I answered this question, and as always Shirlock Homes supplied a supporting answer providing great information.

I was thinking of adding his answer as a quote in my answer (citing him of course), just so if future users come across this question they only have to read one answer to get all the information.

I actually added his answer as a quote but then rolled it back (thinking maybe it was too soon, as my answer was not accepted), but if my answer becomes the accepted answer is it appropriate to "merge" the answers?

I know the site runs on rep and I don't want to take anything away from our greatest resource (our Jon Skeet if you will), but I think most of us care more about helping fellow DIYers than reputation points.

So is merging answers an accepted practice? Or should I bow to the master and delete my answer?

FYI: I have no objections to people using any information from any of my answers in their answers, and feel free to edit my answers if you have more information to add or I have provided inaccurate information.

4 Answers 4


It doesn't say anywhere that there has to be just one perfect answer for each question.

In this case, your answer boils down to "don't do it because you'll stumble over gotchas", and his answer calls out some (all?) of those gotchas. So while Shirlock's has more detail, they're both good answers: both address the question and offer good advice.

I'd say to leave your answer in place (people thought it worthy of upvotes, after all), and let the other user decide whether to add an answer, leave a comment on your answer, or edit some information into it. IMO, Shirlock had enough extra detail to warrant a separate answer.


I don't recall the source off the top of my head, but I seem to recall Jeff and/or Joel discussing exactly this a while back. IIRC, they not only thought it was OK, but actually encouraged the idea of merging several "good" answers into one "great" answer.

  • On a side note... Is there a way to encourage this from the start? I mean how can we motivate folks to add information to an answer, rather than adding an answer of their own?
    – Tester101
    May 27, 2011 at 16:24
  • OTOH, the number of answers per question is used as a metric of beta site health on Area 51. Now I'm confused...
    – Niall C. Mod
    May 27, 2011 at 18:49

As both an "asker" and an "answerer" I value the entirety of all answers and comments. As the "asker" I like seeing a wide variety of answers and comments as it illustrates history, research, and discovery. As the "answerer" I'm careful to only answer with an original answer, otherwise I comment on someone else's answer to elaborate. I think hiding (although not really) the discourse treats the site less like a forum and more like a wiki. I'm not sure if that's the intent but I know that "reason" behind the answer is often more enlightening then the answer itself.



I always make it a habit to review all the answers, not just the first one or the accepted one. Each person has something different to bring to the conversation, and the accepted answer doesn't mean it's the only answer, just the one the questioner happened to pick. Therefore, I don't see a need to quote other answers to the same question, but I also have no objections to anyone that does this. Of course, quoting from a different question is appropriate, but only if the question itself isn't a duplicate.

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