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So I answered a question no less than 15 minutes since it was asked, 2 hours later a guy (with reputation 70 times greater than mine) added an answer which is identical to mine (of course with different expressions) and soon he started to get UpVotes !!! still my answer with 0 upVote!!

Question: Do the users verify the content or the reps before upVoting/downVoting an answer ?

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migrated from meta.stackoverflow.com Oct 10 '14 at 8:05

This question came from our discussion, support, and feature requests site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

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    $\begingroup$ Maybe there are subtle differences to the answers which makes their answer better? Without a concrete example, this is pure speculation. Also, you can't know how/why individual users vote, but of course an answer by a somewhat popular user will more easily attract votes than one by a new or normal user; simply due to the fact that there are probably people following the activity RSS feed of the high-rep user, and there are probably no such followers in your case. $\endgroup$ – l4mpi Oct 10 '14 at 7:27
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    $\begingroup$ Is this about this question on Math SE ? In that case, maybe your question is better suited for their Meta. $\endgroup$ – S.L. Barth Oct 10 '14 at 7:29
  • $\begingroup$ yes @S.L.Barth it's Math SE and sorry I didn't know that there is a Meta for each SE :/ $\endgroup$ – chouaib Oct 10 '14 at 7:34
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    $\begingroup$ Ok, so for starters the other answer has a score of exactly one - that's by no means a significant deviation. Second, at a very quick glance the math in the answers is similar but not "identical". But even if it would be, a huge difference from your answer is that it's much more descriptive. Yours contains a few formulas and three half-sentences, the other one contains way more text and seems to do a much better job at actually explaining the solution. So IMO it's no surprise that the other answer got would attract more upvotes, regardless of the rep of the user posting it. $\endgroup$ – l4mpi Oct 10 '14 at 7:51
  • $\begingroup$ It can't be that question, there is only one vote so far. $\endgroup$ – Jeffrey Kemp Oct 10 '14 at 7:53
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    $\begingroup$ My guess is that Matthew effect manifests here on math.SE. The questions is whether there is some way to find out experimentally, whether it is really true and how big is the influence. (And I think that this happens also on meta, maybe sometimes people are hesitant to downvote an answer from a renowned users, despite the fact that downvotes on meta are different and they don't carry reputation.) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Oct 10 '14 at 8:27
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    $\begingroup$ If you are referring to that question about matrix, even the other answer is similar to yours, it is easier to understand. For those who don't know about this stuff, the presentation is very important. As a result, the other answer is easier to get an upvote. When you post an answer, the questioner will get notified. This very first vote is likely casted by the questioner him/herself. $\endgroup$ – achille hui Oct 10 '14 at 10:08
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    $\begingroup$ +1 for Math.SE is certainly not immune to this effect. I'm not sure how much can be done about it though. Posting more answers is a self-corrective mechanism. Its operation has a fair amount of lag, but I'm not sure much can be done about that either. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Oct 10 '14 at 11:38
  • $\begingroup$ I have seen this many times when a relatively new user score < 100 answer first but within minutes the top 5% rep users (guessing here) come in and answer in a more MSE style answer and gets the points (even I with a score <3k have had this happen with me the beneficiary). I look at all answers because I am usual interested in the question itself and vote fairly. Always remember everyone starts at 1 or 101 ;). $\endgroup$ – Chinny84 Oct 10 '14 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ wise words @Chinny84 everyone starts at zero $\endgroup$ – chouaib Oct 11 '14 at 1:19
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For my voting, they are definitely related through particularly well written answers causing upvotes which cause reputation.

Given two answers that convey the same technical information, I prefer the one I consider clearer. Often, the clearer, better written answer is from the higher reputation user.

In at least one of the tags I follow, I often have the experience of deciding to upvote an answer because of its quality before I see the author's name, and not being in the least surprised when I see it was written by a particular high-reputation user who is very knowledgeable in that area and a good writer.

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If you use this site for a while, you begin to recognize certain users and to trust what they have to say based on great answers they've posted in the past. Those users are typically trusted by other users as well and they get a lot of votes (and thus have high reputation). They've earned the respect and trust of the community through their great contributions. While your answer may have contained roughly the same content, other users clearly felt that the answer from a more trusted source deserved to be a bit higher up the page

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    $\begingroup$ While your answer is no doubt correct, I'm not sure whether you are agreeing that this practice is defensible. Personally I think not - this site will work best if every answer is voted up/down solely based on its content, not on the relative reputation of the answerers. $\endgroup$ – Jeffrey Kemp Oct 10 '14 at 7:52
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    $\begingroup$ @Jeffery: It seems to me that the point is not the reputation of the answerer. It's the answerer. There are people whom you'll vote without reading their answers in great details, because you know that they know what they're talking about; whereas an answer from a newcomer will be treated with more attention, since you have no idea who they are, and can't trust anything they say without verifying it. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Oct 10 '14 at 10:05
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    $\begingroup$ @Asaf Knowing what you're talking about doesn't prevent one from making mistakes, unfortunately. Ever since one of my answers to a simple linear algebra question was upvoted to +8 even though it was, in retrospect, obviously completely wrong (and I don't even have that much rep), I started paying much more attention to the answers even of high rep users. $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Oct 10 '14 at 11:20
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    $\begingroup$ @Najib: Not saying it's right, but it is true. You'll be more likely to trust me telling you that the axiom of choice is needed for some construction in mathematics, rather than a physicist telling you the same thing. Why? Because you know that I spent the last few years researching around the axiom of choice, and the physicist wasn't (else he would be a mathematician). Even if I was wrong and the physicist was right, you'll be more inclined to trust my answer. The same goes here. It's not about points, it's about unquantified reputation. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Oct 10 '14 at 11:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Asaf Yes, I don't disagree with that. $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Oct 10 '14 at 11:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Najib: Then you're not wrong! :-) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Oct 10 '14 at 12:14
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila Regarding your first comment in this answer, something which I often (but not always) do is read all the answers available to me at the time or read none at all, partially to avoid this situation in which I could easily up vote a trusted user and ignore an unknown one. $\endgroup$ – Git Gud Oct 10 '14 at 14:10

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