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I've lately seen a lot of people answering questions with identical or extremely similar answers. Why? Yes, some might do it order to increase the Area51 stats, but I do think it's most done to boost the personal stats.

I don't see this as a good thing, instead of having one good answer voted up, two or more answers share the upvotes. And this is not beneficial for this site...

I think adding a new answer should be done if one has another opinion or solution. Otherwise its better to add a comment to an already existing answer, or even edit an existing answer.

Thoughts?

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This is why we have the ability to vote up or down. We want to encourage good, thoughtful answers.

If the answers are identical, vote up the answer that was posted first. Encourage users to post helpful answers quickly, but don't reward someone who posts a dupe. (Referenced this post)

I think a lot of the time you can judge based on the answer's content; use that in the majority of cases.

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I agree that it isn't constructive, and is already quite prolific on Stack Overflow itself.

However, since there are no limits on answer votes per question, it shouldn't harm the previous answer's upvote rate. Although I admit it may it less clear-cut which is the best answer.

I think almost exact answer duplication falls under the general category of Gaming the System for reputation. The best approach to deal with such things is to downvote and comment. The comment will make it clear what's going on, and others will hopefully follow suit in downvoting. This shows the poster the general community's dim view on their actions, and undermines their ploy for more reputation.

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Lots of the times it boils down to people attacking questions as soon as they are asked (a good thing!). If it takes time to write an answer (good answers often do) you risk others posting within the same minute as yourself, having similar answers (an example here ;-)

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  • SO handles this case by popping a notification while you're waiting :-) – Wictor Wilen MCA MCM MVP Aug 13 '11 at 17:36
  • I noticed... But it doesnt tell you if its the same answer :) – Anders Rask Aug 13 '11 at 17:54
  • Nope, but you would check if someone already answered the same as the one you're working on. Actually this was the reason to me starting this discussion. – Wictor Wilen MCA MCM MVP Aug 13 '11 at 18:15
  • Well i've done that but often found that answer was shorter than mine with a link to relevant info somewhere else, so my argumentaion is that my answer might help more (and more than once my answer was marked answer or voted higher even though it was 2 min later). Wat im saying is its not black/white – Anders Rask Aug 13 '11 at 19:14

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