As the title states, I'm looking for some clarity on what to do with answers to puzzles that

  1. have been already answered and
  2. are answered years later.

Specifically this puzzle popped up in my "Review Queue." I hid the answer and wrote a (I believe, respectful) reply to the answerer. So...

  • Is this the right approach?
  • Should I flag it to be deleted?
  • I noticed there were other late replies that were left untouched, so should I have just left it alone? (And just ignore them in the future)
  • Should I be consistent (hide the answer, comment to the answerer, flag, if that's what I end up doing) for ALL of the late replies, especially the ones that don't offer anything new, to avoid appearing biased against just one person?

I don't want to discourage anyone from participating in this community, but these sorts of answers seem like they should be deleted to avoid clutter. I just fairly recently received the "power" to edit posts, so I don't want to abuse the power/be a jerk/be unwelcoming, so help/clarification is appreciated!


1 Answer 1


Puzzling.SE is a little different than other StackExchange sites in this regard, because we generally expect there to be only one demonstrably correct answer.

If a new answer is posted much later and doesn't supply anything new (a better explanation, new insight, a different way of looking at the solution, etc.), then my opinion is that it should be flagged for deletion. It's basically just a copy of an existing answer, so unless it offers some improvement over the existing answer, there's no reason for it to be there.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Agreed about PSE being different than other communities! Specifically, PSE has a more welcoming community than say SO (which is where I came from) so my concern is keeping that welcoming community. How would you define "much later?" I'd think, for what you said above, unless the same answer was posted in a relative short time (i.e. before a page refresh) it should probably be deleted? $\endgroup$ Feb 3, 2019 at 21:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Greg Yes, generally we give a little leeway for those who might have already been composing answers when the first one was posted (minutes, or maybe hours for especially involved answers). Beyond that, it is generally assumed that someone has (or should have) seen the existing answers, and shouldn't be posting a duplicate. $\endgroup$ Feb 4, 2019 at 18:03
  • $\begingroup$ Got it. Your clarification was basically what I was thinking. I'll use my best judgement going forward. $\endgroup$ Feb 4, 2019 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ My father recently came up with an unspecifically-defined puzzle which could have infinitely many solutions, year after year. His intended solution is beautiful so i alluded to a spectrum from puzzles with purely one inevitable solution ranging to puzzles broad with at least one beaut among possible others. $\endgroup$
    – humn
    Feb 16, 2019 at 0:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @humn I think with a puzzle like that, that has one especially beautiful answer among many, it should be relatively simple to add something to the puzzle that validates the beautiful answer while invalidating all the rest. Perhaps some sort of cryptic reference to the solution that can only be understood after solving, but only applies to that one particular solution? $\endgroup$ Feb 19, 2019 at 17:02

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