Today, I ran across this question which had already been answered by Malachi 3 times before I looked at it.

I decided that since he answered in multiple answers, I might as well do the same thing. I also checked out this question, where it seems the concensus is that we can have multiple answers if the content is different.

Does that policy still hold? I know the Call of Duty says we should give more answers. Should we still encourage this behavior, or is this going too far?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Glad you asked. I'm kinda torn between "Well Malachi's rep-whoring on that one" and "Well if we all do that we'll get our answers-per-question metric up in no time!".. hard to decide... let this discussion happen! \$\endgroup\$ – Mathieu Guindon Nov 25 '13 at 18:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @retailcoder As I just wrote in my answer, I don't think we should post multiple answers just to get our answers-per-question ratio up. The answers-per-question ratio is just a bunch of numbers - they say nothing about the quality of those answers. \$\endgroup\$ – Simon Forsberg Nov 25 '13 at 18:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Update: @Malachi has since merged his answers. \$\endgroup\$ – 200_success Nov 26 '13 at 5:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ meta.codereview.stackexchange.com/questions/991/… \$\endgroup\$ – Malachi Feb 20 '14 at 22:15

I think this one has gone too far.

I agree with @SimonAndréForsberg, this isn't about the numbers, it's about the quality of what we're posting. Quality is king. If CR starts having tons of low-quality answers, the answer ratio could be 10 answers per questions, the site wouldn't be in a better shape.

Try to write a single answer, and then when it gets too long (by your own standards) you organize it better and regroup points together, and as you do so you can more easily refactor parts of your answer into another one - like we refactor parts of a class into another one when Single Responsibility Principle is taking a beating in our code :)

@Malachi's answer is inherently biased, but he's got an important point: each answer should stand alone as a full-fledged post.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think I lean more towards Malachi's view. But only because I rarely have the time to thoroughly respond to a code review in one sitting. If I do a short response at least I've contributed something. If I were to come back, it's hard to be sure if I should extend my answer or post a new one. Granted the circumstance I'm asking about in the original question are completely different. We both could have written our answers as a single answer, we just chose not to do so. \$\endgroup\$ – Daniel Nov 25 '13 at 19:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DanielCook I understand you point, but I think that's what the edit link should be used for; editing an existing post will bring the question onto the front page, just like adding a new answer does. By editing your existing post, you give yourself an opportunity to embellish your original answer, reformat stuff, make it look better, and add more content - i.e., raise the quality bar. The real question is, did you chose not to do so just because you saw how many answers Malachi had posted? \$\endgroup\$ – Mathieu Guindon Nov 25 '13 at 19:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ Pretty much. :) Monkey see monkey do. \$\endgroup\$ – Daniel Nov 25 '13 at 19:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ I just learned that incompleted answers will be saved in draft form, so that basically mootinates my primary issue. \$\endgroup\$ – Daniel Nov 25 '13 at 20:01

I don't think that length should be a criterion for splitting answers. The considerations should be

  • Independence: Can this answer stand on its own? Is it a suggestion that other users might upvote or downvote depending on their opinion?
  • Coherence: Would grouping multiple points together convey your thoughts more effectively?

A simple rule of thumb should be, are you OK with having your multiple answers presented in a random order?

Let's not judge each other for rep-whoring for now. We are, after all, trying to change the culture of this site in response to our recent site evaluation, with increasing reputation points as a goal. New norms will develop during this process. This discussion is part of that process, and we should revisit the answer-splitting issue periodically.

As long as we are on the topic of rep-whoring…

Here are some examples of long answers that shouldn't be split:

Answers where splitting is justified:

As for your specific example, I'm pretty sure that splitting your response made your answers longer and more overwhelming. Mentioning all the suggestions, summarized with one rewrite of the function, would have been much better.


This question is what I base my answering length by.

I don't think we should post multiple answers to the same question just to get our answers-per-question ratio up, or as a new way of rep-whoring.

I do think however that we should avoid "Facebook scroller long"-answers. Answers should be easy to read. Of course there are some answers who are both long and easy to read, and that's fine. There are however, answers which brings up many different aspects from the original question (coding conventions, variable names, method length, code duplication, use of exceptions, use of public APIs...), and many of those is more useful to split into two separate answers.

There's a common guideline in programming that a method should not be bigger than "one screen". On this site, my personal guideline is more like "One answer should (if possible) not be longer than two-three screens".

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd argue its more about the content then the length. If it requires 5 "Screens" then you probably need to write less and say more. If we look at it from the other side: If I get multiple answers which one will I accept? The most well-rounded and helpful. \$\endgroup\$ – James Khoury Nov 26 '13 at 1:25

Here is something to think about.

some of our answers have, in the past, been what I like to call "Facebook Scroller" long, and I don't think that is good for the site or the person asking the question, because another person coming along is going to see this huge answer and think to themselves "this question is taken care of" they may not even see any mistakes in the answer, or they won't look at the question and notice something that is missing from the other answer.

I agree where you mention code from another one of your answers, those two answers should be the same answer.

Additional information

The big thing here is that the question has distinct parts to it, I gave a review on 3 of those parts. those 3 parts could have been totally separate questions.

A lot of Questions here could(should) be broken up into several different questions, because they are asking about several different reviews on different parts of the code.

this question seems like one of those cases. none of my reviews actually need the other answers to make sense. They can stand alone.


I am sure that if it seemed like I was truly just "Rep-Whoring" that a moderator would have commented or said something about the way that I did it. another user could have came along and asked in a comment why so many answers, by which I would point them to Meta Discussions. but some users might take to childish means to get their point across and just post willy nilly and then say, "he did it first"

I posted this as an answer so that people could bash me for the way I said it if they needed to

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    \$\begingroup\$ -1 for posting as a separate answer :p \$\endgroup\$ – Mathieu Guindon Nov 25 '13 at 20:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ I will up vote that remark. \$\endgroup\$ – Malachi Nov 25 '13 at 20:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Comment upvoted for sportsmanship-ness :) \$\endgroup\$ – Mathieu Guindon Nov 25 '13 at 21:34

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