I asked a question on MO and it now has three correct answers, all more or less using the same strategy and similar to each other. If I accept all of them, do they all get the reputation they deserve?

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    $\begingroup$ MO allows only one answer per question to be "accepted". Thus you need to decide. $\endgroup$ – Stefan Kohl Sep 17 '13 at 20:07

As others have stated, you cannot accept more than one answer.

Don't worry about reputation too much, I think almost no one cares if they get 15 points more or 15 points less than others.

Accept the answer you like most, and if they all look the same to you go by some arbitrary rule to break ties like the chronologically first answer, the answer with highest vote, etc.

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    $\begingroup$ +1 for "Don't worry about reputation too much, I think almost no one cares if they get 15 points more or 15 points less than others." I'm not sure whether that's true in practice, but I hope it is. $\endgroup$ – Mark Meckes Sep 18 '13 at 7:27
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    $\begingroup$ "I think almost no one cares if they get 15 points more or 15 points less than others." You'd be surprised how much people care about internet points. $\endgroup$ – Alex Becker Sep 20 '13 at 5:54

In absence of good reasons to prefer one answer, sometimes people choose the first given one, and leaves some nice comment to the others.

(Look e.g. here: I was honored to have the same example as George Lowther, even with the same notation, one minute later).

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    $\begingroup$ Do you have evidence to support the assertion that "usually people choose the first given one"? I could just as easily assert that people usually choose the one with the highest reputation, so as to curry favor with the bigwigs; or that people usually choose the one with the lowest reputation, to reward the one most needing the points; and so on. One example is not enough to support "usually". $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Sep 18 '13 at 0:09
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    $\begingroup$ I have observed it in almost all cases when two ore more answer are very similar, cases which are not that frequent however. But yes, I had the feeling that "usually" was too strong claim. MOre reasonable is "sometimes". $\endgroup$ – Pietro Majer Sep 18 '13 at 6:03
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    $\begingroup$ On purely anecdotal grounds, my experience is that indeed the first one given often wins the big points prize. (This effect seems much more pronounced over at MSE, which I've been spending time at recently, and which seems insane by comparison -- people constantly racing to be the first respondent, and with never-ceasing questions continually descending like snowflakes from the sky. It's really a mess over there!) $\endgroup$ – Todd Trimble Sep 18 '13 at 16:54
  • $\begingroup$ My experience is that often if one of similar answers posted at a similar time gets an early one-point lead because of some random fluctuation, it is likely that people will continue to vote it up and it will get eventually accepted, presumably because it appears on the top of the page and people read it first. This is irrespective of which answer was actually given first. $\endgroup$ – Emil Jeřábek Sep 19 '13 at 15:31

Since you can't accept more than one answer, a common method to approximate fairness is to accept one, and vote up the other correct answers. One person will get 5 more points than the others.

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    $\begingroup$ That's weird, why are people downvoting this? $\endgroup$ – Scott Morrison Sep 17 '13 at 23:09
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    $\begingroup$ @ScottMorrison Maybe to increase the difference to 10? $\endgroup$ – Andrés E. Caicedo Sep 17 '13 at 23:55
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    $\begingroup$ My guess is that people don't like the downvoting suggestion. But I'm not sure. $\endgroup$ – Todd Trimble Sep 18 '13 at 0:01
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    $\begingroup$ @AndresCaicedo, voting on meta has no reputation effect. $\endgroup$ – Scott Morrison Sep 18 '13 at 0:03
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    $\begingroup$ @ScottMorrison Which is both true, and a non sequitur. $\endgroup$ – Andrés E. Caicedo Sep 18 '13 at 0:09
  • $\begingroup$ @AndresCaicedo, I'm confused: wasn't your suggestion that people might be downvoting to increase the difference in the points that the two answerers might receive to 10, and I replied that they couldn't change that difference, because it would always be zero? $\endgroup$ – Scott Morrison Sep 18 '13 at 0:11
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    $\begingroup$ @ScottMorrison Not seriously, the difference in this case is in score, not in reputation. Seriously, the proposal of downvoting a correct answer is absurd. $\endgroup$ – Andrés E. Caicedo Sep 18 '13 at 0:13
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    $\begingroup$ Can one of the mods please delete this suggestion (instead of merely rephrasing it as absurd) so that it does not come across as officially-approved? $\endgroup$ – Vidit Nanda Sep 18 '13 at 3:06
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    $\begingroup$ It is not just that the suggestion of downvoting seems mean. To me, anyway, the problem here is that reputation is meant to be a broadly aggregated guide to community feeling, and some fun, and both of those purposes are damaged when it becomes a target for manipulation. $\endgroup$ – Colin McLarty Sep 18 '13 at 12:04
  • $\begingroup$ @ColinMcLarty I do not understand your comment. The intent of the suggestion seems to be to distribute reputation points in as fait a manner as possible. (Equal answer should receive equal credit, yet one 'must' be accepted, hence this suggestion.) So, on a reputation scale this suggestion in my mind tries to precisely minimize the 'manipulation' intrinsic to the fact that sometimes there is no one best answer and still one should be marked as such and get some then perhaps unfair bonus over the others. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Sep 18 '13 at 21:45
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    $\begingroup$ But, I would say an issue with this suggestion is that answers score should reflect community approval of an answer (while accept refelcts OP's opinion), and the score gets somehow biased in this way. Since this biasing the score is relatively stronger, I think it is more of a problem and thus do not consider the suggestion as very good but rather think voting and accepting should be done rather independently. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Sep 18 '13 at 21:45
  • $\begingroup$ There also is an equality/efficiency tradeoff. We might think it is good that good answers are rewarded and that people should get equal reputation for equal contributions. If we think the former aspect is more important, we might reject this suggestion (even after the edit). $\endgroup$ – Michael Greinecker Sep 19 '13 at 9:30
  • $\begingroup$ Carnahan's proposal doesn't even suggest downvoting the accepted answer; it suggests upvoting the other answers. $\endgroup$ – Adam P. Goucher Sep 19 '13 at 9:41
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    $\begingroup$ @quid Yes the intent of the suggestion is to enable posters to distribute reputation in what the poster deems a fair manner. But I think the intent of the system is to aggregate the community feeling in some uniform way, giving the poster's view more weight than others but not as much weight as the suggested procedure would. $\endgroup$ – Colin McLarty Sep 19 '13 at 13:58
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    $\begingroup$ @ColinMcLarty but in my mind in the suggested procedure the porster's view has rather less weight than it could/does have in a more standard situation. Suppose the suggestion would have been: "just upvote all the (good/equivalent) answers and accept none" [which is a way some take I think in some situations, especially in CW; and would not unreasonale in my opinion as there is no urgent need for accepting an answer, though it typically should be done] Would this also be giving more weight to posters view than the intent of the system. (Current sugg is approx to this, while still accepting) $\endgroup$ – user9072 Sep 19 '13 at 20:07

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