Since 2 weeks or so I am trying to follow Stack Overflow more frequently.

However, I am not an expert in an area. Therefore, I usually answer to questions that are quite easy. Those questions usually have fast answers and I give up if I see another answer with the same content (even if that answer is poorly constructed).

In the last answers I gave I usually see someone repeating my answer OR edited answer after I give my answer. Why people do that? And what should be done in these cases?

  • If it's close in time, they probably just were a bit slower typing, so that's nothing to worry about. Apr 2, 2012 at 13:05
  • We are talking about 7-10 minutes. And, when you receive a new answer usually stackoverflow warns you in the top. I know that because one time I was elaborating an answer and stackoverflow provided that info and I stoped my answer.
    – Tiago
    Apr 2, 2012 at 13:08
  • Yeah, was kinda the same case. I understand that it is possible and nothing is "legaly" wrong. But morally it is wrong. Shouldn't exist some mechanism to fight it?
    – Tiago
    Apr 2, 2012 at 13:27

1 Answer 1


Why people do that?

Because they can. This is one of the strengths of StackOverflow over traditional forums - one can correct a post and expand on it.

In regards to why someone is repeating an answer - they may have posted at the same time as you and did not see your answer. It is possible that they have seen your answer and think they have a better one (better phrased, better explanation or example/s etc...).

Both of the above reasons are valid and normal.

what should be done in these cases?

Nothing. This is how the system was designed to work.

  • 1
    So, I can answer a question like: Just add a String on your variable. And then when I see a better answer I can edit mine so it can be close to the other answer? I know the system was designed to act like this, but I belive that multiple answers will only confuse the person who made the question. Should I worry about that?
    – Tiago
    Apr 2, 2012 at 13:12
  • @Tiago - Yes, you can answer like that, but shouldn't. You should improve your question where possible to make it as good as possible. Don't worry about confusing the asker.
    – Oded
    Apr 2, 2012 at 13:14
  • stackoverflow.com/questions/30290880/rename-a-column-in-mysql/… is a good example of the issue presented. Timestamps are far enough apart that the repeat answerers should've seen the accepted answer.
    – Noel Yap
    Mar 28, 2021 at 3:16

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