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Another user asked me in the comments section to my answer here why I combined so many approaches in a single answer. This made me realize we don't seem to have a clear consensus on if and when it is proper to post multiple answers.

I found this thread on the main meta:What is the official etiquette on answering a question twice? where the top voted answer suggests that different approaches should be posted as different answers. Others, namely @JeffAttwood and @Gilles, suggest that as a general rule it's better to post a single answer, providing the different approaches in one place.

So, how do we, the U&L community feel about this? When is it OK to post multiple answers to the same question?

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    I like them all in 1 as Jeff and Gilles suggest. – slm Nov 7 '14 at 2:42
  • Well you have answered your own question pretty well here. – Ramesh Nov 7 '14 at 3:24
  • @Ramesh well, yes, I know how I feel about it :). I just thought it would be good to have a discussion about it and see what the community thinks. – terdon Nov 7 '14 at 3:26
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    Answers? Multiple-answers?? If your solution isn't an indecipherable one-liner that fits in a comment-field, it's not worth the keystrokes that you're spending on it. Explaining one-liners takes their magic away. – Anthon Nov 7 '14 at 5:38
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My approach to "when to post multiple answers..." (something I've done myself a few times) is as follows:

When I have multiple approaches that tackle the problem in different ways and all of the various approaches have pros and cons. Then I post the multiple answers and let the community vote and comment on the approaches. This has proved effective in helping me hone in on the best answer from the multiple that I have thought of.

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I think it is commendable where people in the community have the knowledge—and the willingness to share it—to include multiple approaches to solving a problem; for example, by providing solutions in more than one language.

Not only does this provide the original question asker with more options for them in addressing their specific issue, but it makes the wiki a much richer resource for those that discover the question through search engines.

From the community's point of view, it is also incredibly instructive to see how so many really knowledgeable people would solve different problems with an array of tools or approaches.

My personal preference would be that, rather than submitting multiple answers, you post a single answer with the different approaches clearly delineated (and, ideally, some commentary on the merits of one over the other, if it makes sense to do so).

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I once posted multiple answers on a question and was downvoted numerous times until I combined them. I think that was a different stack Exchange, so the climate might have been different there. Maybe Super User?. My first thought was "different approach, different answer", but apparently several people disagreed. I think it will depend on the individual Stack Exchange and the users who do or do not see and respond to the question.

That being said, @Gilles might have been the one telling me to combine them.

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