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I saw this question that the user had self-answered by editing the question.

I pointed out that they should really answer the question. I know they wouldn't be able to straight away, but I assumed they'd tried and got the "you need to wait a bit" prompt. However, what I didn't realise was that the message says:

Oops! Your answer couldn't be submitted because: Users with less than 100 reputation can't answer their own question for 8 hours after asking. You may self-answer in 7 hours. Until then please use comments, or edit your question instead

(my bold).

Should we really be suggesting that people put the answer in the question even as a temporary measure?

What's the next step for this?

Is there any agreement that this phrase should be removed? If there is how do I turn it into a feature request without asking a new question? Should I just ask a new question which is a feature request?

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+1 for "even as a temporary measure" - most people edit it in and then forget to convert the edit to an answer later (especially if they have to wait hours to do so). –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Dec 1 '11 at 10:47
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Oh and I experienced the same thing here: stackoverflow.com/questions/8329890/… –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Dec 1 '11 at 10:49
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2 Answers

In the past, users have used answers as though this was a threaded forum, posting an "answer" like:

Thanks Bobby, I tried that but it still doesn't work. By the way, this is on a Windows ME system if that might be relevant.

or:

The second suggestion looks more helpful I will try it when I get home tonight.

or:

Fantastic, very helpful, it works now!! Love this site!!

This sort of stuff, which is not an answer at all, should be an edit to the question or a comment on an answer (or split accordingly, I've seen "answers" that reply to several other answers as well as "clarifying" something in the question to the opposite of what it first appeared to be.)

Perhaps we should reword the error as follows:

Oops! Your answer couldn't be submitted because: Users with less than 100 reputation can't answer their own question for 8 hours after asking. You may self-answer in 7 hours.

  • If you want to reply to an answer, please use comments.
  • If you want to add more information, please edit your question.
  • If you have discovered your answer independently, please wait and add an answer when you can.

And possibly

If you want to indicate that another answer is helpful, please vote it up by clicking the arrow to the left of it. If you want to indicate that a particular answer is the most helpful and has solved your problem, please accept it by clicking the hollow checkmark to the left of it.

Although that might be kind of Wall of Text and get ignored.

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Makes me wonder if there's any data on how long a message can be before users quit reading it. –  mmyers Dec 1 '11 at 14:35
    
I agree that this is the information we need to present, but also agree that it is heading into wall of text territory (if it's not there already!). –  ChrisF Dec 1 '11 at 14:38
    
@ChrisF does bulleting help? –  Kate Gregory Dec 1 '11 at 14:42
    
Yes. However, the basic problem is that there is a lot of information we need to present as (as you've pointed out) there are a lot of reasons why someone would be trying to post an answer. Therefore it's always going to have an element of "wall of text". –  ChrisF Dec 1 '11 at 14:44
    
@mmyers They're going to find out, one system message at a time –  Michael Mrozek Dec 1 '11 at 15:28
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I think your emphasize is wrong:

Oops! Your answer couldn't be submitted because: Users with less than 100 reputation can't answer their own question for 8 hours after asking. You may self-answer in 7 hours. Until then please use comments, or edit your question instead

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You know - I missed the "Until then" - however, if they do edit the question there's nothing to remind them to come back and post an answer later so we still have the problem of questions including the answer. –  ChrisF Dec 1 '11 at 10:28
    
@ChrisF: Well, if they forget you can still remind them by commenting on the question. If they check their questions it will also show up as an unanswered question. I'm not sure if there's a need to remind people about something. Implementing an own mechanism for that seems overkill. –  Time Traveling Bobby Dec 1 '11 at 10:32
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I agree that implementing a reminder mechanism is overkill. I just think we shouldn't be suggesting what is really the wrong course of action even as a temporary measure. –  ChrisF Dec 1 '11 at 10:35
    
@ChrisF: I don't think it is a wrong as a temporary measure. If the question was already answered, that's at least a way to let people know that, so that they that any effort they put into an answer will most likely be unnecessary. –  Time Traveling Bobby Dec 1 '11 at 10:39
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