Normally I just start reading from the oldest and upvote if I find something useful.

A good example is -

How to determine a Python variable's type?

The first answer essentially says to use type(v). Short, simple, and sweet. I upvote.

Then some answers are not for me. I did not try the code. So I skip.

Some people just paraphrase what is already being told in the thread. The problem for me with these answers is that I have to read more and waste more time. I do not upvote them. I skip.

Then I find something new. For example, one answer suggests to use __class__. Hmm, something new, upvote.

Then sometimes I find something very interesting. A comment or answer that points out that one of the previous answers is not right or should not be considered as best practice. I do a little research and find out that he/she has told the truth. For example, another answer suggest not to use __class__.

Then I go to the previous question to revoke my upvote and guess what, I can't.

Then I keep reading.

By Priyansh answered Apr 9 '17 at 9:39, with 10 upvotes till date. Interesting. An upvote from me.

Simple, for python 3.4 and above

print (type(variable_name))

Python 2.7 and above

print type(variable_name)

And the next answer is by Prince Dhadwal answered Sep 28 '17 at 6:58, with seven upvotes till date.

For python2.x, use

print type(variable_name)

For python3.x, use


To me it seems like textbook plagiarism. Either he did not read the existing answers or just copy pasted the previous answer swapping the lines. And what is more interesting is that, it has seven upvotes till date. I skip without downvoting or reporting.

This is my process of upvoting answers. How do you deal with answers without proper references? How do you deal with paraphrased answers with nothing to add? How do you deal with downright plagiarized answers?

If I vote an answer instantly then I can't revoke it in the future. If I delay then I forget. What should I do to address this problem?

  • I'd say that as with most SE sites, questions asking for opinion based answers are going to be closed – IEatBagels Oct 3 '19 at 14:57
  • It can be argued that almost any question relating to human activity can be considered to be opinion based. Since humans use Stack Exchange, how can you ask questions about how one should behave on StackExchange. – Jonathan Oct 3 '19 at 15:52

Regarding plagiarism: assume good faith. I can imagine how two people could come up with two very similar answers independently, especially when they are trying to post as quickly as possible. Having said that, if you suspect plagiarism, you should flag the post for moderator attention, not just deprive it of your vote.

Regarding the main question, how to vote: there is no single correct way to vote. In the ideal world, everyone would read everything (including answers posted years later) and vote according to the tooltip text (the post is useful, clear, etc). In this world, the best answer would always be at the top. However, this is not realistic.

So consider these ideas, which some people use when voting. You might like some of them, and hate some others:

  1. If an old answer already has many votes, no need to add more. This saves you time - no need to consider whether it deserves your vote.
  2. If the question has many upvoted answers, your vote will not have a great effect; consider not voting at all.
  3. You can sometimes change the order of the answers with a particular voting pattern, even if it makes little sense when viewed with regard to each individual answer. This is important for some people; such "tactical voting" is frowned upon (but not forbidden) when one of the answers is yours.
  4. If the answer is very new (was posted minutes ago), it may be a FGITW answer - consider voting down (because you hate FGITW), voting up (if the answer is by a high-reputation user, who will surely improve it in a few minutes) or not voting (because you expect it to be edited, and cannot judge its final quality right now).
  5. A new answer to an old question may need your vote to become more visible.
  6. If you see an answer which suggests a dangerous practice, add a comment explaining what is wrong - this is much more important than voting down! You can also vote down, but some people choose not to do it because they are afraid of being seen as unwelcoming. See also a discussion here (but don't count on new features to be implemented).

These are a few ideas for voting. Not all are recommended.

  • Plagiarism can often be detected by unusual good English (or vice versa), compared to the poster's usual level. – Peter Mortensen Oct 3 '19 at 19:03

If I vote an answer instantly then I can't revoke it in the future. If I delay then I forget. What should I do to address this problem?

What about reading all the answers first, and then decide to upvote what seems useful for you?

Regarding to "delay and forget" you can also make an offline list in Notepad or any text editor of your choice.

You can work with that putting links to the answers you read, and mark your very first choice to up- or downvote.

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