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I (idealmachine) was answering and sent in my answer. OK, so someone (driis) beat me by 5 seconds. However, I checked back a couple minutes later and I saw:

answered 6 mins ago / Gumbo♦ / 88.2k 7 68 131
answered 5 mins ago / driis / 15.3k 1 21 58
answered 5 mins ago / idealmachine / 384 6

I hadn't seen Gumbo's answer, only driis's, yet the timestamp on his answer was earlier. Why is that?

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Gumbo may have deleted his answer while researching – Pëkka Oct 17 '10 at 17:22
People do that? – Rebecca Chernoff Oct 17 '10 at 18:35
@rchern when I realize an answer of mine is wrong, I tend to delete it. If I'm interested enough in the subject, I'll then do some research, edit the results in and un-delete. I've seen other people do the same – Pëkka Oct 17 '10 at 18:43
@Pekka, yeah, but I meant in the sense of earliest timestamp, not wrong answers. – Rebecca Chernoff Oct 17 '10 at 18:47
@rchern if you answer, delete, and undelete, your answer is still the earliest one (At least I 'm pretty sure it is) – Pëkka Oct 17 '10 at 18:48
@Pekka, yes, I know. I meant people do that as a strategy like what Hans said. – Rebecca Chernoff Oct 17 '10 at 20:08
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I think it is one of the the Fastest Gun Of The West strategies. It's better not to delete the post, it might draw some early upvotes getting you on top unless it is truly nonsense, but does guarantee an Enlightened badge if you get enough. You've got 5 minutes to edit what you banged-in quickly into some resemblance of a real answer. More if you quickly delete but then you'll miss out on early upvotes. And downvotes, which I suppose is the point.

I can't really recommend joining that game, a lot of the high rep users that have been around for a year or more are true masters at it and are quite hard to beat. The disappointment I see in the comments from other users that try to get an answer in is rather strong, especially when their answer is just as correct, merely a few minutes late.

This can be quite discouraging. Instead of hunting the 'easy questions', focus on questions that you make you research something so you'll actually learn from the effort. Knowledge gained is worth much more than a rep point.

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Interesting. Don't forget though that 10k+ users can see deleted answers so this can't be done in secret. I for one have never noticed this being done as a mass strategy – Pëkka Oct 17 '10 at 20:10
@Pekka, Deletion doesn't show up on the timeline, and once the answer is undeleted, 10K users wouldn't see that on the regular question page though right? – Rebecca Chernoff Oct 17 '10 at 21:31
@rchern correct. – Pëkka Oct 17 '10 at 21:35
It has to be within the five minute edit window though, otherwise the post shows up as edited and the history shows the delete/undelete – Michael Mrozek Oct 17 '10 at 21:46
@rchern just pointed out to me that the post actually doesn't show up as edited if it was only deleted/undeleted, even if the undelete was outside the five minute window. It shows up in the history either way, but you'd need to check manually – Michael Mrozek Oct 19 '10 at 15:36

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