Is there a way to notify me that another user is writing an answer? Some (mainly simple) questions get duplicate answers just for that reason: A user starts answering while another user has almost finished his\her answer. That causes the "Damn, got me by 17 seconds!" comments.

A little banner that notifies me about the answer being written, perhaps with the first sentence, would be helpful. It would also save effort, time and frustration.

  • How will the system know we're adding an answer if we're formulating it on our system using our own editor to write it? I rarely compose in the answer box, so mine will be posted a few seconds after I click "Create an answer" and paste it in and close it. Commented Jan 28, 2020 at 0:16
  • Using draft; meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1177/… Commented Sep 26, 2020 at 8:11

5 Answers 5


User "Jon Skeet" is writing an answer - just give up now

  • 7
    I take great pride in beating Jon Skeet. I've done it a number of times. It is not impossible. He isn't a perfect robot after all...
    – jjnguy
    Commented Jul 30, 2009 at 21:03
  • 3
    maybe not, but he is pretty close too being a perfect robot! :)
    – a_m0d
    Commented Jul 31, 2009 at 0:01
  • 5
    @jjnguy He is very obviously letting you win. He can generate answers in 20ms. He tries his best to pretend he's human, and he has many people convinced. Commented Jan 4, 2012 at 2:12
  • This is one of the best answers I've seen in a long time. I'm sure Jon Skeet used some sort of indirection to get it posted. Commented Jan 28, 2020 at 0:17

The little banner notifies you once they've written the answer. That's as soon as I want to be discouraged. Also, if implemented, you could find yourself with a plethora of those awkward moments where the two of you notice each other is typing and stop at the same time. But, unlike IM, you can't say, "You first."

You can always delete your answer if you got beat, or edit it to include better info, links, etc.

  • 16
    BEAT U BY 2 SECONDS Commented Jul 30, 2009 at 20:33
  • 2
    Perhaps the banner should appear only at the second user's screen - and perhaps you're right, and it's not a clever idea.
    – Adam Matan
    Commented Jul 30, 2009 at 20:33

There's already a notice when users have completed an answer. There's no way to know if what someone else posts will even be similar to what you're writing, so unless the question is trivial with a quick and simple answer (which is the case with the example you're using) there's no reason to believe that they'll be typing the same thing.

Polling the server to determine if someone is simply typing an answer would be excessive, and more often then not, unnecessary.

  • The example removed? Commented Sep 26, 2020 at 8:28

I can see this being possible using Javascript to send a notice to the server when the answer box is being changed and then pushing that information out to the users in much the same way as the answer posted dialog.

However, I can see this being noisy on the server side as it has to process thousands of these requests and send out the responses.

  • Not much more noise than the typing feature in messaging platforms. Commented Sep 26, 2020 at 8:18

Open a duplicate tab with the question & refresh it just before submitting your answer. You will see exactly what is there at that time.

  • Then the time for writing the answer would be waste. Commented Sep 26, 2020 at 8:20
  • Maybe don’t refresh the tab you wrote your answer in. Try the other one.
    – CAD bloke
    Commented Sep 26, 2020 at 9:44
  • I didn't mean refereshing. Commented Sep 26, 2020 at 11:18

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