I often see the following pattern on SO:
- question newly created
- user A thinks "oh, have a rough idea on that, have to be fast for rep"
- user B thinks "hm, lets not be too quick and give a good answer"
- user A quickly adds a very short and low quality answer
In short, often answers seem to be hurried, probably because people want the reputation by being first because most users sort by oldest for voting.
This often leads to some obscure behaviours like:
- user B still adds a 'better' answer but user A edits fast enough and still gets the upvotes
- or user B doesn't add his better answer as "user A will probably edit soon", user A doesn't edit as he is already getting upvotes and thinks "my answer seems to be good enough"
- or users don't think about adding better answers if there are already some answers present, especially if they are by high-rep users
To summarize, i often think answer quality could be better if there was a short lock on answering (e.g. 1 minute) to avoid quick shots. Would that make sense?
(Not that i'm sure about this, but i think there might be ways to improve the average answer quality)