I am wondering what is expected of someone who feels that a contributor has added an answer that is very similar to at least one other answer in the same post. (I may not be able to clearly summarize my thoughts here; if you feel you understand what I am trying to say then please edit my post in anyway that would make it more clear)
Scenario 1: Author of the original answer
What should I do when I see someone post an answer that is very similar to mine? (Or what should you do when you see someone post an answer that is very similar to yours?)
I wrote an answer to a question. After 1 hour, I notice that someone else has written an answer that is very similar to mine. Their answer does not add anything new to the matter. They also don't fail to address any of the points that my answer has addressed. For example, I talk about "grammaticality", "meaning", and "usage" (where the question has asked about say "difference"). Now, the new answer also talks about all those three points, nothing more or nothing less.
Now, it is possible that after seeing my answer, the contributor felt that all three points are important to talk about to fully answer the question. I can't complain about that. But if they don't have anything new to add to those three points, then I wonder why they are writing a new answer at all. They should just upvote the existing answer or add comments if they think I should clarify or add something. Is it acceptable to the ELL community that someone reiterates the same message with different phrasing? What if the phrasing is a little better though (if that is the case, they could edit the original answer)?
Scenario 2: Just browsing through the questions
Now imagine you are not involved in that post or thread in anyway. You just happen to notice that a contributor has written an answer that is very similar to an existing answer (you can check the time the answers were posted). Their answer adds nothing new to the issue at hand. The new answer may or may not be phrased in a neater way. What do you do? Comment?
What should I do as the original author or as just someone browsing the questions?
- Slam my keyboard.
- Comment: "How is your answer any different than mine or the existing answer?"
- Flag for moderator attention (but I don't want to bother them): "Look, look, cheater ..."
- Downvote their answer (but then they will downvote the other answer or my answer).
- Ignore and do nothing.
- Recognize that they too thought of the exact same points and did not piggyback on the existing answer. In which case, upvote their answer.
- ... (add other options)