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.


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

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    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 Jul 30 '09 at 21:03
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    maybe not, but he is pretty close too being a perfect robot! :) – a_m0d Jul 31 '09 at 0:01
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    @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. – Mateen Ulhaq Jan 4 '12 at 2:12

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.

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    BEAT U BY 2 SECONDS – Ian Elliott Jul 30 '09 at 20:33
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    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 Jul 30 '09 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.


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


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.

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