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An example post that shows this happening

If you read the post above. You see that someone was writing an answer to a question, and before he finished, someone else already posted his answer.

If you don't want to get in the way of someone, is it possible to see if a question is currently being answered or commented on by anyone?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted
+100

There's no current way, as far as I'm aware - if you wanted one, you'd probably want to consider re-tagging this question with .

That said - By providing an answer when someone else is already working on one, you wouldn't be getting in the way. There's a good chance that your answer will be better than theirs, and equally a good chance that theirs will be better. Either way, you may add information that the other answerer(s) don't and vice versa. I can see no reason why the fact that someone else is answering a question should be a reason to not provide another answer =) Unless of course the other person working on an answer is Jon Skeet, in which case I give up! ;-)

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As good as Jon's answers generally are, there's a very good chance that someone else with a different perspective can provide additional, useful information. –  Cody Gray May 16 '11 at 16:46
    
There is a feature request to that effect, although it was sadly declined. –  MvG Jul 23 '12 at 0:05
    
I agree with this feature request, I actually came to ask that exact question to find out it's already been asked, and now I find out it's already been declined. Is there a way to revive old feature requests which were declined? –  Jerry Dodge Feb 27 '13 at 0:24
    
Who is Jon skeet ? (sorry i am still a relative newbie) –  HCP Apr 15 at 11:45
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If you don't want to get in the way of someone, is it possible to see if a question is currently being answered or commented on by anyone?

Even if someone was currently typing in an answer box or comment box, how do you know they'll actually post it, until they do?

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It may be that people never actually submit, but I guess you can assume that. (and if you ever start offering the notion of being answered or commented, you can limit the maximum time I suppose) –  HCP May 17 '11 at 8:05
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There's no way that what you're suggesting could work because as I'm sure you know many people begin working on an answer and then discard it. Sometimes you start a paragraph and then go and do some research. You don't "own" the answer and haven't committed to the answer until you click "Submit Answer". And even then you only own your answer.

In the question you linked to, the poster is merely expressing the common frustration of being sniped which is fair game in the StackOverflow "competition". But it was expressed in an entirely friendly way that showed good sportmanship so better luck next time.

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