I have recently been down-voted on one of my answers and I suspect the user that down-voted it thinks I have copied content from the accepted answer, which could be a fine motive to down-vote.

However, the situation happens to be reversed, and the user who would have taken content from another answer is a much-higher ranked user than I am and has become the accepted answer by OP. I have flagged his answer as a near duplicate of mine, but I don't know if actions are taken when a question is flagged, as a new-ish user...

I don't want to point fingers or start arguments, I'm just wondering if and why this is a fair and accepted system.

Link to question and answer(s) Looking at the dates and times, the answers are clearly delayed.

To be clear: The thing that leaves a bad taste in my mouth is the possibility of down-votes from users who might, at a glance, think I am stealing the answer of a higher reputation user not necessarily the potential duplication of the answer itself.

  • \$\begingroup\$ As a side note, your answer currently stands at +10/-1. Since anyone can down vote for any reason or no reason, a single negative on an otherwise well up voted answer is basically statistical noise, which can and should be ignored. Multiple downvotes, especially combined with a low upvote count, likely indicate a problem with a question or answer. Finally, welcome to the site! \$\endgroup\$ – Joel Harmon Sep 7 '18 at 11:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Indeed, this point had previously been mentionned in the comments. Recently someone has even gone so far as to remove a downvote. As a new user it's on me to aknowledge the existence of such noise and only let it bother me if it becomes a sign of low quality question or answer. Thank you though for your involvement and welcome :) \$\endgroup\$ – Louis Sep 7 '18 at 12:16

Let the votes sort them out.

Yours and the currently accepted answer by Rubiksmoose are very similar - but there is a major difference in your final sections that is the difference maker.

The downvotes you have (of which I am not one, full disclosure), are potentially due to the opinion you end with that isn't supported. The upvotes and final selection of the other answer may be due to the extra destination and 1-way access may have been what pushed them over the top.

Duplicate answers

Ultimately, duplicate answers are okay and the community will vote to determine who laid out the argument the best. Variations in wording may be enough to decide, but there really isn't an issue with one contributor building off of another's answer (or developing one simultaneously.)

I myself have another answer that is very similar to another (and mine went up first), but that other answer has more votes. Why? maybe it's better written. Maybe it resonates more with more people? But that's for me to determine, assess, and decide if it changes how I approach my answers in the future.

Suggest Improvements vs Write Your Own

Often times, users have the choice of recommending improvements/additions/changes to existing answers or deciding that it's better to write their own. Either of those options are good choices, and the determination of which way to go is going to be personal.

But both options are legitimate, even if it feels like someone has 'stolen' your answer. Think of it more like Standing on the Shoulder of Giants :)

  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't feel particularly attacked, on the contrary, I am flattered that my answer was worth taking content of. The thing that leaves a bad taste in my mouth is the possibility of down-votes from users who might, at a glance, think I am stealing the answer of a higher reputation user. \$\endgroup\$ – Louis Aug 27 '18 at 15:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ There have even been times where someone has posted an improved version of my answer (or something similar) and starts to get more upvotes which has lead me to try to find improvements to my answer and make those. In the end the result is at least 2 answers that are better than they were before. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Aug 27 '18 at 16:33

I will leave the determination of what is correct or not to others as I obviously have a bias here, but I thought that maybe some insight into the thought-process here might help.

The reason I wrote my answer was indeed because of your answer. I saw your answer and it had good points but, to me, they were unclear and the answer could use some improvement. The logical progression also seemed to not make much sense to me. And the final factor was the line at the end which seemed both unclear and not solidly-based in rules to me. This is just my personal perception of your answer, I think it was good overall though and am not trying to slam on you.

Normally, when I can improve an answer by commenting I will do that. However, as these comments would involve shuffling around the entire logical structure of the answer and debating a potentially controversial statement at the end, I decided that it would be too much work to be able to do through comments (if you even agreed that the changes should be made). As such, I decided to write my own answer with the style and structure that I wanted and with additional emphasis on certain aspects of the question that yours did not seem to touch on.

For what it is worth, I also did not downvote.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It is reassuring to have the feedback and the reasoning of higher members of the community, especially from the other end of the answers, and I hold zero grudge over you for answering in such a similar fashion. As stated in the comment on NautArch's answer, my main fear is down-votes on me for being a lower rep user with a similar answer. But it's true that my interpretation might be what attracted down-voting, and if that is the case, so be it. Thank you for your involvement! \$\endgroup\$ – Louis Aug 27 '18 at 16:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Louis: In general, I find that trying to deduce why downvotes fall where they do to be an impossible task. Sometimes they appear for no discernable reason at all. If you are very lucky someone will explain it, but trying to figure out why can lead to madness. :) \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Aug 27 '18 at 16:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ No doubt! And I expect that when I am a more experienced and advanced user, they will simply slide by. I understand that my "new" status is obviously making me more affected by them too. \$\endgroup\$ – Louis Aug 27 '18 at 16:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Louis: Don't get me wrong, it is good especially as a new user to try to listen to what downvotes are telling you and to recognize and try to improve. However, it is also improtant to keep in mind the ratio of up:down. Right now you have 8 up and only 2 down. 1 or 2 downvotes is generally just noise-level around here. If your answer starts to tip significantly towards the negative though, it is time to really pay attention. But yeah, as a new user, being concerned about every single downvote is a phase we basically all went through. Though we do relapse into that sometimes still lol. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Aug 27 '18 at 16:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's good to understand the reasoning behind it all, and I will personally continue to try to give quality questions and answers when I have them. Thanks again for your involvement in my question! \$\endgroup\$ – Louis Aug 27 '18 at 16:18

I downvote duplicate answers if they don't add enough new material. A lot of interesting questions get bogged down by like 50 copies of what's basically just the same answer over and over, and often the 'base' answer in such cases isn't even right (in which case I downvote all of it, but I totally understand not doing that if you don't have the rep to spare).

That said, while I generally disapprove of duplicate answers, sometimes an answer that is more or less the same as an existing answer really is better enough with enough extra stuff done that it makes sense to be an answer rather than an edit, in which case I upvote the best answer and leave the similar, older answer untouched.

In this particular case, both of y'all use '365 castings' instead of 'one year's worth of castings' which is both weird and wrong, but the rest of your answers are more-or-less correct, and the question's a 5e vote mess anyways so I figured I'd just leave the whole thing alone. But in general if I agreed with your answers I would not downvote an older answer as a duplicate of a newer one.

Also I'm just one random user, but I thought my example might be helpful.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Agreed. Sidenote: Being that 365 days make up a year (even most of the time in Faerun) I thought it was pretty clear it meant "365th daily casting" and was used to specifically emphasize the fact that it was referring to the last in a year-long series of castings. So, I'm not really sure how or why it was wrong? \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Sep 4 '18 at 18:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose 365 days doesn't account for Shieldmeets, and moreover the calender of Harptos only applies to Toril and Abeir anyways. In general a 'year' is however long a year is on a given celestial body. For example, a Anadian teleportation portal takes only 30 days to create. Since the spell does not specify what sort of year to use and already involves teleportation, the question of year length is not a simple one. Do you use the place the spell is cast on or cast to? Do you use the caster's culture or calendar instead? What if the body is tidally locked? etc \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Sep 4 '18 at 18:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ fair enough. I thought that might have been your concern. Anyways, I did update my answer per this suggestion. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Sep 4 '18 at 18:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Likewise, thanks for the specification! \$\endgroup\$ – Louis Sep 5 '18 at 13:35

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