You just posted an answer to a new question, you just saw that someone else has posted an answer. You submit anyway. Yours and his are very similar. No one else is answering and the question is getting low views.

Do you experience a Mexican standoff if you're not upvoting the other guy, or do you give the other guy an upvote for a good answer?

  • 19
    I get that all the time - but I didn't realise Jon was Mexican ;-p Commented Oct 16, 2009 at 11:49
  • 1
    I hear the theme music to A Fistful of Dollars. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/9730/… Commented Oct 16, 2009 at 12:46
  • 9
    +1 for having a Mexican standoff in Iceland
    – squillman
    Commented Oct 16, 2009 at 19:33
  • 6
    Icelandic standoffs are resolved very quickly because both parties know they'll be frozen solid if they don't move in the next five seconds.
    – mmyers
    Commented Oct 16, 2009 at 20:58
  • dup of meta.stackexchange.com/questions/31513/…?
    – Rosinante
    Commented Dec 16, 2009 at 17:42
  • 1
    How can this be a dupe of a question that came a month and a half later?
    – mmyers
    Commented Dec 16, 2009 at 18:16

8 Answers 8


I tend to give the other person an up-vote if their answer is well worded and more detailed then mine. In the latter case I will delete mine, in other cases I will leave mine anyway if it adds something the other users answer doesn't have.

However there are times where the answer is so good I would edit it to include my information and remove mine completely.

If you give a good answer, whether I answered or not I will up-vote someone, and the same rule applies to down-votes.

  • 11
    The other guy could feel the same way about your answer and you would end up with two deleted answers. Commented Oct 16, 2009 at 11:01
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    Definitely. I tend to wait a few minutes before doing this. I have found it is rare for others to follow the same method, and you learn who does. I know for a fact Joel does for example. Commented Oct 16, 2009 at 11:08
  • @Diago: Ditto, same sentiment as yours
    – o.k.w
    Commented Oct 16, 2009 at 11:12
  • 3
    I usually add a comment to his answer saying that his answer is better and offering to delete mine. I wait a few minutes and then I delete my answer and just upvote his. It seems the best thing to do.
    – alex
    Commented Oct 16, 2009 at 11:39

I'm usually not the fastest gun in the West and someone else has already replied to the question. Often I go "yeah that's a good answer" and upvote, then a few minutes later I realize that the answer was incomplete and I can improve on it, so I post an answer of my own. Now I'm all irritated that I already gave the other guy an upvote and he'll probably not give me one... and I'll get even more irritated if the OP decides to accept his answer because it was first or higher ranked, even if mine is better!

So lately I've postponed voting on answers until I decide whether or not I'm going to reply myself. For questions that I've submitted an answer to, I wait a while before voting on any of the other answers, although I usually will eventually (especially if my answer already has the most votes and/or has been accepted). I don't like shorting others the rep that they deserve.

  • I think I went through a similar stage of opinions. Sounds sensible to me.
    – Noldorin
    Commented Oct 16, 2009 at 20:35
  • 1
    Heh, I just noticed that this question is another example of where I voted first, answered later :)
    – Ether
    Commented Oct 16, 2009 at 20:44

This case happened to me this morning. The phrasing of the other answer looked better: I just deleted mine and upvoted the other.

  • 12
    I had written a similar answer to this one, so I deleted mine and upvoted you :)
    – perbert
    Commented Oct 16, 2009 at 13:02

I add a confusing negative comment to the other guys post, and then flag it as offensive. I then edit my post to include any good information he has, and:

  • Add bullets and make some stuff bold.

The edit hopefully brings traffic, including some newbies to upvote me due to the other guys negative comment. Do about 30 of these an hour and you're into some serious rep dude!


I'm kidding.

I said I'm kidding!

  • 3
    You forgot the downvote.
    – Rosinante
    Commented Dec 16, 2009 at 17:15

I tend to try to draw attention to the question by editing it to make it better. Or I'll make my post, leave out some major part, and add it back in with an edit after the 5 minutes are elasped. I don't willy-nilly edit questions, but I do edit them to make them better, and I'm not going to lie, if I have an answer in the thread, it probably means I hope to net 1 or 2 upvotes each time I revisit the question.

I have about a 40% success rate I'd say, which is a non-trivial amount, given the number of answers I have.

No, I don't vote the other guys' answer up if I believe my answer is superior; but by the same token if his is superior, I'll vote it up in a heartbeat.

  • Do you vote the other guy's answer up if both answers say much the same thing? Commented Oct 16, 2009 at 12:35
  • 1
    @Dominic Depends; if I was there first, yes. If not, I'll go for making mine more complete. I have yet to see two answers that are nearly identical -- sometimes people think they say the same things, but really one answer is more expansive and better to look at. I try to make that my answer. Commented Oct 16, 2009 at 13:11
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    If somebody else can post an answer as good as mine, don't they deserve an upvote? :-) Commented Oct 16, 2009 at 14:13

I upvote all good answers, to encourage more of the same.


If someone else posts a good answer, I'll vote for it. If it's entirely better than mine, I'll delete mine. If it's about the same, I'll upvote and leave mine, and leave it to the masses or the original asker to decide whose is better. If the other has some particular nugget I'm missing, I'll edit in the nugget and credit the other person.

The goal, in other words, is to end up with a good answer. It is much more important to have at least one good answer than to have only one good answer, and far more important than to farm the most rep.

I wish people would stop whinging about the rep they aren't getting in cases like this.


If the other's answer is good, it gets an upvote. I consider upvoting on other people's responses completely separate from whether or not I answer a question.

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