You've just spent five or ten minutes typing up an answer to someone's question here at the ranch. You click the button to submit and wait for the thread to display with your new post. Much to your surprise, someone else has already submitted an answer and it looks a lot like yours.
At this point I am usually thinking, "Do I Edit my post so it acknowledges that I agree with the other person, that I'm NOT trying to correct them?" I do not want to confuse the person who asked the question and I do not want to devalue the contribution of the one who answered before me.
What's the proper thing to do?
I can't help but think of the cliche movie scenario: Guy phones girl and has to leave a message on her answering machine but the machine cuts him off in mid-sentence. Is it worth calling again? In the movies, the guy calls over and over again and ends up looking like more of a buffoon than before.
I would usually edit my post to add something like
[I wrote this before I saw Marc's post above, which I agree with.]
at the beginning of the post. Also when looking at other people's posts, if two posts seem to be saying the same thing but not ankowledging each others' existence, I note the post times. If they are close I just assume the second poster hadn't seen the first one.
Originally posted by Jim Yingst: If they are close I just assume the second poster hadn't seen the first one.
As do I, but the person asking the question might not know to check the times. As the "second poster" I shouldn't assume that the thread creator will make such an assumption - unless of course the thread creator has, oh, 12000 or so posts to his or her name.
Thanks for the suggestion of "[I wrote this before...]" I'll use that.
I have a pet peeve that I think I'll bring up, though: don't you hate when you answer a question, then note a few days later that the thread is active again so you have a look, and find that some one, after a delay of days, has posted an answer that duplicates yours (or, worse, is similar to yours, but leaves out important details, or includes some critical mistake?) I'd love to know what motivates those folks.