Sometimes I answer a question, and later see that other people who answered before me have edited their answers to roll my answer into their own. When I borrow part of someone else's answer, I always try to give that person credit, with a link to their answer. Unfortunately, not everyone does this, and only one answer can be marked as "best answer." I've also noticed that only one out of a group of similar answers will get consistently upvoted.
I also see the same thing when I'm looking at other people's answers to questions that I haven't answered. When I run across "copycat" answers in these cases, I usually look at the answer/edit times to see who gave the best answer first, then I upvote only that answer. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to determine whose answer came first, so I'm curious what other people do when voting on an answer, and what you do when someone else clearly copies your answer. To muddy things even further, there's also the possibility that the "copycat" may have inadvertently copied your answer without realizing it (i.e., they gave the problem some more thought and later added the same details to their own answer without actually reading yours).
- Does anyone else pay attention to the answer/edit times when upvoting an answer that is similar to another answer? (And how do you decide which came first, when the "fuzzy-time" is the same?)
- How deep should one bother to look when trying to look into copycats? (Just edit times, or also look at revision histories?)
- If you suspect someone of copying a critical part of your answer and rolling it into their own answer, should you then copy some part of their answer and roll it into yours, so that yours doesn't look less complete?
- If there are many similar/identical answers, should we upvote just one of them, all of the ones that were posted within roughly same "fuzzy-time," or all of them?