It happens now and then that I have answered a question here at CogSci and that shortly after a way better answer is posted on that same question. In many cases the second and subsequent answers were probably spurred by mine, as any answer instantly bumps the question on top of the "active" list. This is of course a great thing. The more answers, the better! However, in some cases the following answers are basically making my answer kind of superfluous. A great example is this one: How does this illusion - that I just inadvertently created - work?. The answer by MariaAnt is of great quality, clearly overshadowing mine (not upvoted). My answer was really initiated by the fact the question seemed to go unanswered.

Should I delete my underdog answer? Or leave it in place to ramp up the #answers-per-question statistic in Area51? My personal hunch is - remove clutter. My answer is not upvoted, and will never be upvoted given the answer by MariaAnt.

PS: of course, when a question is upvoted or really adds something I leave it in place.

1 Answer 1


Do not delete your answer if it has value!

Even if your answer says the same thing as another answer, or there's another answer you feel is better than yours, that doesn't mean your answer has no value. Multiple answers per question is a good thing and especially if your was first, it shows that two individuals share the same viewpoint and further strengthens the point. (This is not a get-out-of-jail-free card for anyone who goes around posting pure duplicate answers, this is specific to the circumstance you're mentioning)

There's even a badge related to this: Sportsmanship: Up voted 100 answers on questions where an answer of yours has a positive score

Don't assume that your answer will never be upvoted just because there's a competing answer. Often, when reading a question, users (myself included) will upvote all answers which are correct and useful.

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    This is especially important here on CogSci, because many of our questions do not have singularly definitive answers, but do still have complete answers. I think especially so in questions like the Emotion question where the author is clearly fishing for a very specific answer based on an incomplete understanding. Mar 30, 2015 at 10:17

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