I'm not suggesting we game the system, but one of the Area 51 metrics that will be evaluated at the end of the beta is the answer ratio described as:

2.5 answers per question is good, only 1 answer per question is worrying. In a healthy site, questions receive multiple answers and the best answer is voted to the top.

The intent seems clear, but the metric seems to encourage adding answers to questions that only have one answer even if that answer is probably the best answer. Should we just leave these alone or should we add additional answers when we see valid alternative answers that may not be the best answer, but by their existence help others understand what the alternatives are and why they are not the preferred answer?

Example 1

3 Answers 3


We should add answers when we feel that adding an answer contributes to the next person who will come along to view the question. Consider if you can add a comment to the existing answer, but if not, add another answer. It certainly won't hurt anything.

This is exactly what Jeff and the SOIS team would have of us by my reading and understanding. If we can prevent one more duplicate because of innate knowledge being transcribed, then we have one more user with our answers.


I guess here on this site considerable portions of the questions, has no single best answer.

While only a single answer can be chosen as accepted answer, all answers have a fair chance to be upvoted and to add to the answerers reputation.

As some of the database are very similar in some aspects, even hints to the small variations are instructive and help to find new solutions.


If your answer is different from the existing answers, please post it. Don't worry about whether it is better or not, just about whether it is useful. A different answer can be useful to others. You may feel that it is not the best answer, but even so, future visitors may benefit from considering alternatives to what the OP or the community consider the best answer.

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