What usually happens on Stack Overflow is two to three people post the same answer with a 15 - 20 second gap. The first answer usually gets up voted and the rest get down voted.

But then its not their fault. So should they then delete the answer?

2 Answers 2


It's up to them to decide if they want to remove their own answers to reduce clutter. But it's not up to anyone else to make that call.

For the record, the usual behavior is that the rest of the answers sometimes get upvoted as well. I rarely ever see an answer downvoted for being a duplicate, unless it was posted like 3 years after the original answer or it was an identical copy.


It is common for the duplicate answers to each provide something different, maybe a different wording or another way of explaining the answer that will be easier to understand for different groups of users. Duplicate answers like this can have a positive impact on the site because they can provide multiple perspectives on the same idea, or offer a link to better documentation, or provide a secondary explanation that is helpful.

If you post a duplicate answer, trying to edit to add something unique or a slightly different way of explaining it.

If it is an exact duplicate (almost word for word) and you can't add anything to make it different, then it is your call, but normally, if my post wasn't first, then I'd delete it.

If you see a question with several duplicate answers, then BoltClock is correct, just let each user make up his/her own mind.

My ideas are based on duplicates posted at almost the same time. A duplicate posted 3 years after the fact is just rep farming and should be flagged or deleted if you have sufficient rep.

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