I saw this question (Is there a gender-neutral word for [aunts and uncles], parents' siblings?) on the top network list. I thought it was very interesting and every answer had a useful suggestion to offer. I felt that it would be very helpful if someone could compile all of them into a single answer. So I gave this answer, with due credits and extra definitions if there weren't any in the original answers. But it got downvoted.

Are compilations of this kind not welcome on ELU?

  • 5
    I don't think an answer that like is really necessary; it just adds duplicate content. If you want to expound on an existing answer, it's best to comment on it and give a suggestion to the original answer author. It also already had an accepted answer. It's also hard to accept an answer that has 15 suggestions. Kinda defies the point of allowing for multiple answers, right?
    – Hank
    Jul 28 '17 at 13:57
  • Just to be clear (since this is your first Meta question), upvotes and downvotes in Meta express agrrement or disagreement with the expressed point of view, rather than making any judgement on the quality of a post -- despite the tooltips on the voting arrows.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Jul 29 '17 at 8:59

As @Hank comments, adding a summary just duplicates what's already on the page. Plain compilations of this type don't really help answer the question any better than simply leaving the existing answers up. If you want to improve any of the answers, you can either offer your improvement in a comment to the relevant answer, or edit the answer yourself. If you edit the answer, leave a comment as a courtesy note about your edit.

The exception is where answers have been offered in the form of comments to the question. Since comments are considered ephemeral and subject to deletion at a whim, it is an accepted practice to collate useful comment-answers into a proper answer. In this case, the recommended practice is to

  • cite the original user (e.g. @Hank),
  • link to their comment (e.g. @Hank), and
  • turn the answer into a community wiki.

You can get links to comments from the timestamp of the respective comment.

The community wiki checkbox is located beneath the textbox that appears when you first prepare or subsequently edit your answer. Note that turning an answer into a wiki isn't reversible - once it's a wiki, you can't turn it back into your answer. The main difference between answers and wikis is that an answer is intended to be an individual's contribution while a wiki is intended to be a community effort. Voting on wikis doesn't affect your rep score.

  • Voting on wikis doesn't affect your rep score. - because you don't deserve rep for other people's work. Jul 28 '17 at 16:38
  • 1
    @marcellothearcane Indeed. That follows from wikis being a community effort.
    – Lawrence
    Jul 28 '17 at 22:37
  • In theory, CW posts should be the input of several users' contributions, but on EL&U that is rarely the case. And an answer, such as Soha Farhin Pine's, (which is not a CW post) does not inspire users to make future edits or contributions. And last but not least, there are so many many objectionable suggestions it invites only downvotes.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 29 '17 at 5:35
  • On the other hand, (s)he expanded the suggestions and included information contained in the various links, so it's NOT a summary of all the answers posted. It's actually providing more detail than the original answers.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 29 '17 at 5:52
  • @Mari-LouA You're right about ELU wikis. They're mainly used to preserve useful comments as answers while at the same time avoiding the impression of wanting to profit from someone else's contributions.
    – Lawrence
    Jul 29 '17 at 6:56
  • @Mari-LouA About the OP providing expanded detail: ecen if we consider the collation to be offered with the best intentions as a form of community service, I still think the SE style is to edit the originals or comment under their posts. If there's a new piece of information that builds on other answers, then sure, go ahead and cite those other answers - I've done that myself on occasion.
    – Lawrence
    Jul 29 '17 at 7:05

The tour says "Good answers are voted up and rise to the top." If you lump all of them together, how do the best of the answers rise to the top of the list? They might all be good, but now we can't vote on them separately so they can be ordered.

The compilation of answers into one answer makes things more complicated without actually adding any value. If new answers come along or the original answers are improved (or deleted) now the compilation is out of date. As separate answers, I can sort by "oldest", "active" or "votes" which let's me easily focus on the content I want to see first (especially important when you're on the mobile site).

I think it's fine to link to (or mention) someone's answer if you want to discuss it or expand upon it in your own answer, but just copying and pasting other people's ideas (even if they are attributed) into one answer isn't useful in my opinion.

The StackPrinter app is a better way to handle creating a compilation of a question and answer.


StackPrinter is a website that pulls the main details of a given question, all its answers, comments and votes formatting them in a simple essential printable view.

(it has a bunch of other nice features as well)

  • Aha! Nice link. It could prove useful someday +1
    – NVZ
    Jul 28 '17 at 20:24

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