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Recently, I was attempting to answer this question, and I didn't notice part of it. I could not figure out the real solution that skv wanted, and I asked others, like d'alar'cop, for help in the comments. Now, we never did find out the answer, but it got me thinking. If we had solved the puzzle, I wouldn't feel great as d'alar'cop had helped me immensely, yet he would get no reputation, which brings me to my original question.

Would it be possible for multiple people to gain reputation from one answer?

This feature would be especially useful on sites like this, PPCG, or even other sites. I know I would feel cheated out of some rep if I had contributed to an answer, and gotten no credit. Maybe there would be some way to allow both people to get an equal share of the rep. I don't know if this could be regulated well, as there would have to be proof of their collaboration and consent by both sides.

I am not sure if this has been mentioned on Puzzling meta or even StackExchange meta, as I couldn't find this topic on either of them. If it has been, just link the question and I will delete/edit this accordingly.

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Keeping in mind that reputation isn't a score of how many puzzles you've solved, reputation-providing actions should not simply be given to the person who solves the puzzle first or provides the most information (in fact, in many cases the answer doesn't need to contain a solution). Reputation is a number that signifies good answers, not puzzle solving skills; as such, it doesn't matter who thought of the solution first. However, if you want to credit someone else in your answer, do so. Nothing is stopping you from lauding the problem solving skills of another, but reputation isn't the only way to do that.

The user who asked the question should accept the answer that they feel is best. That doesn't have a well-defined meaning; it depends on the user. I consider that a pro and a con of the SE model. If your answer is considered better it should be accepted, even if you didn't know what to say until you have read the other's answer.

Voting is a whole different kettle of fish: every user can vote for or against every answer. With this in mind, if you think one person provided a clear answer with meaningful information, vote it up! If people do this, even the non-accepted answers will gain reputation.

It seems from this SE meta post and this Puzzling meta post that partial solutions are acceptable if they make significant progress toward an answer. If the contributing user wants reputation, they can post their progress as an answer. All you can do is trust that that answer will awarded appropriately.

So if you write an answer that is inspired by another answer, upvote that other answer. On the other hand, don't take from another answer unless you can add a decent amount of information or word it in a clearer or otherwise "better" way.

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't know if you understand my question... The other person did not answer the question, he just helped me in the comments. I don't think upvoting his comment gives him rep (I might be wrong about this), and there is no other way for him to be recognized for his contribution. Now, if it was two different answers that helped each other, then I agree with you. skv did this in the question I made this post about, except he even gave me a +50 bounty on it as my answer assisted the accepted one. And even still, d'alar'cop didn't get any rep from this bounty, unfairly. $\endgroup$ – mdc32 Nov 4 '14 at 21:55
  • $\begingroup$ I have addressed that in my edits. In summary: if a user has made significant progress and wants reputation, they should post an answer. Other than that, they don't "deserve" SE reputation. Of course, in the real world, you can and should acknowledge the people that help you form your answer. $\endgroup$ – TheRubberDuck Nov 5 '14 at 3:25
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. I just wanted some clarification by someone else, because I felt bad receiving all the rep for an answer that he helped me with. This makes sense though - if the change is big enough, the person should post their own answer anyway. $\endgroup$ – mdc32 Nov 5 '14 at 4:30
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I think you should not take these points to seriously you get from votes. The main thing is to have fun reading and writing these posts and to get good questions and answers. Sharing points would make things rather difficult. The number of points received for a question may not be divisible in the way needed, people may disagree on the importance of there contribution. If you think that other people could and should improve your post you can make it "community wiki".

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    $\begingroup$ This post wasn't a complaint about helping people and not receiving rep; it was actually the exact opposite. I was helped by someone in the comments, and I think it's unfair to him as he got no rep whatsoever from it. And just as a sidenote, the amount of points not being evenly divisible is the last problem I can think of; the geniuses behind StackExchange in general can probably handle this well. $\endgroup$ – mdc32 Nov 3 '14 at 23:17
  • $\begingroup$ My post wasn't about such a complaint. Therefore my proposal for a solution was to change a post to community wiki. $\endgroup$ – miracle173 Nov 3 '14 at 23:23
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    $\begingroup$ "community Wiki is designed to be used where an answer is subject to significant community collaboration" (meta.puzzling.stackexchange.com/questions/1338/…) It isn't necessarily community collaboration. It's more just specific people and not the entire community, like 2 or 3 people collaborating on one answer. $\endgroup$ – mdc32 Nov 4 '14 at 0:16

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