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thorninmud's avatar

What's your policy on reading prior posts before answering?

Asked by thorninmud (20476points) January 16th, 2012

You read a question and know just what you want to write in response—now, how likely are you to read the comments that have already been posted before you answer?

Do you actually have a personal policy concerning this, or is it more a matter of whether or not it’s convenient to read the prior posts? Does the nature of the question determine whether or not you read what’s been posted?

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23 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I generally don’t read the prior posts lest it influence my answer. Sometimes, however, the Asker has provided more information. I try to catch those posts.

If there are a lot of answers already, I do read the posts, because chances are I don’t need to respond, which I don’t unless I have something to add that’s not covered.

mangeons's avatar

If there aren’t that many posts and I get there relatively early, I tend to read the whole thread before answering. However, if it is a relatively long thread then I won’t bother to read every post before answering. Even if the point has been brought up before, it never hurts to get another person’s opinion.

Judi's avatar

It depends. If there are a lot of other answers I will sometime qualify that I have not read them and apologize if it’s a repeat. If I have personal antidote I might not read them because my story is unique because it’s, well, MY story. Then I try to go back and read after I have answered.
Usually, I will try to read them and if someone else gives the answer I would have I will just give them a “great answer” and move on.

HungryGuy's avatar

If there’s just a few answers, I’ll read them all. But if it’s a long thread, I’ll read the first few and last few to make sure I’m not repeating something someone just said, and I might scan quickly to catch replies from people I know I can expect funny comments from, but I won’t read every post.

Of course, in a question like this that’s basically a poll, it doesn’t matter how many responses give the same answer. That’s the whole point: to see how many people answer A vs B.

digitalimpression's avatar

My willingness to read all the posts is indirectly proportional to how many posts there are to read. This policy is subject matter independent.

JilltheTooth's avatar

i try to read all, unless it’s a poll, as I know the discussion can take all sorts of turns. Obviously I can’t keep up absolutely if it’s heated, and 8 people are posting at the same time and the Exhibitionist Awards are being passed out, but mostly I try to read ‘em all….

everephebe's avatar

That really does depend on the question. I read all the answers for this question, and agree with the folks above who indicated the number of posts does limit how much one can read. I try and read what I can and skim the rest.

However there are times where I don’t want to be overly influenced by other posters for a particular question as @marinelife said (it’s ironic that I’m agreeing with that huh?), and also there is the opposite example where I was going to post something that repeated what @thorninmud said in another thread, but then I looked up before I posted, deleted my post and gave a GA. What I was going to post wasn’t as articulate, thorough, or as accurate. True story from earlier today.

picante's avatar

I generally read (or at least scan) the posts ahead of mine. It’s one of the reasons I’m not a frequent poster—all the good stuff has already been said ;-) And if I’m confronted with the “wall of text” as it’s been labeled here, I’ll likely only touch the periphery.

wilma's avatar

I usually read all the previous answers before I answer.
The only time I might skip some is if there is some banter back and forth between a couple of people that seems to be just for them and that I am not interested in.

Lightlyseared's avatar

If you’ve read some of my answers here then you’ll know you’re lucky if I’ve read all the way to the end of the question before I post.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

It really depends..if the question is triggering to me, I won’t read some of what other people wrote and just give my response and move on.

janbb's avatar

I don’t have a policy per se; it does depend on the question. Sometimes I just want to get my response out there, sometimes I am more interested in reading the discussion first.

downtide's avatar

For me it depends on the question, and the number of answers, but usually I read them all first.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I try not to let other comments influence my answer so there are certain questions where I will answer first and read after. If the question is just a poll or more light hearted then I read first, answer second. Sometimes, if I am sure of my answer I will read the previous answers to make sure I am not just repeating what someone else said.

It should probably noted that this was one of those questions were I didn’t check the comments first so I apologise now if I have repeated what someone else has already said.

Sunny2's avatar

For me, it depends on the question and my interest in it, if what I would say has already been said, and how much time I have to stay on the site. Sometimes I read all the responses and decide I don’t want to get involved in the discussion because it has veered to a slant that was different and not as interesting as I expected.

Ayesha's avatar

Usually I read them first. But it varies for me.

mazingerz88's avatar

When I really like the question, I tend to read the first five posts thoroughly, then quickly scan the rest so I could post right away. I also look if a jelly changed avatars.

DaphneT's avatar

Well, I’ve read most of the above, but skimmed the last 5 or 6. I think that’s because I have some built in limit to what I can or want to absorb. After writing a portion of this response I started to review what’s visible above, and later before I post this I’ll probably go back and try to review all the posts.

Essentially my brain is buffered to absorb a certain amount. If the first 6 – 8 posts seem to be along the lines of what I’d say I may not post any answer. If the first 6–8 posts trigger something, then I’ll post. I’ve caught myself drumming my fingers waiting for text to come out, so I’m sure my neurocircuits are trying to process what I’ve read, and extract a sane response.

And so the preceeding paragraphs reflect the culmination of my processor’s efforts.

Moving on….

harple's avatar

I generally read them all… that’s why it’s just taken me an hour to join in on the three 10K parties today! (I really must get a life!)

augustlan's avatar

I don’t have a strict policy about it, but I usually do read all the previous responses before I post mine. I feel like I really need to know how the discussion has progressed before I can join it in a meaningful way. It’s also interesting to see everyone’s take on things.

Occasionally, I just don’t have time to read everything. When that happens, but I still want to post an answer, I generally mention that I haven’t read everything.

auntydeb's avatar

All depends on the type of question. Love it when there’s a rumble going on that I’m interested in, then all posts have to be read in order to jump into the fight. Factual Q’s I usually either read or scan all the posts, to see if the Q has been adequately answered already. If the Q requires an opinion, is a poll, or is inviting discussion then I’ll read ‘em all, then decide whether to post or not. The joy of Fluther is this freedom to read, engage, say something or just have a laugh. Great fun and a rather nice way to procrastinate.
Oh and I read all of the above before chiming in!

Coloma's avatar

I try to read them all, unless there are 250. lol
I think everyone has something to say that’s worth pondering, unless they are a pedophile. lol

auntydeb's avatar

@Coloma don’t you think a paedo might also have something ponderable to say? Human viewpoint after all, may not be ethical/popular or healthy, but…

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