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So, this has happened to me multiple times now, and to be honest it's getting frustrating as a casual user of this particular SE (especially since the judgements seem less cut-and-dried than other SE's I'm on).

I have a really hard time figuring out whether a partial answer should be a comment or a new answer. I've had both versions deleted multiple times no matter how I word them.

To be a bit more clear, in cases where there are questions that are a bit lengthy and perhaps have multiple issues embedded in them, answerers frequently post perfectly reasonable answers that cover most of the issues. I come along and have thoughts that could cover some of what I think haven't been covered, so I want to add those thoughts b/c I think they may be useful.

In the case where I tried adding that to a comment, it was deleted by a moderator with a note telling me I shouldn't post an answer (even an incomplete answer) as a comment.

In the case (different question) where I tried adding my thoughts as a new answer (acknowledging that other people had answered everything else), I got downvoted to and flagged for deletion for not answering the question.

I really don't understand how I'm supposed to handle a partial (but in theory additive) answer, given those examples. Should every answer rehash everything covered by existing answers?

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There's two expectations going on you're running into:

  1. If you're attempting to partially or completely solve the problem, exclusively do that in an answer.
  2. If you're writing an answer, try your best to directly and comprehensively address the problem in the question. We will judge your answer based on how well it stands on its own as a solution in isolation from all other answers.

This means if you just have a small tidbit to throw in, but no holistic solution to provide, there is no real space for that at all. That's by design and not seen as a problem. Realistically there is an endless quantity of small tidbits that can be tossed in but we're not trying to collect them. If someone is broaching a similar area in their answer you can suggest a thing as an improvement to that answer, but that suggestion may be declined and removed.

When you have a substantial original solution, but don't want to retread ground another answer has provided as part of expressing it, there is advice in this answer on how to do that: provide a holistic solution, summarise existing advice, point to where it exists in full. However, this doesn't get received well when it's done to merely add another tidbit because a tidbit is nothing new as a solution.

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    \$\begingroup\$ THIS made sense to me in ways the other answers and comments did not. Thank you. \$\endgroup\$ – Paul Aug 16 '18 at 23:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ Realistically there is an endless quantity of small tidbits that can be tossed in but we're not trying to collect them. Well said. I think you should bold that part. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Aug 17 '18 at 3:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Paul I'm happy that was helpful. Sorry to hear you've had such trouble find out how this part works. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Aug 17 '18 at 12:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ There is a space to do this when the tidbit is actually useful for answering; as a comment or edit to an existing answer that you think the additional information would benefit. Like "you may wish to mention the passage on pg. 555 of book name that further supports this position", or whatnot. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Aug 18 '18 at 19:12
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From a previous Meta answer by mxyzplk

Now, "but the hapless questioner could use that info!" In nearly all cases someone posts the same information in a (much more comprehensive) answer. Or take the time yourself to write a real answer. We don't like crappy questions or crappy answers, and we'd rather not have the Q or A than to have one that doesn't meet site quality (hence closes/deletes, part of the standard SE functionality). If you don't care enough to write a real answer don't, the likelihood that you're the only person in the world/on the site that knows that bit of info is very small.

It is always better to write a full-fledged answer over a partial answer or an answer-in-comments. Please take the time to do so if you feel your information is valuable.

From your comment:

...This answer is a recommendation to solve part of the problem (i.e. compromising on the race), which I thought covered ground the other answers had not covered. (emphasis mine)

Please consider posting an answer that addresses the entirety of the problem. If the additional information you add is useful and/or integral to a solution your answer will rise to the top through votes.

Your answer popped up in the review queue because it was receiving downvotes. I recommended deletion (as did others) because it didn't meet the quality standards of an answer the site would like to keep; it was incomplete and did not address the core problem of the OP. Since you seem to have had this problem a few times, please try and self-examine the methods you are using and how they clash with the expectations of the site. Drop in to chat and ask for help, or browse the Meta for explanations of good answers and quality control.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I don’t understand still. My answer was a real answer, it just didn’t rehash what was already covered. It wasn’t a case of laziness or any of the other suggested ills, just a case of trying to be additive. \$\endgroup\$ – Paul Aug 16 '18 at 22:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Paul I have added to the answer. If this doesn't help, please drop by Role-playing Games Chat and I'm sure you will find someone better than I to explain the expectations of the site :) \$\endgroup\$ – Jason_c_o Aug 16 '18 at 22:26
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You can edit answers.

If the tidbit is really a tidbit which clarifies or amplifies an existing answer, a respectful edit that adds it may be appropriate.

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