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When I was reviewing the Late answers on Stack Overflow I "failed" on the following audit question:

Audit question

Which happened to be just a copy and paste of the of the accepted and well-received answer

Accepted answer

My question:

During the reviewing the late answers, should we open the question on a new page and compare it to the other answers?

If this is really needed why doesn't Stack Overflow show other answers along with the question to make it easier to review?

  • This looks like SO specific question and should probably be asked in meta.stackoverflow.com – Suraj Rao Aug 25 '18 at 10:13
  • as you reposted this on MSO, would you mind deleting it here? – rene Aug 25 '18 at 11:26
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    I don't think this applies only to SO. It seems like a possibility on all sites which run review audits. – user392547 Aug 25 '18 at 13:10
  • @Rob Vadorequest's comment is on the accepted answer, which was not visible at all on the audit question and I could not see it. Also, during the audit, you don't see any downvotes. It's modified on purpose. The only way to notice that the answer was copied from another answer was to open that question on the new page. – L_J Aug 25 '18 at 14:55
  • Yes, but like Vadorequest I know it's not the correct solution - I don't need to: visit, see downvotes, or anything else - all I have to do is downvote. IF I don't know (whether I choose to visit or not) I can choose to skip. The fail is whatever you did do (which you don't explain). The audit teaches "Don't do that". --- BTW: I get review audits and 'the other harder to spot audits' fairly often, I think I only failed my first one and never another one since. They want you to be careful since you are getting credits for doing the audits and they affect the operation of the website. – Rob Aug 25 '18 at 15:24
  • Well, the answer you and Vadorequest know "is not the correct solution" is accepted and has 10 - upvotes, 0 - downvotes. My action which you could see from the first link provided on the question was No Action Needed. Which I believe was the correct judgment unless I find out that it was copied from another (successful) answer. – L_J Aug 25 '18 at 15:42
  • That's the trap. It doesn't matter if it's accepted, awarded bounty or has 1000's of upvotes - What matters - as a reviewer - is what would you do. You could have flagged it as not an answer (though upon review that might not be accepted it probably would have got you through the audit). You could have downvoted regardless of seeing anything else or not and that would have almost certainly passed the audit. You could have chosen [Skip] because you didn't know, but instead you chose "I Know!" but you didn't - and you got caught. Don't know when you don't, it's no help. – Rob Aug 25 '18 at 16:20
  • @L_J: Looking at the audit carefully, it does seem to be for a now-deleted post that is an exact duplicate of a different answer. So you should have downvoted and probably flagged for mod attention. – Nathan Tuggy Aug 26 '18 at 2:28
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If you are going to give a positive review (No Action Needed or vote up) then yes, you need to check other answers to make sure that it is not plagiarized. In this case it is also worth to check other answers from the poster to make sure that they don't copy their own answers from other questions instead of closing as duplicate.

If you are going to give a negative review then there is no need to check other answers. When you see a post like "I am having same problem, have you resolved it?" you don't need to look at anything else to make a decision, you just vote down and flag it.

And there is no need to check other answers if you are going to skip (note There is no shame in using “Skip”).


In my experience vast majority posts in Late Answers review are (unfortunately, but probably naturally) worth negative review or skip and because of that it is convenient that review page shows just one answer under review.

In rare cases when I intend to give positive review - yes, I open the question in separate page to check for more details. Since it happens infrequently, it's not a big deal.

And even if review page would show other answers, this still wouldn't suffice for positive review because as mentioned above, in these cases I also check other answers posted by this user to make sure that they don't copy their posts instead of closing as duplicate.


Summing up, to me it would probably be less convenient overall if review page would be cluttered by other answers.

| improve this answer | |
  • as a side note, readers who doubt if it's necessary to check whether poster copied their answer to many questions, this is such a common issue that there is even a dedicated system flag for it: "Any time you post answers which are exact duplicates of each other, the Community user will automatically raise a flag for moderator attention..." – gnat Aug 26 '18 at 9:54
  • Just curious. I've seen newbies do it, but why are why using comments to add a side note? I realise that meta.se is a little different to the main sites, but comments are still ephemeral and, the way I understand it, shouldn't be used to supply important information (aka, answers, supplementary info for questions, etc). I would think that your side note is actually quite important and belongs in the answer. – robinCTS Aug 26 '18 at 15:13
  • @robinCTS my initial draft of this answer had this note inlined in text but when reviewing it I felt like it is distracting from more important points, that's why I decided to keep it a bit away. After all it looks only natural to check other answers from the poster to make sure there are no copies, and many experienced reviewers are aware that such copying is relatively widespread, so this note is merely to clarify some minor things for some small part of answer readers. – gnat Aug 26 '18 at 15:23
  • My standard technique is to add it in a footnote, usually separated by a line, and inside a <sup></sup>, or <sub></sub> tag. As for the "small part", I'll have to trust you on that ;-) – robinCTS Aug 26 '18 at 15:31
  • yeah @robinCTS footnote with sup tag is just what I tried. First I tried it at the very bottom (where footnotes naturally belong) but it was a disaster because it muddied the important summary. Next I tried it at the bottom of the second sub-section and it looked tolerable but still felt a bit off, like taking up too much space to cover a point that is too minor, so in the end I decided to push it out into the comment. BTW it's not the first time I use this trick since although footnotes usually do the job fine, it still sometimes happens to be not good enough – gnat Aug 26 '18 at 15:39
  • It works better if, instead of using a line to break up your sections like you have, you instead use linebreak, linebreak, and <br>linebreak to break up the sections, and reserve the line for just before the footnote. – robinCTS Aug 26 '18 at 15:48
  • @robinCTS I feel hesitant about using linebreak after having experienced some editors removing it. To me personally it often looks better than hr but it feels like many readers dislike it, so I stick with hr because it's safer (less chances to get it edited out) – gnat Aug 26 '18 at 16:06
  • Interesting. I mainly stick to Firefox/Safari so I'm oblivious to that issue ;-) EDIT Oops, didn't realise you're talking about an editor! Then it becomes a non issue doing so in Stack Exchange, especially with a WYSIWYG live preview. – robinCTS Aug 26 '18 at 16:22
  • @robinCTS although you said it was a mistake, your "erroneous" explanation helped me understand why some disliked my use of linebreaks: they may just prefer formatting to be more "portable" – gnat Aug 26 '18 at 16:33

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