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I tried to choose a answer for a question on SA and someone immediately answered with the correct response. I try to click the check box and it says wait 2 min. I keep clicking until it changes from 2 min to 1 min. I wait 60 seconds on my watch and click again and it says please wait 59 seconds.

The 2 minute mark should have said 3 and the 1 minute mark was really 2.

It seems that this has escalated to hours, which is a lot more inconvenient than 59 seconds.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Hypothesis

I'm pretty sure the issue is that above 60 seconds the system only shows the minutes left, and truncates the seconds.

So when it shows "You can accept an answer in 8 minutes" then it's really saying, "You can accept an answer in 8:xx minutes:seconds where seconds ranges from 0 to 59"

So on the transition from 2 minutes remaining to 1 minute remaining, as displayed, you actually are changing from 2:00 to 1:59, and thus still have over 1 minute remaining.

Test

Well, a test question I just tried shows this behavior:

http://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/45826/test-question-please-avoid-upvoting-will-be-defenestrated-in-15-minutes/45828#45828

It is deleted, but 10k and admins can see it for debugging purposes should they decide to make a change.

Results

Here's my time stamped comment log:

"You can accept an answer in 2 minutes" – Pollyanna 3 mins ago edit
"You can accept an answer in 1 minute" – Pollyanna 2 mins ago edit
"You can accept an answer in 59 seconds" – Pollyanna 1 min ago edit

Which clearly shows this behavior

Conclusion

Programmers, being picky as they are, should probably be given a more precise notice:

  • Round up and change the wording to "You can accept an answer in about 2 minutes"
  • Get rid of the seconds countdown altogether (or, alternately, only round up if more than 59 seconds)

This would result in the following comment log:

"You can accept an answer in about 3 minutes" – Pollyanna 3 mins ago edit
"You can accept an answer in about 2 minutes" – Pollyanna 2 mins ago edit
"You can accept an answer in about 1 minute" – Pollyanna 1 min ago edit

Or

"You can accept an answer in about 3 minutes" – Pollyanna 3 mins ago edit
"You can accept an answer in about 2 minutes" – Pollyanna 2 mins ago edit
"You can accept an answer in about 59 seconds" – Pollyanna 1 min ago edit

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2  
How do you know everything!??! HOW??!? –  jmfsg Apr 7 '10 at 20:17
2  
@Downvoter - I was written by Jon Skeet. Sadly, I can't not know everything. And there are truly some things I wish I didn't know. –  Adam Davis Apr 7 '10 at 20:17
2  
I just asked Jeff, he said Pi is exactly 3. –  Jon Seigel Apr 7 '10 at 20:18
1  
Hurray, I did a science project! Now where's that poster-board and green marker... –  Adam Davis Apr 7 '10 at 20:32

If only the minutes are displayed, are you sure you didn't miss the 3:00 event and caught the 2:59 instead?

There is the alternative of just coming back more than 3 minutes later...

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