I heard it is possible to gain huge reputation on StackOverflow without knowing anything. All you do is just piggy-back on other user's answers.

Is there any way to categorically determine if someone is not using any of their own thoughts, and just stealing?


  1. Answering questions in wildly divergent categories.
  2. Blatantly using copy/paste of other users answers.

Are there any other curious behaviours that indicate someone might just be stealing their answers?

as an after

please see https://stackoverflow.com/questions/1413151/set-timer-for-return-value/1413160#1413160

  • 2
    Reword your question more clearly before I accidentally catch your city's nearby forests on fire. – Welbog Sep 11 '09 at 19:42
  • I think we should play nice, i have have had my aggr discussions before, and this was a purely disc question – Adriaan Stander Sep 11 '09 at 19:44
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    Your gibberish means nothing to me. The amount of information you're conveying is like a tree falling over. The only thing I can tell is that you have an input device and an Internet connection. – Welbog Sep 11 '09 at 19:47
  • Must say that your methods of helping others seems simple – Adriaan Stander Sep 11 '09 at 19:48
  • I am not here to question your ways, only those that i have found to previously have ridden on my answers, it was merely a question – Adriaan Stander Sep 11 '09 at 19:50
  • Bold does not make you clear, it seems like you our loud. I asked a question... – Adriaan Stander Sep 11 '09 at 19:52
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    You asked a question poorly. You seem to be able to understand me. I'm asking you to ask your question in a better way. I want to understand you, because you seem like a new form of intelligent life. I am called Welbog. I come from Earth. What is your planet like? Mine has lots of forests on fire by now. – Welbog Sep 11 '09 at 19:54
  • That's to bad, leave the humans to destroy all they touch... Are you sure you should be in charge, or should you maybe report to the dog in charge of things??? – Adriaan Stander Sep 11 '09 at 20:01
  • @astander: that would be me. – devinb Sep 11 '09 at 20:09
  • @devinb: I have no idea how you decoded that random walk. – Welbog Sep 11 '09 at 20:27
  • @welbog: one word at a time. – devinb Sep 11 '09 at 20:28
  • It does seem like you completely rewrote it. Are you sure you got what astander meant? – Welbog Sep 11 '09 at 20:30
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    Dankie ouens, ek wardeer baie dat jul hierdie gesprek saam met ons kon voer. Ek glo dat van hier af, dinge baie meer gemaklik sal gaan, en dat indien wel julle besluit om weer so maklik te val vir buiten sporige aannames, dit tot jul voordeel sal tel, dankie devinb... – Adriaan Stander Sep 11 '09 at 20:36
  • @astander: I'm going to have to send that to my South African friend for translation. But you're very welcome. – devinb Sep 11 '09 at 20:42
  • Ek dog jy se jy kom van suid afrika? gaan jy die rugby kyk more? – Adriaan Stander Sep 11 '09 at 21:16

you can make some nice "profits" on SO by piggy riding

I continue to be amazed at how people seem to treat reputation like currency. The community is pretty good at seeing when two people have answered the question the same due to FGITW or whether it is someone trying to game unneccessary reputation.

In the latter case by ignoring the second answer and NOT voting for it their will be no rep gain and the user will stop doing it soon enough.

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    Often times, smart thieves can just reword their answer and not 'appear' to be stealing at all. Especially on meta where you can make the same suggestion using different words. Or in my case, the same suggestion with extra dazzling wit and intelligence. – devinb Sep 11 '09 at 20:14
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    Thank you for helping my spelling/grammer. I am afrikaans from south africa, and have trouble spelling, as i have not yet seen the spelling editor, but that (from any lang) does not make us a lesser developer. All i wanted to know was, do anybody feel the same. thanx all the same. Adriaan – Adriaan Stander Sep 11 '09 at 20:17

If by piggy-backing the answer produced is the clearest most concise answer then I'm for it. And if the piggy-backer doesn't produce the "best" answer, it will be voted accordingly.

Net effect, better quality answers on SO; at the cost of missing out on a couple of up votes.

If it gets to the point where it is that much of a problem (A Stacker Stalker) notify the SO team.

  • A Stander??? Stacker??? – Adriaan Stander Sep 11 '09 at 20:20
  • @astander - Stacker is what SO users are called. I updated the answer with links – Gavin Miller Sep 11 '09 at 20:30

Usually when they've posted similar answers several minutes after someone else has already posted theirs, if the wording is similar, or the links to any references are the same. Or they keep updating their answer with other users answers.

Random categories don't really mean anything, it could just mean they have experience in many different areas.


There used to be a way to determine this easily, but that has changed since the SCITE problem was introduced with the newly modified sort order for answers with the same number of votes (it used to be by time submitted, but now it's random).

Of course you can still check the times the answers were submitted and compare them, but most users will neglect to do this.

Vote here if want it changed back!

  • 3
    (-1) Your answer is spam. Your answer consists entirely of complaining about an issue which already has it's own thread. – devinb Sep 11 '09 at 21:13
  • @devinb - Spam? Really? If the ordering system were reverted, this entire thread would be useless because the problem wouldn't exist. I believe that makes this entirely relevant to post here. – John Rasch Sep 12 '09 at 0:36

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