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Here is the question / answer. There are three nearly identical answers from three brand new users (Mike, Luds, Ronaldo August Vasquez) over the course of the existence of the question, two of which are from this week (one today). None of the three users has any other activity (so far). It feels like someone is either trying to load or reinforce the answer, or something just happened in the wilds of the internet and my question is getting more attention and a second variant solution, which is entirely possible.

Or, it's 3 new users who don't have access to add comments to a successful answer saying "this worked for me" and instead are posting nearly identical answers copied from each other, but hey why not ask if there is something fishy.

Note that I do accept if there is an alternate or new solution, but something seems odd about what's happening. Any moderator with a couple free minutes feel like confirming/denying my paranoia by comparing/contrasting IPs, or however else it might get done?

Of note, I've already flagged today's answer as a duplicate of the one from 2 days ago because it was, so if it's missing you'll have to roll back. Sorry for the potential inconvenience.

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So you have 2 new answers in a week and think this is spaming your question? – juergen d Mar 7 '13 at 19:36
@juergend: 3, very similar answers, all from 1 rep users. Yes, I see the pattern. – Madara Uchiha Mar 7 '13 at 19:36
@juergen : read what I wrote; I have no problem with new answers, but 3 identical answers from 3 different users, all with 1 single activity, which is to post on the question. I have not put it outside the realm of possibility of happening, and 100% accept if there's a different solution, but it tingles my paranoia sense, and I don't think I'm causing a problem by asking someone to look into it. – JoshDM Mar 7 '13 at 19:37
I wish we had more "trolling" like that. – Bart Mar 7 '13 at 19:43
I'm not sure that "trolled" is the right term ("sock-puppetted", maybe). There's no question that it's strange that three answers posted showing almost exactly the same five steps, the latter two appearing recently. – David Robinson Mar 7 '13 at 19:43
Of note, I did edit the Ronaldo Augustus Vasquez one to clean it up (it had poor grammar), and the Luds one (to clean it up), which I left even though it was similar to RAV. Then today's Mike one, pushing the Luds answer put up the paranoia red flag for me. – JoshDM Mar 7 '13 at 19:45
@DavidRobinson Without a single upvote those would be terrible sockpuppets. Sockpuppets with a conscience? :) – Bart Mar 7 '13 at 19:46
@Bart: None of those accounts have any rep, so he wouldn't be able to vote between them even if he wanted to. – David Robinson Mar 7 '13 at 19:47
I had added sock-puppetry to the title question, but what's the proper term then; trolling? – JoshDM Mar 7 '13 at 19:50
To make the sock puppets go away, All you have to do is to re-install java and close safari – Sam I am Mar 7 '13 at 19:55
@SamIam - no Sam, the whole point is that you shouldn't have to uninstall Java. – JoshDM Mar 7 '13 at 19:56
These three users are not connected at all. All three come from completely different parts of the world, in fact. – Brad Larson Mar 7 '13 at 20:24
OK, well then case closed, I guess. I'll conclude they're apparently just "new at this"; that's all I was asking for. Thank you for spending the time and effort; I appreciate it. Please post as an answer so I can select it and close this. – JoshDM Mar 7 '13 at 20:31
@JoshDM - David's answer is the one you should choose. I think he explains how it is that all three ended up looking so much alike. – Brad Larson Mar 7 '13 at 21:51
Done. burmashave – JoshDM Mar 7 '13 at 22:06
up vote 4 down vote accepted

There are indeed three answers that have incredibly similar lists of 5 items. But I have an alternative hypothesis of how it got there:

  1. The first answer was from Ronaldo Augusto Vasques, on July 26 2012. While he's a 1-rep user, he has no other activity on the site and hasn't even been seen since July. That doesn't fit the profile of a sock-puppeteer or troll at all- what on earth would he have to gain by coming back, creating new accounts, and posting new answers to his answered question?

  2. The second answer was by Luds. This contains some information that wasn't present in Ronaldo's, but- for some reason- it includes exactly the same list of 5 steps (steps 3-5 are word for word). There, the best guess is that Luds copied and pasted that list of 5 from Ronaldo, without crediting him, which is perhaps plagiarism but certainly not trolling.

  3. The third answer also gives the same list, but at least it clearly states "The steps are (borrowed from above):" and gives credit to Luds' post. Is it possible that this is Luds, come back to bolster his own answer by posting another one in support? ...possibly, but there's no evidence of that.

In any case, there's no evidence of trolling anywhere on the page.

share|improve this answer
Right; I was just in the midst of editing the question above to note that it could just be 3 new users who don't know have access to add comments to a successful answer saying "this worked for me" and instead are posting nearly identical answers copied from each other. – JoshDM Mar 7 '13 at 19:54

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