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I got two answers to a story-identification question, pointing to the same series. And the time marked for the two answers is the very same minute. I still have to check if it is right series, (at first sight it does look so, but I'll have to do some more checking).

But when and if I am convinced both answers are correct, what should I do?

Form the time marks and the lengths of the answers it looks like both answers were typed independently. There was no way one could have been typed by copying the other one. Definitely not enough time.

What should I do?

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  • 3
    Flip a coin? Personally I always go for the one with the earlier timestamp. – Valorum Dec 18 '19 at 23:35
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    That's my problem. I'd have done that, but the time stamp is the same ! The lowest one was probably posted first, but only by a matter of seconds. Less than one minute earlier, clearly. – Alfred Dec 18 '19 at 23:38
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    If you hover over the thing that says "answered 6 hours ago" (or whatever time it is), you can see the timestamp down to the second. Occasionally two answers do come in at the exact same second, but that's extremely rare. – Rand al'Thor Dec 19 '19 at 5:57
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    For what it's worth, I think you made the right decision. – user14111 Dec 19 '19 at 7:23
  • Go through all their recent Stack Exchange activity, and judge their deeds. Then reward the nice one if you're good, the naughty one if you're evil, the pedantic one if you're lawful, or the funny one if you're chaotic. Or, if you're neutral, reward the one with fewer rep points. – Misha R Jan 28 at 8:27
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You have several options:

  • Do nothing

    As the questioner you never have an obligation to do anything with answers. When you receive any answer you can choose to comment on it, vote on it, flag it, or accept it, but you don’t have to do any of those. Here too you can do nothing if you so desire.

  • Upvote both and accept the better one

    Usually two answers won’t be word for word identical even when they’re giving the same answer. Perhaps one answer has more details about the story, or one answer makes a better case for why it is the correct identification.

  • Accept whichever one came first

    It is unlikely that both answers will have the same timestamp down to the exact second.

  • Any other arbitrary/random method of deciding

    Let’s see how creative you are.

  • Accept one and bounty the other

    See above for how to decide which to do for which.

In short, you can do whatever you want as long as you don’t violate any of the site’s rules.

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  • Makes me wonder if it's possible to award a bounty to an answer with deleted user/hidden author. – Clockwork Dec 20 '19 at 11:05
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    In this case if the answers are of exactly equal quality, I would accept the answer of the user with the lowest reputation as they need reputation more. – CJ Dennis Dec 24 '19 at 11:17
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    "Do nothing" is the worst option: it leaves the question with answers but unresolved, although the OP knows that it's resolved. – Ruslan Dec 30 '19 at 8:34
  • Two answers with identical timestamps: english.stackexchange.com/questions/19975/how-is-e-g-pluralized – Martha Dec 31 '19 at 0:31
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Paulie_D's answer was earlier by 11 seconds (22:58:11 vs. 22:58:22).

Assuming you feel that the two answers are of otherwise equal quality, I'd suggest you reward the one that was sooner.

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    Well, for 11 measly seconds, when clearly DavidW was in the process of typing when Paulie_D posted hers ? I'll try and find some difference of quality (though that looks hard to find) – Alfred Dec 18 '19 at 23:45
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    @Alfred - That would be my advice. Work out which is the better answer, then rely on the timestamp if nothing comes to you. – Valorum Dec 19 '19 at 0:00
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    @Alfred - 11 seconds is still earlier. As my granny used to say, if you're not first, you're not first. – Valorum Dec 19 '19 at 0:02
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    @Valorum A wise man once said "if you ain't first, you're last!". – Möoz Dec 19 '19 at 4:30
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    The edited answer of DavidW was of better quality. – Alfred Dec 19 '19 at 7:44
  • Well then, there you go! If you're unsure which to accept, it often helps to wait to see if either answer is edited to make it better than the other one. – V2Blast Dec 27 '19 at 21:27

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