Often I see a question (without an answer) where I can construct part of an answer that would be potentially useful to the question asked. However I've noticed from questions I've ask on other sites that once a question has an answer associated, it's less likely to get a second answer. This is only really the case for difficult questions/questions that require some work to answer.

So, this suggests that to get the best answer to a question I shouldn't post a partial answer. Then the risk is that the question never gets answered at all. Which is the best path?


Yes. Add it and explain in the starting paragraph that it doesn't answer the question in its entirety, so others realize there might be something to add to the whole thread and are not discouraged in posting their own answers. We're not supposed to encourage this, but a partial and still helpful answer is surely better than none. And sometimes, different answers can complement each other, especially on slightly broader questions. Go for it. ;)

And if you find any comments helpful under questions that don't have posted answers, you have my blessing (not that you need it, it's just a figure of speech) to reuse them in your answer, no matter whose they are. Comments are supposed to be transient in nature, serve to resolve issues with posts they're made under, and not answer the questions. But it does happen that sometimes their posters want to help the author of the question out, and later don't find the time for a full write-up. Don't consider any comments as territorial marks, our goal is to provide as complete as possible answer, not links to external resources or hints to what proper answers might look like. And flag any no longer needed comments as obsolete once you're done, so some moderator clears them and they don't steal attention from the Q&A.

  • $\begingroup$ It seems like it might be good practice to include the details from other peoples answers in your own (if you post an answer to a question already answered). That way each sequential answer would be an improvement on the last. $\endgroup$ – ThePlanMan Jun 5 '14 at 20:03

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