Suggestion

A questioner should have the option to setup a timeframe, which defers the publication of answers given to the question.

Reason

I'm very active on Stackoverflow when it comes to Javascript / jQuery. Many times if a question comes up, it feels like a race on who is answering a question first. I don't think that this kind of behavior increases the quality of answers (quite the contrary). A lot of people just put in a minium of effort to post "an" answer right away, to then edit it later (several times).

Example

A questioner has a dropdown where he or she can choose between 5 / 10 and 30 minutes (for instance) before answers are published (30 minutes is probably a little bit too much tho).

Answers which are given during this time period are stored (in the order they were posted), but not released yet.

That should increase the quality for answers like a lot. Everybody has enough time without the haste to be the first one answering.

Update


Again, this should be optional for the questioner. It doesn't make sense to apply that kind of option to a question, which requires a complex answer. But for very short questions, this will increase the quality of answers (my belief). It would outclass on-liner answers at least.

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Possibly related to this: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/9731/… –  Piskvor Feb 2 '11 at 8:35
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How exactly does this fix anything? If you store the answers in the order they were posted, the person who posts their answer the quickest still "wins" (if you think it's a competition; I'm not of that opinion). The only thing you've done is hide the battle. You haven't eliminated the spoils of the war. –  Cody Gray Feb 2 '11 at 13:21
    
@CodyGray: My point is, to avoid the "quick and low quality" answers which get edited like 10x times before they are finally finished (and good). That is the only thing this whole topic is about. No reason to downvote at all. –  jAndy Feb 2 '11 at 13:27
    
Related (but NOT a duplicate given the optional part): Don't show the answers for the question in the first 2 minutes. –  Arjan Feb 2 '11 at 13:56
    
oh I just love downvotes without giving a reason. I probably should remove the 'discussion' tag. –  jAndy Feb 2 '11 at 14:26
    
@CodyGray: answers with 0 votes are displayed in a random order when posted initially. –  Ben Rowe Jul 13 '11 at 6:44
    
@Ben: So? The posted time is still displayed, and sorting by "oldest" is still one of the standard options. The point is that the fastest gun still "wins" by posting the first answer to the question. This solution doesn't solve anything. –  Cody Gray Jul 13 '11 at 6:48
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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I'm for a more general approach with three simple steps:

  1. Make code blocks no longer count against the required minimum of characters
  2. Increase the minimum of required characters to 150 (or even 200)
  3. Make sure to strip all whitespace outside of code blocks effectively

Writing 150 characters of explanation isn't hard at all, and the benefit of no longer getting 5 answers which consist of only one single code block is sure worth the extra "hurdle" for answerers.

The ability to edit your answer should be there to fix spelling or update it with new information in respond to comments. It should not be used to write 75% of the question after the initial posting.

Right now the "Answer Race" mainly benefits the answerer, as the fastest one will most likely get a quick 5+ for a single block of code.

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I mostly agree with your suggestions here. Around 150-200 characters (not including code blocks) should be the minimum required to constitute an answer. But it makes me wonder what I'm doing wrong, because I don't think I've ever gotten +5 all at once for posting a single code block. –  Cody Gray Feb 2 '11 at 14:10
    
@Cody It's extremely common on jQuery/JavaScript, I have experienced it many times. –  Ivo Wetzel Feb 2 '11 at 15:48
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But how to avoid duplicated/triplicated answers?
I think a lot of questions will get a lot of answer with almost the same content: example.
I would hate this happening too often - why spend time searching links and adding sample code?
(if speed seams to be more important than content)

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I don't really see the point. duplicated/triplicated/quadrupled++ answers happen all the time. Most of the time, people (hopefully) delete their answer if there already is one with almost the exact same content. –  jAndy Feb 2 '11 at 13:24
    
@jAndy still, with a delay, it would become completely impossible to tell whether there are duplicates present. Think of all the potential dupes that don't get written right now because people can see what's there already –  Pëkka Feb 2 '11 at 13:45
    
@Pekka: I have to admit, that the problem of duplicates would also increase possibly. I could argue that there at least were more qualified duplicates, but it's not an good argument. But then again, even if there would be lots of similar answers, the time period would give people enough time to make a really good answer, which then hopefully gets upvoted. –  jAndy Feb 2 '11 at 13:56
    
@jAndy - it's pretty annoying to spend a considerable amount of time to write an answer just to delete it. Maybe I am just to slow... –  Carlos Heuberger Feb 2 '11 at 18:24
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I'm not sure if this will fixed the issue, but yeah it might.

On my view, let's say we have this 5 minutes delay before someone could answer the question. What I think would happen is that a race will still happen. Well at least they will race for that 5 minutes though. And after that 5 minutes, a series of edits and so on and so fort.

Edits happens because you want your answer to be better (and also based on comments).

overall, I'm 50/50 to the suggestion. ;)

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No you didn't get me. It's possible to answer a questions immediately (like now), but the answeres are published after that 5 minute delay. That way we get rid of these "half answered, low quality" answers, which are edited 20 times. –  jAndy Feb 2 '11 at 7:59
    
@jAndy - Answers which are given during this time period are stored (in the order they were posted), but not released yet. I thought of this that the answerer would still have to be fast because of the order. and besides there's an up-vote/down-vote system, if you think it's poor you can down-vote it. And from there, the one who got the down-vote has to refine his answer (if he likes to). :) What I like here in SO is the edit and comment. One would comment and you can edit. It's like a group discussion. :-) –  Reigel Feb 2 '11 at 8:09
    
well, race-answers are not necessarily wrong or worth to get downvoted. But the quality is poor and increases from edit to edit (hopefully). –  jAndy Feb 2 '11 at 8:14
    
@jAndy - Sad but true. And if what you are proposing can help, that would be great! :) When I was new, I would race to get the answer first, but now, I just help by commenting on what the answer is lacking. Or if nobody get to answer it correctly, I then answer with what I think is right. ;) –  Reigel Feb 2 '11 at 8:21
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