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What to do when a player loses or forgets their character sheet? is an fairly important question roleplayers want answers to. It belongs on the site.

It is quiet a old question posted in 2010.
During that time it has gained a lot of answers.
Well actually it hasn't.
It has gained about 5 answers.
Expressed over the course of 19 posts.

Some posts express two or three ideas, most do not. Ever single idea is expressed more than once, I went and counted:

  • Reconstruct Aproximate In play: 4
  • DM look after: 6
  • Keep Minimal Cheat Sheet of most important stats: 2
  • Store Online: 7
  • Photocopy/duplicate GM lookafter: 5

  • Total Unqiue Ideas: 5

  • Total Expressed Ideas: 24
  • Total Answers Posted: 19

Plus several comments also giving the answers

Everyone wants to give there two cents. Whether or not the same idea has already been expressed. I suspect for a lot of users it was their first post.

But it is hard to read and repetitive What can we do to make it more readable?

Perhaps can be deleted the 3 answers that have no upvotes. Perhaps we can create a community wiki answer and summerise all the answers in it?

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In the Stack Exchange Way of doing things, this issue is already handled by votes, not deletion. The votes push the less-useful answers down and pull the more-useful answers up. This effectively makes the less-good answers invisible to anyone who doesn't bother reading them.

Every visitor will have a different amount of attention to spend on researching solutions to this problem, so different visitors are given exactly the right number of answers, according to the strength of their need and the amount of tolerance for redundant ideas they have. Deleting them just means that we'd have to decide what the "right" number of answers is, which will never perfectly match anyone. So the voting, plus visitor behaviour, takes care of that for us automagically.

But if the best solution isn't in the top answer(s)?

Sometimes, like in this case, the "best" answer is really a bunch of ideas scattered over a few answers. Usually the voting will concentrate all the good stuff near the top, so that reading two or three answers gives a good set of solutions. Sometimes not, though. And determining that is subjective, anyway.

If you see a question that you think needs a good, canonical, single answer, there are two solutions:

  1. Offer a bounty using the standard needs-a-canonical-answer reason.
  2. Write your own answer that covers all the ideas.

(1) has the issue that people might simply not submit new answers or improve existing answers before the 7-day bounty period expires, but often it will get the necessary attention. (2) has the issue that the new answer might just increase the number of answers without getting voted up, but if it's really a great improvement, it will get votes. Which one (or neither) seem appropriate to a particular question is just a matter of personal judgement.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Good point on the bounty. Done. \$\endgroup\$ – C. Ross May 11 '14 at 18:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also seems like a good use-case for Community Wiki, which we seem to use almost not-at-all. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan May 12 '14 at 2:07
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I do not think that this question is really all that problematic. Yes, there is a lot of duplication, but the top answers (as of 11 May) cover the five principles you've identified:

  1. (Bryant): approx. in play
  2. (Ororo): GM holds
  3. (Tsojcanth): approx. in play, GM holds, cheat sheet
  4. (Katniss): online

So in the top four answers there is already coverage of all the points made ("GM duplicate" is really a subcase of "GM holds"). The answers might stand to have some upvote love, but the SE system does seem to be doing just fine here.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Another issue is that although the summarised content and overall thrust of two answers might be the same, the amount of detail they go into, examples they provide, references/quotes etc might be completely different. In these cases I think its perfectly OK to keep the different answers. \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs May 11 '14 at 17:26
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StackExchange doesn't have a method for ridding itself of duplicate answers, because (excluding exact duplicates) it doesn't matter. Some of the answers get voted up. Some of the duplicates will be better phrased and more comprehensive than others. The best answers will be at the top. So what if there's a long tail of duplicates?

The one exception is copy and paste answers. We delete those, flag 'em if you see 'em.

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