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I found this older question on Meta that asked about duplicate answers that were posted simultaneously. This question, however, is about answers like this one that are posted on old questions, with content very similar to that of other answers but too general to be considered plagiarized. Let us look at this answer here.

You 'satiate' your hunger. A more definite way of saying 'satisfy'. 'Satisfy' seems too vague

Satiate is used in several other answers, and the notion that "'satisfy' seems too vague" is already implied in answers that don't in fact suggest the use of satisfy as a first choice (all but one answer).

Should we downvote such answers on the ground that they don't contribute anything new (and to discourage people from posting answers that others have already posted in order to increase their reputation)?

  • "Should?" ? Are we encouraged to do so?" Do what you like, but I agree that it is a poor answer that just repeats almost exactly what something somebody has already said (whether by outright plagiarism or simply not paying attention). However, it could be that the later writer is not impressed with the wording or nuance presented by the earlier. So one must judge (there's no hard and fast rule). – Mitch Jun 25 '13 at 21:27
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    The user is a newbie; if he receives a down-vote for his answer, he will NOT understand and might feel "attacked" by the community. (Of course if PM existed then one could quietly point out to him that his answer has already been posted, albeit worded differently.)This is important to avoid where possible. Should he continue to post and repeatedly rephrase a previous answer, then I would likely cast a down-vote AND explain why. – Mari-Lou A Jun 26 '13 at 4:56
  • @Mari-LouA: That seems fair. – Kaiser Octavius Jun 26 '13 at 15:11
  • @Mari-LouA: If you feel it important to explain your downvotes, by all means do so. Personally, I see no need; anyone who feels 'attacked' every time somebody finds his contributions unhelpful or unclear will either grow up or leave, and it's not up to us to say which is better. – TimLymington Jun 27 '13 at 21:14
  • @TimLymington Perhaps "attacked" is too strong a word, I used it for effect, which I shouldn't have. But speaking from personal experience, I do appreciate when someone leaves a comment explaining "why". They actually help me to focus more on the quality and accuracy of my answers. I have, at times, openly asked the community to explain the reasons for my down-votes. I see nothing wrong with that. Instead I see it as an act of maturity, responsibility and a desire to improve one's standards. Three down-votes in a row with no explanations; how does that help the OP? – Mari-Lou A Jun 27 '13 at 21:20
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Moderators sometimes protect old questions which have good answers, when they seem to be attracting new responses that don't add anything.

Providing the same information as another answer is not grounds for a downvote, at least for me. The downvote would come for more serious problems, such as failure to show research, poor writing, or plagiarism.

And if the late answer provides the same information but presents it in a way which is easier to read, I would upvote it.

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Should we downvote such answers on the ground that they don't contribute anything new (and to discourage people from posting answers that others have already posted in order to increase their reputation)?

That's a mighty strong allegation. Perhaps the O.P. was very aware that satiate and satisfy were already mentioned, but wasn't convinced that any of the answers already provided had delved into how one of those two words seemed too general and vague, while the other seemed more specific to hunger.

I've just gone through that lengthy set of answers twice, and I can't find where that point is mentioned. I think the new post adds to the conversation.

I'm not saying it's a great answer, but I think it would be rather judgemental to cast a downvote solely on a presumption that the person might only be trying to increase their reputation and hasn't appeared to add anything new.

(Besides, if a person was just trying to increase their reputation, wouldn't they answer a new question, where all the traffic is?)

Anyhow, a comment would be much more appropriate than a downvote in such cases. If you think the new answer hasn't added anything new, politely address that. That would give the user a chance to rephrase or elaborate. Perhaps the answer would be improved, or perhaps you'd be enlightened about something you had missed. That seems like a more productive response than a downvote.

  • It's usually spelled "judgmental," though "judgemental" is occasionally considered correct. – Tortoise Jul 6 '13 at 22:39

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