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I've noticed users with higher reputations get their answers upvoted over others, even if they provide the same or very similar answer. Why is their answer any more correct than another?

I would suggest that perhaps similar/same answers should be "collapsed" and upvotes credited to the original (chronologically) answer. Thoughts?

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So this was upvoted on multiple threads (see: Related), but I've been downvoted 5 times? – AJ. Jan 21 '10 at 20:44
Meta voting is a fickle beast, very non-deterministic. – Lance Roberts Jan 21 '10 at 20:46
+1 At last, the truth. – AJ. Jan 21 '10 at 20:52
Could it simply be because we are more awesome? :D – Ether Jan 21 '10 at 23:44
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Personally, I try to make my answers stand out. Technically I provide the same answer as a lot of others, but I try to add more information, links, or something else to make it stand out.

For instance:

These are all basically the same answer, but the differences are in the quality you provide.

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Thanks for not taking the "sounds too hard" route with this. And for providing examples. – AJ. Jan 21 '10 at 20:24

How you answer is as important as what you say in your answer.

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All the collapsing would have to be done manually, and in a lot of cases, there is slightly different information, so a lot of judgement calls would have to be made on whether two answers are the same or not.

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@Lance, isn't that called "moderating"? – AJ. Jan 21 '10 at 20:15
@AJ, yes, but that level of moderating would be a huge increase in the amount of work required – Lance Roberts Jan 21 '10 at 20:19
@AJ - considering all moderators are volunteers, possible with jobs and stuff in the real world, it's a lot to ask of them - as there will be a lot of "collapsing" to do. And if you get it wrong there'd be flak - I wouldn't like to do it. – ChrisF Jan 21 '10 at 20:20

I could see that this would get ignored in a hurry. There's no decent systematic approach to this, the coding would be quite complex.

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I would suggest that perhaps similar/same answers should be "collapsed" and upvotes credited to the original (chronologically) answer.

I suggest that if you post an answer and find that someone else has already posted one that's the same or very similar, you either improve yours to make it stand out, or delete it.

I also suggest that if you're reading a question and find two answers that are effectively the same, you down-vote the one posted later.

You can do this on your own or with friends; no special tools or moderator intervention needed!

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