with duplicated answers?
- What should we do when a question is getting a lot of redundant answers?
- Do you delete your own answer when it's a duplicate?
- Should we encourage users to delete their own duplicate answers?
In my opinion a user looking for an answer to a problem would prefer to read through a list of different answers, without duplication. If some answers are explaining the same solution, but one answer explains it better or in more detail, there is no need to keep the other answer which describes the same solution in a less clear or detailed way. It is better to delete it.
The original post
The problem of dealing with duplicate answers on SO does not have a good solution. Many suggested to upvote the quickest of the duplicate answers. But often the quickest answer is incomplete and then it is edited later. So it is sometimes impossible to determine who first gave the best and the fullest answer without knowing and carefully analyzing the full history and timeline of editions of the answers.
In order to reduce the amount of duplicate answers I suggest rewarding a deletion of one own's answer. The reward would not be immediate. When the user deletes their own answer A1, (s)he would be possible to specify another answer A2 in favor of which answer A1 was deleted. At this point A2's votes count would be increased to the sum of A1's and A2's votes (exception: the upvotes from the same voter to both answers would not sum up), but no one would be rewarded yet. The bonuses for all future upvotes of A2 would be divided between the authors of A1 and A2. The percentage of the bonuses given to the A1's author would depend on the following parameters:
- the amount of upvotes of both answers at the moment of deletion;
- the reputation of both authors
- (may be) the history and timelines of publication and editions of both answers