Fastest Gun in the West Problem
Not sure if this is the right place to post.
Problem: I have noticed that in certain topical areas, a handful of people crowd the answer space. They gain alot of reputation, and they might be helping people. But the adverse affect is that the knowledge pool is sharply lopsided to a very few answerers. They actually diminish the participation of many other potential contributors, because a few, jump on every question to claim the points before many have the opportunity.
So, the incentive to particpate by others diminishes, and I think, if you check the stats, you'll start seeing a trend of where you have many who just ask questions and a handful of "answerers". It's like you sit in class in the 4th grade, and you know the answer to a question but the smart-alec in the front row keeps shouting out the answers to the teacher ruining the learning experience for everyone else. (I'm talking to you Justin Haines!)
Anyway, I think this is counter-productive to the purpose and spirit of the "stack" sites. If the stat's clearly don't demonstrate this, then I'll be on my way.
If they do as I suspect, then here is an idea for consideration.
IDEA: Those users that attain very high reputations (eg > 3000 points) can answer questions in their zealous fashion, but for reduced value if posted within a certain time period say 48 hours.
So they would get 5 points instead of 25 if they posted within 48 hours and it was accepted at any time. Others with lower reputations can answer the question within 48 hours and, if accepted, get the normal points, 25. This 48 hour period is intended to be an incentive for those of lower reputation to participate. This is like a "noob participation period".
Once outside of the 48 hours, if the question is still un-answered, those with high reputations can post an answer, and if accepted will get 30 points. So, there is some compensation to the answerer for waiting.
Taking it a little further, to keep the more active users happy, they can write up their answer within the 48 hour period and mark it for publishing outside the "noob participation period" so they can answer the question whenever they like, and still be in the running to get the maximum points.
What I like about this idea, is that the active users can gain even more reputation, whilst giving noob participants who may be as knowledgeable an opportunity to get involved and broaden the knowledge pool.
You thoughts please....
UPDATE : This is a great discussion. And I would like to offer a modification. All the uber-answerers are quite annoyed at the point penalty. So, how about this.
Initially a point penalty, but if "quick" answers by uber-answerers continues to get voted up, you get all the points you normally would. So, I don't want to discourage fast good answers, but there is accountability on the answerer to provide a good solution, not just be the "fastest gun in the west" like @Pollyanna has mentioned.