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Under the covers packstack is running puppet. So if you're familiar with puppet and when you chance something in puppet it works like that.

If you're not familiar I'll try to explain. Every time packstack runs it will try to apply each of the values for the configurations that you give it. So packstack will cycle through each host and check each configuration. If it's all ready there it will just verify it's correct. If it's not correct or missing it will be updated to match what configuration is expected.

So in the case of the one update you have changed (install swift to y) Packstack has run and not installed swift when you run it again with the updated value packstack will run again and go through and check that keystone, horizon, glance, cinder, etc, etc all have the values that it's already set for their configuration files. It will then come to swift, see that it's not installed or configured. Install and configure it, then continue to validate that anything it hasn't checked yet is correct.

In short packstack using the --answer-file option is an idempotent operation. running it over and over with the same values in the answer file will net result no change.

Hope this helps