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Previously users with less than X amount of reputation were able to provide an answer to their question, but then they were prevented from actually marking it as the answer.

Now, users can't even provide an answer to the question, which means that for detailed solutions, they aren't going to come back and answer it in 8 hours in the same detail they know now.

I'd propose a draft answer system (I'm not sure of the actual reason why it was changed from the previous system, but I'll assume it was for good reason).

In the draft answer system, a user would be able to provide an answer to their question and have it saved, but it would be hidden for 8 hours (and not marked as answered). This way, users can both save draft versions of their answer and the answer is not visible to anyone else during the 8 hour period. An improvement on this would also be sending the user an email when the 8 hour period is up so that they can actually submit the final answer (and mark it as answered if needed).

Unfortunately the current system encourages users to forget about their questions and not provide the final solution that solved it for them.

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2 Answers

I'm not sure of the actual reason why it was changed from the previous system, but I'll assume it was for good reason

This was done because new users frequently believe SO is a forum, so they post an "answer" that is really a comment. Blocking new users from posting a self-answer for a period of time/rep effectively forces them to discover the comment mechanism.

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Okay, so why not allow people to post draft answers; it in effect stops people using the answer system for comments and means that more questions get answered. Where's the downside? –  Hach-Que Jun 4 '11 at 11:20
    
Users already don't understand the mechanics of the system. Adding "drafts" would only be a confusing further step. –  Charles Jun 4 '11 at 21:31
    
Then at least prevent people from typing up answers only to get a "Sorry, you can't post your answer for another 8 hours" message. It's just a waste of their time otherwise. –  Hach-Que Jun 6 '11 at 0:31
    
I'd get behind that proposal. –  Charles Jun 6 '11 at 0:50
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Users with more than 100 rep can self-answer immediately.

Users with less than 100 rep must wait 8 hours to self-answer, because new inexperienced users frequently abuse "answers".

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