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In this question Bertrand's answer is better because he linked to a blog post from an upstream developer with much better information.

I think my answer got top voted because I happened to post first and he came along later with a better answer. What's the desired behavior here, should I nick the information from his answer into mine since it's already at the top or do we just encourage people to vote my answer down and his up?

9

The Stack Exchange engine is designed to be editable so that questions and answers can be improved over time. I think the most useful solution depends on whether a later answer contains both better information and is complete.

In this case, the best answer would appear to be a combination of what you provided (the short summary) and what Bertrand Lorentz provided (a link to more detail and alternatives). I have sometimes edited my answers to include information posted by others which I think is okay as long as the information is attributed. I generally try to edit my answer to work in a link to the other answer. (I also vote up those answers if I can so the users will get some points.)

Short answer: I think you should edit your answer to reference the information provided by Bertrand.

7

First, upvote the more detailed answer.

If your answer is accepted, you can comment on the question to alert the OP that you believe there's an answer which probably helps them more, and that they should change the acceptance. Even if the OP doesn't do this, that comment is left pointing later readers to the other answer.

I don't believe there needs to be a single all-encompassing answer for every question. This is part of the point of Stack Exchange: multiple answers represent multiple viewpoints or possibilities. (As this answer varies from the previous answer, for example.)

With this in mind, I'd generally rather let the other answer stand on its own rather than edit mine — though, of course, if it points out how my answer is wrong, I'll correct or delete my post. However, particularly for questions that have 5-6 or more answers, I'll certainly add a comment or edit my answer to point out the other answer.

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