I recently answered this question with a solution that provided the required result requested by the OP.

I later came up with an answer that I liked better, and I wanted to share that answer as well. In terms of best practices, should I post a separate answer, update my original answer to include my new solution, delete my original answer and update to my new answer, or do something else entirely? I'm asking because they are (relatively) distinct solutions to the problem posted by the OP.

For now, I've left my original answer and simply updated it with the new solution as well, in case my original answer ends up being helpful to anyone else.

However, is there a best practice in this situation?


I've decided to accept @AndrewStacey's answer, as it was the most relevant in terms of the two answers I posted to the above-mentioned question. That is, my answers were not so significantly different that I thought that they should be read separately.

Additionally, however, I think @egreg's point about clearly distinguishing the two answers if one does update the same answer (by, for example, not posting something like 'update' or 'edit') is also very useful. It was what I decided to do in this case.

And, finally, I think @Fran's point about avoiding an excessive number of answers is also a very good point.

  • Along as verbose description of two distinct solutions are available in two answers either an update or separate answer does not matter much as edit/update or new answer brings the answer to front screen roll for community upvotes. Commented Jul 14, 2013 at 18:46

3 Answers 3


I think my record for number of answers to a (non-CW) question is 3. I tend to do this if the answers are really different in the way that they answer the question so that they really should be read separately.

If you do decide just to edit the old answer, leave a comment on the question to the effect that you've done so as I don't think that the questioner gets notified of the edit to the answer.


I don't remember if I have two distinct answers in some thread (big lists not included). It happens sometimes that looking at a problem from a different perspective leads to a completely new solution.

There are several cases of double answers by the same user, but when it happens to me I edit my answer, clearly distinguishing between the two solutions.

I'd avoid "Edit" or "Update", preferring to give distinct headers to the solutions, maybe adding a comment directed to the OP about the existence of a new solution.


Some of the most famous open question ask for "only a solution per answer" as What packages do people load by default in LaTeX? because many correct solutions and different are expected and it is avoid long answers that overlap more or less with others answers.

For non community wiki answers, it is not clear for me. If you try to offer the best solution, only could be one, although you can show a subsidiary alternative in the same answer, just because that the owner of the OP cab have different thoughts. However, if you think that different answers are equally valid alternatives, multiple answers have the advantage of clarity, simplicity, and you can know what people think of each solution. But probably you cannot gain more reputation in this way. May be answers another users is accept because is more complete. On the other hand, avoid excessive answers is also desirable. Think that you are allowed to add more than one answer but with you edit the second one, a message warn you against this.

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