Suppose a question is asked that has a single definite answer (like a math problem), and someone answers it correctly. If I come up with the same answer in a different way, would it be appropriate to post that as another answer? Would it be more appropriate to post that as a comment on the first answer?

For an over-simplified example, suppose the question is "what combination of numbers adds up to two?" and user #1 answers:

1 + 1 + 1 + 1 - 1 - 1 x 427^0 = 2

That's totally correct, but user #2 comes up with the same answer using a more elegant approach:

1 + 1 = 2

Should user #2 post a new answer?


1 Answer 1


This is a different answer, by the nature of math puzzles

First, let us look at how a math puzzle (that is, an on-topic math post, as opposed to a math problem) is defined by this site:

  • Clever or elegant solution, often an "aha" moment
  • Unexpected problem statement.
  • Unexpected or counterintuitive result.

From my experience (with the caveat that the plural of "anecdote" is not "data"), the first bullet point is the most common shared feature of math puzzles on this site. Thus, for on-topic puzzles, the method of solution is the answer as much as the final result. Clever methods are what make something a puzzle. For off-topic puzzles where the final result is all... please don't answer those, anyways.

If you have a "clever or elegant solution", especially if it is more clever or elegant than the previous answers, feel free to answer away!

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! That makes sense. And I appreciate the problem vs puzzle correction. Poor word choice on my part. $\endgroup$
    – will
    Mar 4, 2022 at 14:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @will no problem. If you have other idle questions about how the site works but don't want to go to the trouble of a full meta post, be sure to drop into chat sometime for a more relaxed environment. $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Mar 4, 2022 at 15:09
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks again! I hadn't realized there's a chat too. $\endgroup$
    – will
    Mar 4, 2022 at 21:22

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