A moderator has deleted one of my answers in two different cases. If a person comes up with two substantially different answers that are based on substantially different viewpoints, is it not appropriate to post them both?

Posting two substantially different answers allows readers to vote on them. Is that not considered acceptable practice in a case where it is not obvious which answer is correct?

In these particular cases I am not certain which answer is correct. The ultimate determination may end up depending on obtaining some more information from the branch of the FAA that is responsible for airspace design, but that hasn't happened yet. At such point as it does, I would expect to be able to delete one of the answers.

Alternatively, some reader may be able to speak authoritatively as to which answer is correct and why, and which is incorrect and why, in a comment. That cannot happen if one answer is deleted.

  • 1
    I'd suggest not posting any answer until you know which one is right.
    – amWhy
    Jun 12 '19 at 13:27
  • 3
    By posting two answers, you are tacitly saying you don't know what the correct one is. That doesn't make them answers; that makes them guesses, and now the answers are subject to popularity voting, not which one is objectively correct. That can work on Meta sites, if you're careful, but it doesn't work well on main sites.
    – fbueckert
    Jun 12 '19 at 13:27
  • This reflects my understanding of how things should work -- meta.stackexchange.com/a/25210/413377 . As far as the issue of "admitting you don't know", "guesses", and "popularity voting", the point in question turns on an interpretation of regulations and even lawyers may disagree on the correct answer but there may be some strong reasons to support one over the other. But maybe Stack Exchange isn't intended to deal with such nuances. Jun 12 '19 at 13:39

What you've brought up initially and what you end up talking about is different. In terms of two answers to one question...

Its one of those points of SE etiquette that is a little hard to get.

In most cases - we're not trying to run a popularity contest for posts, we're building a knowledge base. On the other hand there's a few sites - like Software and Hardware recs where its encouraged.

If somehow there are two fundamentally different yet authoritative answers to a question, you could get away with it, but posting a single answer would work better.

Practically you're trying to post the one, most correct answer.

That said, we strongly discourage the practice of throwing things at a wall in answers until they stick. Answers ought not to be speculative. You shouldn't be posting multiple answers you know may possibly be not correct, pending information you don't have and are unsure how to get - or even single ones. You could, if you felt someone else might know, use a comment on the question for clarification or as a signpost to what your answer(s) could have been for that future person in the know.

So, to me, the moderator was acting entirely appropriately. You can, of course edit one of those answers, and flag them for undeletion with the updates that make them authoritative rather than speculative - rather than deleting one answer, you can recover one.


If both answers genuinely attempt to answer the question and are fundamentally different and none of those answers are covered by existing answers I see no reason why you shouldn't be allowed to post two (or more) answers.

If the answers are just means to test the waters to find out which one is preferred / correct, then you're bending the rules and the answers don't contribute to the quality content we prefer on SE sites. Down voting and deletion of such answers is the right cause of action.

If you don't know yet what a correct answer is, do some research first or leave it to others to provide a correct answer. There must be an other unanswered question that needs your guess knowledge.


I appreciate the thinking behind what you're trying to do. You're trying to offer separate, distinct solutions to a problem and allow the community to decide which is better in which cases.

However, I contest the idea that what you're trying to do is generally useful. Why? Because as you put it "there may be some strong reasons to support one over the other". If there are strong reasons to pick one over the other... shouldn't those reasons be part of the answer?

If you have two different approaches, with significant justifications for them, then presenting both as a single package allows you to compare and contrast them. Thus, your answer is not necessarily favoring one of them, but is instead providing useful information that will allow the user to pick one over the other. The answer is about when to pick which one and why. And this wouldn't really be doable in multiple answers, since answers are generally not supposed to "talk to" each other.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Equally importantly, if you cannot create that contrast, if you cannot provide those reasons to pick one in favor of the other and in which cases one would be more reasonable, then you probably do not know enough about the approaches themselves.


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