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How can one answer questions asked in SO so fast? I myself try to check if there are any new questions that I can answer, and when I do so, there are already plenty of nice answers. I do get the chance to learn more and new things, but always have been curious how can one reply so fast (within 1-5 minutes). I really appreciate SO users who try to answer questions and help us, but what method do you use to do so?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Aug 3 '09 at 19:15

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Funny that your question was also closed and moved to meta within ~50 seconds of being asked. –  Rex M Aug 3 '09 at 19:17
    
great, it does exactly what is says on the tin! –  redsquare Aug 3 '09 at 19:18
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@seg.server.fault: Well, as far as tools go, I use a browser, a keyboard, sometimes a mouse. I've been known to go so far as to use a monitor, but that's really a crutch more than a tool. –  Hilarious Comedy Pesto Aug 3 '09 at 19:25

6 Answers 6

Ideally:

  • It should be a question you already know the answer to
  • You should see it very soon after it's posted
  • You shouldn't need to find any supporting pages (checking links takes time)
  • You should be able to type pretty fast

FWIW, I don't use the RSS feeds or anything like that. I just check the newest questions page reasonably often.

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+1 Skeet. Ditto. –  Jonathan Sampson Aug 3 '09 at 19:23
    
Yep. My personal record is 53 seconds after the posting of the question. (That one is now my highest-voted answer, just because I have a basic knowledge of data structures and happened to refresh the page at the right time.) –  mmyers Aug 3 '09 at 19:29
    
@mmyers: Was that from posting to answering, or posting to accepting? My personal best for the latter is it still saying "1 minute ago" on the question when I was awarded the Big Green Tick of Goodness. –  Jon Skeet Aug 3 '09 at 19:38
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Re RSS feed: My impression is that it is way slower than the web site. –  ThomasH Aug 3 '09 at 20:02
    
No, it wasn't accepted until half an hour later (possibly because it was a negative answer). I don't think I've ever been accepted in less than three or four minutes. But I'd actually rather the asker gave time for answers to settle out before accepting, anyway. –  mmyers Aug 3 '09 at 20:04
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This explains why Skeet is at top of the chart :) –  seg.server.fault Aug 3 '09 at 20:26
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My personal best is 24 seconds after the posting of a question while doing a lab test in which I was allowed to browse the site, but I started by submitting a single sentence, so I'm not sure if that counts as cheating :) –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Mar 14 '12 at 4:36

...addiction...

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Sometimes it helps to log on at off-peak hours. There will be fewer questions, but answers will be slower too (i.e. less competition). Jeff has said that 8AM-10AM Pacific time is the busiest time--it is when nearly everyone in US/Europe is at work.

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Not only that, but if you quickly give an answer for something reasonably simple, it might stay on the front page for a while and you'll actually get more votes. –  Joel Coehoorn Aug 3 '09 at 20:16
    
Shouldn't that be a contradiction? Everybody is at work and everybody is monitoring SO for new questions? - I wish I would have time for this at work. –  Elbonian Feb 3 '11 at 17:17

...dedication...

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Depends on if English is your first language. Mine is not, so it usually takes me a few moments to write something clever. If English was my first language, I could write answers in a few seconds.

Depends on how often you hit refresh.

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The refresh button on your browser is your greatest weapon.

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