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Many questions in Stack Overflow (and I'm assuming the other trilogy sites) have their answers accepted really soon, so soon I'd go as far to say too soon. I've seen questions with accepted answer that was not the best, which the asker even admits (see this question). I presume this behaviour is namely from newcomers to the site.

Allowing a question to be open for longer encourages more, and perhaps better, answers; the quality of all the answers in question would be increased as users attempt to get the most upvotes and get their answer accepted.

I'm wondering if showing a reminder to new users when they post the question, or in the FAQ, would help. It's listed as a guideline in the official trilogy FAQ, but I wonder, who ever reads that?

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See also: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/38090/… –  Ether Apr 7 '10 at 1:39
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2 Answers

I think that the 15-minute window (which was just implemented) is more than reasonable. Any more than that and it's likely to discourage people from accepting answers at all.

If a later answer turns out to be better, the asker can always change the accepted answer. And while accepted answers may discourage further (better) answers, that's not always the case. I just opened up a question tonight where the accepted answer had a SQL injection vulnerability. I added my own (correct) answer. I don't really care whether or not I get the extra 15 rep points from an accept.

The accepted answer doesn't necessarily have to be the best answer - that's what votes are for. If an answer solves the problem at hand, then I see nothing wrong with accepting it. If it's a blatantly awful answer then it will probably get downvoted and any subsequent users opening the question will clearly see that.

It was a problem when people were accepting answers after 30 seconds - that's not even enough time to read the answer most of the time - but the current 15-minute limit seems to be working pretty well; I'd say leave it the way it is for now.

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Just had this happen to me, i saw the question, then since it took me 15+ minutes to write my answer the guy asking the question had already marked it as answered before seeing mine.

This PUTS ME OFF spending to much time writing long answers for new questions because im in fear of it not even being read! So what is the point?

Instead, you should be smarter about this.

  • make AJAX requests every 5 minutes from anyone writing an answer
  • if a coder is still writing an answer, don't let it be marked as answered
  • unless the same coder spends more than 30 minutes writing an answer, and only reserve for 30 minutes per coder to stop any abuse of not letting a coder mark a question as answered

It annoys the hell out of me and i'm sure it does for others to. I would like insurance that the question won't be marked as answered until i finish at least writing my answer!

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After reaching a certain amount of reputation, you'll automatically get notifications of new answers in real-time, through Web Sockets. –  Rob W Nov 18 '12 at 17:52
    
Getting new answers doesn't help while i am concentrating on writing my own. I want to know if the asker has marked the question as answered - but i would much prefer that they can't mark it as answered while i am writing a reply! –  VBAssassin Nov 18 '12 at 19:39
    
If you don't feel motivated, don't answer. Go walk your cat, instead. –  Rosinante Nov 19 '12 at 3:06
    
If you answer just for the sake of getting points, you might be in the wrong place. Reputation should be a bonus, not the main goal. Answers remain forever, people might find it useful in minutes or within years. I get comments on answers I posted years ago and totally forgot all about them. –  Shadow Wizard Nov 19 '12 at 9:19
    
You two are missing the point here... people value it, it adds to their ego to know they answered it best and when you see someones rubbish short answer get it it's annoying more than anything. However, the main point is probably that the answer goes to the TOP! If you answered best, and an answer is already selected, how fewer people vote after seeing an answer has been selected? Also, how many more people read the answer compaired to the other answers? –  VBAssassin Nov 19 '12 at 12:20
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