Assume someone asks a question and you can think of several fundamentally different approaches to the matter.

E.g., when actually the question is about maintaining data via TeX, often different approaches are possible, e.g., based on the package datatool, e.g., based on the package zref, e.g., based on the kernel's \label-\refstepcounter-\ref-mechanism, e.g., based on the kernel's \@starttoc-\addtocontents-mechanism, e.g., based on datatypes provided by expl3, e.g., based on (expandable) tail-recursion, etc.

With any approach, one may feel the need to explain in more detail how things are intertwined and therefore what to be aware of at usage.

In such a case, is it better to write one big answer, presenting each approach in a separate, clearly delineated section?

In such a case is it better to write several answers and to explain exactly one of the approaches in more detail per answer?

Some of my thoughts/considerations:

When you explain many different approaches in more detail, if you do that in just one answer, you might run up against the 30000-character limit.

If you write multiple answers, each one can be upvoted or downvoted.
On the one hand, this could be seen as an attempt to get many upvotes by writing many answers.
On the other hand, an upvote or downvote refers to a particular approach and you can better see the level of appreciation for each approach.

If only one approach is presented per answer, commenting may be easier, since you don't have to make clear ad nauseam which thing/approach/code example you are referring to.

I'm not yet clear on which "answering-policy" most closely matches the spirit of the community/platform.

  • 5
    Some (old) related questions on Meta.SE: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/125751/…, meta.stackexchange.com/questions/94183/…, meta.stackexchange.com/questions/25209/…. The concensus seems to be (more or less) that if you have multiple fundamentally different approaches then you can post multiple answers. Your data handling example seems to fit that description.
    – Marijn
    Sep 23, 2021 at 9:53
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    "could be seen as an attempt to get many upvotes" if you are worried about this, you can post the additional answers as community wiki Sep 24, 2021 at 9:26
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    From someone who has posted a lot of questions, I definltey prefer the multiple answer approach. Makes it easier to understand, comment and vote on. When I see multiple answers combined in someone else's question, I do not know which approach the OP selected. That is very useful information, so I know where to focus on. If I see another answer with a higher vote count, then I know that I should also look at the alternate answer as well. Oct 6, 2021 at 6:27


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