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The Voting Guidelines suggest, albeit obliquely, that a reply to SoPW which adds nothing to earlier replies (as measured by timestamp - hereafter 'duplicates in thread'), should receive neither ++ or -- votes.

I would argue that instead the guideline for voting to such a node should reflect the following additional criteria:

(Update: I am referring to posts which appear to make absolutely no effort to improve on another similar reply - e.g. just a one line repeat of the same code and end of reply where the earlier reply had more effort behind it.)

1) If the time difference between a logical duplicate and the predecessors it regurgitates is less than an hour, one might reasonably judge that it was typed in before its author was aware of the existence of duplicate information/technique and treat it the same way as its predecessor(s) for voting purposes.

2) The guidelines should advise both posters and voters to gain at least an overview of an entire thread before posting or voting and that, if duplication is observed, voters should also pay attention to the timestamps. If more than two hours elapsed between a node and its logical duplicate, the later posting (unless there are other signs of it having adding value) can reasonably be assumed to be an act of plagiarism and be safely downvoted accordingly.

3) That a grey area exists where posting of duplicate information took place between about 1 and 2 hours of another which might be caused either by unforeseen delays between starting and completing the post or might indeed be plagiarism. The existing guidelines appear to cover this last area, but they lump cases 1 and 2 along with it and could do with a bit more clarity (IMO).

It appears to me that many monks already apply 1 and 2 as 'unwritten rules' - perhaps unwritten because it takes quite a few words to spell it out. Although as a quick guideline, this could be summarised as something like 'take timestamp into consideration when voting on duplicate replies that don't add value'

Update: Given that about two-thirds voted against this node and a third for, in a consistent pattern. Then obviously the smaller group must be right ;).

One world, one people

In reply to In support of downvoting plagiarism by anonymized user 468275

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