The tour page that captures the essence of the Q&A format of Stack Exchange rather well contains two very important sentences about answers. The first being:
This site is all about getting answers. It's not a discussion forum. There's no chit-chat.
This is why it we try to keep focus on the sites. Questions that are off-topic are closed and there is a flag option to mark answers as Not an Answer. There's also a network-wide policy to edit out the pleasantries, salutations and tag lines that find their way into the posts. This emphasizes the focus on good content in good answers.
The second line is this:
Good answers are voted up and rise to the top.
This is also a very good point that makes a good site and gives a good orientation for readers of the answer of it's worth. Good answers rise to the top. There's just one caveat for that on our site:
Over fifty percent of our questions have exactly one answer. There won't be any rising there.
Are there questions that are sufficiently and completely answered with one answer? Certainly. Questions asking for a yes or no can often be answered definitively. For some other questions that might apply as well. A lot of our questions however ask for solutions of certain problems. As everyone knows, most problems have lots of solutions.
We have as of now ...
- ... 218 open questions with exactly one answer
- ... 87 of said questions have no accepted answer
- ... 20 open questions without any answer at all
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that those 218 answers or even the 87 are bad. On the contrary, 159 of those 218 answers are rated five or higher.
What I'm saying is that there are no alternative answers were might be very good alternatives to the presented approaches and solutions. It's always good to have alternatives.
Thus, I'm calling for alternative answers on our zero-to-two-answer-questions to give our readers some options to weigh between and to give more answers the ability to actually rise to the top.
What's in it for you, you ask?
The great feeling of giving some company to a very lonely answer, of sharing some of your knowledge, of increasing this site's quality an answer at a time and of making the world a better place! :)
Besides that, you'll be rewarded with some good old Stack Exchange currency (in the form of invaluable site reputation). There's a reason Stack Exchange gives 10 reputation for an answer upvote but just five for a question.
Furthermore, I'm willing to back that up with some reputation of mine. Doubling it, actually. The first five answers, posted to a zero-to-two-answer-question that was posted before mid of June, that reach a score of five will get fifty bonus reputation via the bounty system from me. (Eligible questions)
Combined with the votes that's 100 reputation per answer!
1st bounty going out for this answer.
2nd bounty going out for this answer.