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To remove the problem of fastest typer getting more rep points out of a question, how about locking the answers for the first 2 minutes i.e. anybody can post an answer but it will not appear in the page until the question itself is 2 minutes old. I am sure the OP will not have too many problems with the 2 minute delay. It will allow people to write more thoughtful answers than just quickly typing some short answers. What is your opinion about it?

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I think that's actually quite a good idea. But I raise it to 5 minutes. –  Colin Mackay Jul 18 '09 at 18:52
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The only people who have a problem with Fastest Gun In The West are those who do not possess the fast gun. –  TheTXI Jul 18 '09 at 19:46
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-3 - So, lets slow down the time it takes people to get good answers to their questions??? Its a QUESTION AND ANSWER website. –  jjnguy Jul 18 '09 at 22:56
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fast answers ? yes, good answers? never (with the fastest gun in the west principle) –  jAndy Feb 2 '11 at 14:08
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5 Answers

up vote 29 down vote accepted

For the 1,000th time...

FASTEST GUN IN THE WEST IS NOT A PROBLEM

If someone is the quickest to post an answer and it is the CORRECT answer, then you just did the OP a service by giving them an extremely fast answer.

If someone posts a quick answer and it stinks, there is no reason for it to be upvoted (and it would likely be downvoted for being horrible), which means that another more correct answer will move to the top of the list.

Fast and Correct are NOT mutually exclusive. Some people are able to post good answers very quickly and I think that they should definitely be rewarded for it. Some people post garbage answers very quickly and they already get punished by it with downvotes. And the best answer will generally always bubble up to the top. If you spent 5 more minutes creating a big long answer that is better than the quick and dirty one, you may not get the check mark, but in the long run you will earn a MUCH greater score than a short and dirty one.

Please stop trying to punish those who work quickly and effectively. If someone is able to post the correct answer to my question 5 seconds after I post it, I am -extremely- happy and I am not going to sit there and say "No, you went too fast" I'm going to say "Holy crap that was fast, thanks!"

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I had to upvote this post and all your comments on this question. Could you stop that? It makes me creep ;-) –  Ladybug Killer Jul 18 '09 at 21:12
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Now that you mention the check mark: that is (next to the votes) also a reference for future visitors with the same question. New visitors might in fact interpret the check mark as "correct" rather than "accepted". And maybe even Google will, one day, show a summary of that accepted answer. So, though a totally different "problem", any idea to get the check mark being put on the best answer, might be interesting. (But I agree that the proposal in the question won't help.) –  Arjan Jul 19 '09 at 13:17
    
+1: FASTEST GUN IN THE WEST IS NOT A PROBLEM –  qPCR4vir Feb 27 '13 at 11:22
    
-10: the best answer will generally always bubble up to the top. If you spent 5 more minutes creating a big long answer that is better than the quick and dirty one, you may not get the check mark, but in the long run you will earn a MUCH greater score than a short and dirty one. –  qPCR4vir Feb 27 '13 at 11:23
    
Someone wrote; If you limit the voting time, you are going to have a lot of people not bother voting. People like me who patrol the new questions page. ... I'm just going to skip that question and never bother upvoting anything in there because the likelihood of me coming back to it is small. –  qPCR4vir Feb 27 '13 at 11:26
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Woah there! Classic error you're making here. You've got a valid grouch, but your solution is like blindfolding the whirling dervishes to keep them from accidentally falling into that open manhole. Nope, you're gonna want to use that blindfold to bind their legs, mate.

More explicitly: If you didn't show the answers for two minutes: You'd have a boat load of duplicates upon duplicates in that time.

What you really want to do is to: NOT ALLOW VOTING ON ANSWERS FOR TWO/FIVE MINUTES!!!

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+1 for the voting time constraint idea. –  kd304 Jul 18 '09 at 19:24
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If you limit the voting time, you are going to have a lot of people not bother voting. People like me who patrol the new questions page. If I see something that already has answers on it, I'll go in and read and then upvote the ones I believe are the best. If you make me wait X amount of minutes, I'm just going to skip that question and never bother upvoting anything in there because the likelihood of me coming back to it is small. –  TheTXI Jul 18 '09 at 19:35
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If you come across a question and think it's a good one, upvote the QUESTION. I think a lot of SO users (including me) vote like you do, but lets face it, a lot of the time the good answers almost always come late. Sometimes days, maybe weeks later and they're buried on page 5 because the average voter only votes in the first two/five mins and never returns (at least not to vote). Unless the question gets upvoted, the chances that newer answers get wider exposure diminishes. Current voting habits promotes flawed answers prematurely and inadvertently buries better answers. –  facepalmd Jul 18 '09 at 20:21
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This defeats the imperative of getting people answers to their questions as quickly as possible. Any fastest-gun effects are a price worth paying for that.

Basically, your suggestion might be good for optimizing SO as a game, for certain sets of game rules, but loses sight of the core purpose of solving people's problems.

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Unfortunately people will often come in with short, correct, but ultimately unhelpful answers because they are trying to get in there first because the first person tends to get the rep. They are already gaming the system. This idea is to perhaps remove some of that "game". –  Colin Mackay Jul 18 '09 at 19:12
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What part of "correct" is unhelpful? I hate the idea that Fastest Gun In The West is a problem. If you are fast and don't give quality answers, your stuff is not going to get voted up anyway. If you are fast AND good, that is twice as good as being slow and good. Eventually the best answers will always bubble their way up to the top and it is ultimately the OP's decision which one deserves the check mark (and it can be switched at any time as well) –  TheTXI Jul 18 '09 at 19:29
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The idea that a correct answer can be unhelpful seems rooted in this whole idea that a "good answer" has to be this encyclopedic production that rambles on tangential topics and you wind up sounding like a schoolteacher. I find that irritating, first of all because I value terseness in itself, and second because SO is easy enough to spend all day on without every answer needing to be a freakin' Wikipedia article. –  chaos Jul 18 '09 at 21:08
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And then which answer would you list on top?

(I guess whatever delays we come up with, it won't keep a few from trying to gain reputation. And once those few get more relaxed about it, there will be new members who are eager to be on top. Too bad, but I doubt it can be avoided. It may even make some people stop from answering, as they may expect some answers to be in the wait-to-be-shown-queue?)

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In the order in which the answers were received of course. The difference being that any answers received in the first five minutes become visible all at once allowing the OP a chance to view all of them at one time rather than piecemeal. This would reduce the gut reaction to accept the first answer that made sense and hopefully increase the acceptance of an answer that was more correct. –  Colin Mackay Jul 18 '09 at 19:15
    
Aha, it's about accepting the answers, I thought it was about upvoting. As many questions don't even have an accepted answer I would surely not make it less attractive for people to come up with an answer. I am not here for any reputation, but I'd not spend time answering when chances are high that the same answer is in the queue. –  Arjan Jul 18 '09 at 19:56
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The problem lies deeper, in the voting system itself beeing an inadequately designed mechanism - IMHO.

I wish there were be constraint on how fast the questioner can leave the site - I don't like when I leave my answer or ask for clarification and I have to wait a couple of hours to get response from the OP. Of course this is practically impossible.

You could also quickly type in a sort answer: "Maybe. Detailed answer is coming sortly." and then start editing your answer.

The thing I would prefer is to have the good answer before I even ask my own question ;)

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