I have read all the discussions around the 48 hour delay on accepting ones own answers. To quote Jeff Atwood:
You must wait 2 days from the time you originally asked your question before you can accept your own answer. This gives other users a chance to answer the question in good faith, and earn the accepted answer.
Let's suppose you ask a question. You finish typing it out, but don't press Post Your Question. Instead, you go off and do a bit of research. You find a solution. Instead of discarding the question, you decide to share your new knowledge with the community because you're just that type of person. So you check Answer your own question after reading that it is explicitly encouraged. You enter your answer and submit both the question and answer.
Knowing that your answer solved the problem, you try to accept your own answer to indicate as much to everyone. You are then confronted with
You can accept your own answer in 2 days.
Now, your intention is to come back in two days and accept your answer.
You come back two days later, but in the meantime, others have provided answers in the hope of getting accepted. However, your intention has always been to accept your own answer because you know it is correct. You have just lured them into wasting their time providing answers that you already know will not be accepted. You accept your own answer and that's that. But not quite... you get annoyed when you realise that your effort to share knowledge has been sabotaged by your correct answer not appearing at the top.
Can we have the system changed to work like this:
- Provide an additional "Answer and accept your own question";
- Always keep the accepted answer at the top, no matter whose answer it is;
- Don't count votes on the question or answer toward the user's reputation.
- If the user decides to accept another person's answer after the fact, allow votes on the question only to affect the user's reputation.
If you're going to say that you encourage users to ask and answer their own question, you should not sabotage their efforts to do so by demoting their answer. It's just pointless. You already have measures in place to prevent gaming, such as not counting the answer towards the user's reputation.