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I've seen in a couple of cases where someone will answer a question. Then as others add answers, they will incorporate the subsequent answers into their own to make it more comprehensive than it otherwise was, thereby making their answer the obvious choice.

In the end, I suppose you get a more well rounded final answer, but it also seems a bit like plagiarism.

What's the policy on this?

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The point of the site is to improve answers to solve the OP's problem. Refining answers is expected.

With comments, the whole point of comments is to improve an answer - they should be incorporated and then deleted out; they are intended to be largely temporary.

With answers, this shouldn't generally be a problem with a good question. When can you just rampantly incorporate other answers into your answer? Apparently they're not too different... Either:

  1. The question was a list question in the first place, which is bad
  2. The answer being incorporated is a crappy little answer that should probably have been a comment
  3. Another answer points out a minor flaw in the answer, in which case it's completely legit to fix it.

Furthermore, you should NOT post an answer when there is a very similar previous answer - you should comment/edit/refine and vote it up so that a clear community answer emerges. Nothing's worse than 24 answers all of which say "yes, with mostly the same justification!" That should be one well edited answer with 24 upvotes.

On the end the whole rep system is meant only to be an incentive, the goal is good questions and good answers - if that's happening, there's nothing wrong.

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    \$\begingroup\$ And if you're feeling guilty about "stealing their rep" make sure to up-vote their answer (obviously there was some good in it) \$\endgroup\$ Nov 22 '11 at 2:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Simon; the problem is that, once the good bits of one answer are incorporated in yours, that answer is redundant and may be deleted (by the writer if conscientious or by mods later). \$\endgroup\$ Dec 24 '11 at 19:28

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