This question is only related to this question, but the context of the question is different than my suggestion.
I also found, understand and agree with this related question. But again the motivation and proposal are different.
Stackoverflow is (as I read and understand) an evolving 'hybrid' between a Q&A site and a forum, even adding chat-possibility's to elaborate and collaborate on (more advanced, specific or not-so-clear-cut) questions.
Editing and improving (and aftercare as in: cleaning up your answers/solutions/explanations and even comments for future reference) is not frowned upon, yet even desirable and officially encouraged.
The 'problem' I see is this:
When the question is 'hot' (by which I mean that the asker has just asked the question, is online and waiting for answers, and answerers/participants are actively working on or often even collaborating), the USE of stackoverflow often tips the balance to a 'hybrid' chat.
Yet the non-linearity (due to encouraged revisions and such) and both party's not interactively 'knowing' what the other is 'doing'/reading, makes the second main-purpose (solving the askers problem) of stackoverflow a lot less productive for both party's:
- if askers do not know if an answerer is posting/editing/revising their answer/comment
(if they knew there is a revision/answer/comment coming up and they are more likely to stay around and participate in solving their question, instead of loosing patients, doing something else, forgetting about their question and ultimately get a higher solve and acceptance rate)
- answerers/participants do not know if/when their (updated) answer/comment was displayed to the asker.
(complicating the process of updating/editing their questions/comments while knowing/predicting what info probably was read by the asker)
A possible solution/improvement:
Although I think my suggestion is already relative clear by now, I'll try to outline it more clearly.
Thinking of information-exchange on a need-to-know basis is not only 'good programming' but a pretty good logic in general.
So while respecting and maintaining the current intended policy (of answerers not knowing when/who or how much 'colleagues' are working on the question, as to not 'demotivate' possible better answers which should lead to more quality answers), I see no good reason not to implement such a useful update to stackoverflow(-like sites).
So: askers should be interactively aware if there is activity on their question, answerers need to know if askers read their posts. Currently new posts/updates flash orange one time at fresh display. One could use this as a hook for starters, but it would be even better if there was a 'button' askers could check that they read that comment/answer/update.
One could even think crudely of it like this: like in msn, where you see the other is typing, and like on some other chat/message systems where you can see if 'the user has read your last message'. These examples (in my opinion) also confirms this behaviour confirms to known and expected 'human behaviour', especially improving interactivity.
Thank you for taking the time to read and evaluate my suggestion and it's motivation. I know it's my first post but I really did my best make it a decent and properly motivated one.