An interesting point. It does ultimately boil down to whether the node is clearly front-page worthy -- if so, then one should not be penalized for answering first. In this case, there was nothing expecially noteworthy about these nodes (not saying they shouldn't have been front-paged, just not overwhelming front-page candidates). Also, the users involved were rather new, so I didn't think that potential cost of front-paging and being the first replier would have been a relevant dissuasion here.
Off-Topic: Heh, I've also heard the argument made that we should let big SUVs drive in the HOV lanes instead of hybrids because they use much more gas sitting in traffic than hybrids. Pick your poison -- smog or smug.