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Many times, I have seen comments to answers saying that someone else answered while they were typing up their answers or worse creating some demos. I assume most people write their answers in a hurry since there is a chance someone can answer before them. This poses a problem because people may not explain the answer completely or may not bother with creating demos or what not.

I was wondering if it is worth creating a "working on answer" button that will lock the question for 1 minute, with the possibility of extending it for another minute. This way, I can be sure that I have a full minute to finish my answer. Just a thought.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jun 19 '11 at 23:22

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In my experience, while people do rush to be first, they usually subsequently edit their answer to flesh it out. –  Ismail Badawi Jun 19 '11 at 23:25
5  
Locking is a bad idea. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Jun 19 '11 at 23:26
    

5 Answers 5

Wouldn't it change from a race to see who can answer first, to a race to see who can click the "working on answer" button first? Suggestions that involve "make everyone else slow down so I can answer faster" don't tend to go over well. If your answer is more complete, it doesn't matter that it's a few minutes later, it'll still get upvotes. If it's less complete, then they deserve the rep for posting a better answer faster

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You always have a full minute to compose your answer. Quite a bit longer, in fact. You can even answer questions which were asked (and answered) years ago.

The point of the system isn't to create a race to a single answer, it's to create good and useful content. If you have content to contribute, then please by all means contribute it. (And thank you for anything you've contributed so far, sincerely.)

It's better that a question get a dozen answers than that potential answers be turned away. What if the one who locked the question isn't writing a good answer? Or an entirely incorrect answer?

The voting system, while not perfect, is in place just for this reason. The good answers bubble up to the top, bad ones sink to the bottom.

Don't be dissuaded when answering by that little notification that somebody else has already answered. Post yours anyway. You may get just much out of it as the asker does. You may be looking at the problem from a different angle, or adding a piece of information that the other answer overlooked, etc. If after answering you feel that another answer exactly matches yours and that yours shouldn't be there as a duplicate, then you can delete it. (That's actually a very selfless and community-minded thing to do, putting the quality of the overall content before your own reputation score.)

Just provide content, let the community determine what to do with it.

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Any kind of a lock preventing answers is a bad idea.

I have frequently been working on an answer when I saw other answers come in. When that happens, I hit the load new answers button and see whether I think it's worth continuing. Sometimes it is, because I feel like I'm supplying a better answer, and sometimes I just upvote whoever said what I was going to, and continue on something else.

While gaining reputation is fun, it's not the purpose of these sites, but a mechanism for making it a work. The purpose is to get answers, and a lock turning the answer stream single-threaded would risk that.

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I soon learned to post a "summary" answer ASAP, and add to it afterwards, if you want the "early answer" points. But I've read that there are some people who get an average of 8+ upvotes on delayed, but complete, answers.

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In general the best answer gets the most upvotes and is also accepted. Bad answers normally are punished with downvotes. Your proposal would not solve any problem except for those who try to get some quick points. Locking the question would just decrease peoples ability to start to write serious, and complete answers and would just harm the community.

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