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On the main site, I asked a question and got several good answers that gave me good avenues to research. Based on another meta question I did not 'accept' the first good answer that came in. This was good advice since several other good answers came in. I upvoted all the answers I thought were good but still haven't accepted any because now I have the dilemma of several equally good answers.

I noticed on a different question that someone made a 'combined' answer of several other contributors answers. They attirbuted what they got from others. Is that an appropriate way to deal with this, ie I answer my own question with the combined answer of others? That wouldn't seem fair to me.

Following the advice below (from @Fortiter), I'm summarizing what I consider the best answer and including it in the question (how's that for recursion).

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I produced a summary answer to my own question when I felt that several people had contributed parts of an ideal answer. But I accepted the individual contribution that was "best"(because to choose my own, which was not really mine, would be unethical).

In hindsight, I think I should have re-edited the question to include the summary answer as an extra piece at the top of the page. Rather than leave it dangling with no votes at the bottom.

Encouraged by some positive comments, I have now done that at How should I distinguish siblings named identically?

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  • You wrote, "re-edited the question to include the summary answer as an extra piece at the top of the page," I've also thought that might be a good approach. – GeneJ Oct 19 '12 at 18:54
  • I've edited my question to include the answer many times on Stack Overflow, and I think it's a very good practise. e.g. stackoverflow.com/questions/3419945/… – lkessler Oct 20 '12 at 3:45
  • This is a great solution and I like your wording – Jeni Oct 21 '12 at 9:18
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It's your own problem you're trying to solve. Pick the answer that gave you the spark. Upvote all the others that helped you in any way.

If you still can't decide, I would award the person who answered first.

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  • Without presuming to speak for @Duncan, I think that this is bigger than "your own problem". The underlying issue is how to maximise the continuing value of the "page" we are creating together. What practices followed by the question writer to wrap up will ensure that someone coming to SE via a search engine in the future gets the best possible answer? In circumstances where no one answer is definitive but several contain worthwhile elements, that is a real (instructional design) problem. – Fortiter Oct 20 '12 at 1:12
  • @Fortiter - No, I don't see that as being a design problem. It's only that for this particular question, the first person who answered only knew part of the solution, the 2nd person knew a bit more, the third had a tidbit to add, etc. That doesn't mean the question is bad. It only means that the expert who knew the complete answer wasn't there first or second to answer the question. – lkessler Oct 20 '12 at 3:42
  • I was not suggesting that the question was bad. But when the development process has worked itself out, the end result is several fragments of answer spread over the page in an order determined by popularity rather than conceptual or pedagogical structure. If (when) a n00b arrives via Google, will they get value from it? (And I have just read your comment on the answer above, and believe we agree on the solution.) – Fortiter Oct 20 '12 at 6:13
  • @Fortiter - I see upvotes not being for popularity, but being for good answers to the question. As a result, the answers are not in a random order, but are in a best to worst order, which is what Stack Exchange is designed to do. – lkessler Oct 20 '12 at 6:23

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