I've read few question about grace period, but I didn't find approach that I was thinking of. If it's duplicate - sorry at the start.

I use SO frequently last days and I found that posting an answer to relatively simple questions is like a war: everybody post "an excerpt" as answer (which is laconic, but correct), then collect votes up (or even acceptation) while editing and reformatting own answer, taking profit from grace period. It's frustrating, because non-native-english users, especially those precisians like me, are sufferers of this approach, because it takes more time to read question and of course to write an answer.

While user X is writing a good answer, with formatting, code revision and improvements (sometimes not related to question, but welcome) other users post their (sometimes poor) answers and get points which could go to X. If answer was accepted, answer may not be edited even and stays on SO as a junk.

What I think, this shouldn't work this way. There should be a grace period for editing own answer after posting (let's say 5 minutes) because for answer editing proofreading should be done before posting, not after that. Then should be second grace period - this one which is now (editing without revision history and information below the post), or not - because user would write the answer more precisely when he would know that he can't edit for a while. Maybe size of a diff should matter - that user could edit typos and little fixes, but could not double the answer.

  • 3
    Related: Fastest Gun in the West Problem
    – yannis
    Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 8:49
  • Thanks for this link, I didn't find that.
    – Wirone
    Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 9:04
  • We could just show the number of people that are trying to write an answer. And if they are above a certain treshhold for the specific tag, we could show the nick as well. If Jon is writing an answer for a C or Java related question, I may think again about wasting my time :) Commented Jun 8, 2014 at 11:58

1 Answer 1


I think you are putting too much emphasis on the actual votes and not on the content of the post.

If someone can bang out a coherent and correct answer in a short amount of time then there is nothing wrong with that. If he wants to continue improving that post then it is his choice. One could just as easily not improve the post but still reap in the votes simply because he was the first one to post an answer.

You say that "non-native-english users" suffer from this approach.. Suffer? How so? Does it affect you that someone else answered faster than you can? You are browsing on a site that is not in your native language - it would be safe to assume that the native English will always have an advantage simply because of their command of the language.

I agree with you that it can get frustrating at times and it is crazy in some tags how fast answers get posted. For people who can't type as fast as others the only thing that you can do is to type out your answer (make it fantastic because now you have the time to do so) and then trust the system and the community to vote on good content ultimately pushing it up on the page. The good stuff floats up to the top...

Let the fastest guns in the west get their super fast upvotes - there is nothing you can do to change that. You can't change their behavior - the only thing you can do is change how you perceive that behavior...

Those super fast FGITW answers are usually code only / link only / one line answers. Whilst this may essentially answer the OP's question adding explanations and examples (and improving formatting) is the best way to create great helpful content that can help others in the future dealing with the same issue.

Spend time creating quality posts and you will be rewarded in the end.

  • First! ;)​​​​​​
    – Lix
    Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 9:00
  • Yes, you're right, but sometimes those oneliners are not as correct as they should be, because their authors didn't read properly and posted junk, which should be seen as a junk for a while.
    – Wirone
    Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 9:24
  • Very true - if the answers are simply wrong it doesn't matter how fast they are posted - they'll get downvoted just as fast..
    – Lix
    Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 9:26
  • 3
    Not if they edit. And this is what I'm talking about - prevent bad answers to become good answers within seconds (based on other answers or reading entire question) without revision history and editing info.
    – Wirone
    Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 9:39
  • Well that would be a nasty thing to do... But now you are talking about people with bad etiquette - I don't think that there is a way to fix that...
    – Lix
    Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 9:40
  • @Wirone: What is wrong with people correcting their answers? If the edits lead to good answers on SO, so be it. I only see this happen on relatively simple questions; language basics in Python, for example. The only way to get in an answer there is to be fast as almost anyone following the tag knows what is correct. Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 9:48

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