How do you view a question asking for many different answers to one problem?

As a simple example, there are many interesting ways of proving

1+2+...+n = n*(n+1)/2

and I know several. How would you view a thread asking for different proofs that the formula holds?

It seems to follow all of the rules, except perhaps

If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much.

Ps. the example might be OT, but I think my question is easy to understand.

  • $\begingroup$ Well, there are general list questions, which we don't like. We have several reference questions, which distinguish themselves by a specific educational/didactic as well as kill-many-of-the-same purpose. I guess the distinction can be difficult. $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Oct 11, 2012 at 21:50

1 Answer 1


I don't think it would be appropriate to ask for many different answers. That turns the thread into a list, and Stack Exchange doesn't do well with lists. Usually, individual items are posted as separate answers, and the answers are roughly ordered by age first, then popularity, then relevance and general interest.

It is inevitable that sometimes, there will be many solutions to a particular problem. It's ok if this happens organically (i.e. don't deliberately seek it).

If you're interested in multiple solutions matching different constraints (e.g. one that you can teach in high school, one that is amenable to formal proving, one that generalizes well to other situations, etc.), ask separate questions. Link them to each other in the question body or in comments.


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