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How should we relate to an answer where that answer has already been given by a previous poster with the same or greater detail? I assume this happens because the poster failed to read previously posted answers (I was guilty of this at least once).

  • Up-vote for participating with a good answer?
  • Down-vote for wasting peoples time?
  • A comment making the poster aware of that his answer has already been given?
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    Actually, before jumping to conclusions, do note the time-stamps on the answers. It is quite common for two answers to be posted, where one answerer began research before the other answer was posted. – yydl Dec 21 '11 at 19:10
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The FAQ list says, in part:

Answers that do not fundamentally answer the question may be removed. This includes answers that are... exact duplicates of other answers

There are two ways such an answer can be removed:

  • Flag it for moderator attention indicating why.
  • Downvote it. When it has a net negative vote, there'll be a "delete" link for it (for those with sufficiently many reputation points); three "delete" votes, and it's gone.

Perhaps a better first step, though, is to comment on the answer, pointing out the duplication and allowing the answerer to edit the answer to a unique one (or delete it himself). (This can be done along with flagging the answer for moderator attention.)

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    ... or comment, pointing the duplication out to the answerer, who may delete or modify it him/herself. – Isaac Moses Dec 21 '11 at 16:53
  • @IsaacMoses, good point. I'll edit this answer to incorporate that idea. – msh210 Dec 21 '11 at 17:05
  • Thanks, but then why did y'all up-vote my question when it was addressed in the FAQ's which I failed to read?! – YDK Dec 21 '11 at 17:15
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    @YDK, I upvoted it because not reading the FAQ list (or forgetting what it says) is common and your question is good. – msh210 Dec 21 '11 at 17:18

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