I'm the author of the question in question.
I think it's clear that the question itself has value and shouldn't be deleted or modified just because it asks for a list. Given the amount of votes and views I think many folks have gotten a lot of value from it. I know I've certainly learned a lot from the answers given, and have similarly enjoyed and learned from many "list" questions on this and other SE sites.
I provided two answers because I happened to know of them (one spurred the question in the first place), but they are certainly not exhaustive. The quantity and quality of other answers show this.
Now the concern at hand. I strongly believe my two answers should be kept separate. The ONLY thing they have in common is the author. Both are valid in their own right.
From a practical point of view, all the answers are valid answers to the question. In other words, the entire answer section becomes the list. Votes naturally order the list so the best elements are at the top. Indeed in this case if I merged my answers I would be bumping my less popular item over someone else's more popular item.
If we take the "list questions must get list answers" point of view, then the votes become "which is the best list", and naturally the answers become a union of each other or a single CW answer with a higher bar to contribution. Similarly the comment section becomes a mess, since conversations about different elements are interleaved with each other. This nearly happened here.
Indeed I'd argue that the answers that are lists should be broken up.
I agree there are downsides to individual answers:
- Rep farming is a valid concern, though if you look at my profile you'll see I'm not interested in that here.
- Only one item can get green check mark, even though all may deserve one. I view that as an understandable site limitation. I suppose giving a bounty to each answer is the best thing that can be done today, if the asker can afford it.
I think these are outweighed by the positives:
- community can decide ordering of list
- multiple versions of the same entry can exist, and community decides which is better
- comments are close to what they are commenting about, forming logical threads
- contributions are easier to make
- no incentive to copy entries from other answers
- more tidy
I'll go one further. If the merge viewpoint prevails, we should be logically consistent and merge all the answers into one list. Why does list item authorship matter?