(My answer is considering that this question was first asked on SO)
Is it supposed to be how fast can you
type in an answer or how well you have
answered the question?
It is supposed to be about what can help the guy who asked the question.
A "solution" might be to :
- at first, post a useful answer, that doesn't give too much details, but points to a solution
- if the guy who asked the question is good, it might point him to the right direction, and he might be able to solve the problem by himself based on the pointers you gave him (that's nice, when it happens ! )
- you might egt upvotes, for a useful answer, and be placed "at the top of the answers list"
- then, if you "quick answer / pointers" did not help enough, you can edit your answer to add more details
- this time, it should definitly help the guy the solve the problem -- or even solve it for him
- you will get more upvotes (and your answer will already be one of the first seen ; this help to get even more upvotes)
I seem to repeat peoples answers a lot
... should I then remove my answer so
as to declutter the question?
Remove your answer if it is not helpful ;-)
Up to you to judge if it was useful or not, though -- downvotes might be an indication that it was absolutly not ; upvotes would be an indication that is was.
Is the reputation on the site then
based on whether you spend your entire
day waiting for easy pickings and then
quickly typing an answer?
Yes and no :
- being one of the first to answer is good for your reputation, if your answer is good
- for some questions, there are no (good) answer even after a while (generally, this is for some tags that not many people know things about) ; in these situations, a great answer from you will probably not get you many upvotes, because not many people see those questions, or have the knowledge required to vote wisely... But it is for those questions that your knowledge is the most valuable for the guy who asked...
So, once again : think to the guy who asked the question, and not (or, at least, not only) your reputation ;-)
If you are the fourth person to answer
a question in the same way why do
people say hey you just repeated my
If I'm the fourth guy who said the same thing :
- either I'm stupid (yeah, happens) : you generally can see there were other answers, with the orange bar on top of the screen.
- and if you only want to add a pretty little bit of information to another answer, that's why comments are for -- it'll help another guy edit his (already good) answer so it's even better ;-)
- or my answer provides a couple more information (links, examples, advices, ... )
- that can happen if I saw there were other answers : I can edit my answer to provide more informations ; sometimes, building on what others said (saying some ideas are from others seems normal, in that case)
- or I took lots of time to write an answer with examples, research, and all, and it would hurt me not to post it (that sometimes happen, I have to admit)
Oh, another thing : I really often edit my answer to enhance it's presentation / correct some typos (I try to type a bit too fast, especially considering english is not my mother tongue and I almost only write in english on SO)
For instance, this is the second (I think) time I edit this answer : I've added some informations, then changed some presentation things, then re-added stuff, ...
One last thing :
- it's fun ^^
- (two last things ^^ ) : don't you learn plenty of stuff reading other answers ? If I wasn't learning anything, I wouldn't ever go on SO...
About that : couple of minutes after answering your question, I answered another one on SO : Why does this syntax work in MySQL (matching column-pairs against column-pairs)?
I guessed I provided a correct answer -- and I learned something while both reading the question, and searching for the answer : that is something I like !