I have gone through a case where someone gave an answer to my question and then within five minutes he/she edited it five times. This could mean two different things:

  1. They didn't know the answer, and just pasted a line to be first and reduce other people's chance of answering, since they would see that someone already answered (Even though it hasn't been accepted yet). Then they start searching and start a game of editing answer again and again, five times with in five minutes.

  2. They made a mistake answering or understanding the question, so they corrected it.

So Is this encouraging behavior ?

  • 4
    This is similar to (or exactly the same as) the "Fastest Gun in the West 'Problem'". Jun 25, 2012 at 13:02
  • 2
    Is this really about the "five minute grace period" being a problem, or are you still simply upset about the particular interaction you're referring to?
    – Bart
    Jun 25, 2012 at 13:03
  • @jadarnel27: i think both are completely different
    – Tofeeq
    Jun 25, 2012 at 13:04
  • @Bart: its not about only five minute grace period.Doing a lot of edit always lead to confusion most of the times
    – Tofeeq
    Jun 25, 2012 at 13:07
  • If that is done constantly over a long period of time, perhaps. But within the five minute grace period I hardly see it as a problem.
    – Bart
    Jun 25, 2012 at 13:09
  • @Bart but how about if we put a limit that you can not edit your answer with in 10 minute.so that you should be punished if you did some thing wrong
    – Tofeeq
    Jun 25, 2012 at 13:11
  • 2
    No way, absolutely not! You should always be able to update an answer to improve it. That's something we should explicitly encourage.
    – Bart
    Jun 25, 2012 at 13:15
  • 2
    If there was a 10 minute non-editing limit in visual studio I'd be punished several times a day. Jun 25, 2012 at 13:15

4 Answers 4


When someone posts a short but valid answer that sufficiently addresses the question (at least according to the answerer), and later fleshes it out to something more substantial without completely changing the intent or meaning of the answer, that is fine. Not only is it fine, but it is also sometimes encouraged to the people who know how to do it properly. I've been doing this myself for years, both here and on the main site, and until recently, everyone I've worked with hasn't had a problem with it.

By the way, I just deleted an answer that was Completely/Comically Missing the Point — that's an "answer" that basically asks you to wait while they work on the actual answer. That's the kind of answer we don't want: one that provides little to no valuable content whatsoever, thereby qualifying for a "very low quality" or "not an answer" flag, and eventual deletion. In fact, since it is actually a decent example of what not to do, I'm reproducing it here:

  • 1
    Awesome ^_^
    – Naftali
    Jun 25, 2012 at 14:13
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    You're supposed to warn people that they're about to fall down the TV Tropes rabbit hole. That's Internet etiquette 101! ;) Jun 25, 2012 at 14:18

Some one else give answer and user accept it then your all handwork will be waste.

Not true! Just because a question has an accepted answer doesn't mean that any more effort spent on the question is wasted. Remember, this site is not just for the moment; future users come and see what solutions could help them.

Most of the time when I'm searching for a solution to an issue I'm having, it's been posted on Stack Overflow some one or two years ago. And that is precisely what the Q&A format is. If everyone had the mentality that "oh, this one has an accepted answer, I don't need to work on it", who knows what sort of trash would be around here. An accepted answer doesn't mean it is the BEST answer, it simply means it was the answer that (at that moment) the original poster felt best answered their problem.

Many times I give a concise answer that does answer the question. And for some users, that is plenty enough information for them to solve the issue on their own. Meanwhile, I can work on a more detailed answer, including code snippets and links to external resources that better explains the solution for users that might not quite grasp the concise answer.

If you've ever had an issue where you spent a large amount of time working on this elegant, elaborate post to a question, only to find out it has been deleted...well, that's perhaps a different story altogether =)


I think you'll find a lot of people give a summarised answer initially, so that their answer is down first. Then they will edit the answer to add more detail and provide a description as to why their answer is correct and possibly contribute more information such as examples and scenarios.

What I tend to do when answering is:

  1. Give my short summarised answer so that I've got my name down with what I believe is a correct answer
  2. Edit and provide more details, perhaps links and examples / quotes
  3. Provide my opinion on the methods and technologies discussed and possibly how I would implement it if I were developing the solution.

I don't think you need to worry about if people provide an incorrect answer, I'll never be put off answering a question if there is an answer there already, even if it's not too dissimilar to my own, if I can word it more effectively and provide my own examples and understanding, you never know my answer might be the more helpful at getting the point across. If the answer is incorrect then it would make a correct answer look even more impressive. You always have the power to downvote an incorrect answer where either the user has the wrong end of the stick (hasn't read the question properly) or if they are providing poor logic.


He do not know answer he just pasted a line to being first and reduce other people chance to answer as they see some one has answered it.

  • Downvote it, if it's at -1 or 0 then other people stand a better or equal chance.


  • Tell him his answer doesn't help you, this will also let people know you are looking for another one.

Really he was not aware that he commit mistake to understand question. so he correct it.But why so frequently?

  • It's common behavior that people answer there first thoughts and then correct it over time as they read missed parts of the question or other solutions pop up in their head.

  • He's doing his best to answer your question as well, so even if that leads to some confusion, he'll want his final answer to be what he thinks is best towards you. There's no real solution to the problem that people can quickly throw an answer with a few edits at you, as most solutions would take away the freedom of the answerer to freely improve his answer. We don't want to ask people "are you sure this is the answer you want to place?"

    If they come up with a better solution within one or two minutes of posting their answer, they will not be able to add it to their answer and will then go away (assuming a new answer is discouraged)...

  • but how about if we put a limit that you can not edit your answer with in 10 minute.so that you should be punished if you did some thing wrong.
    – Tofeeq
    Jun 25, 2012 at 13:10
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    @TofeeqAhmad: Before you placed your comment, I have amended a second bullet point in the second part. If you do such thing, you are basically punishing yourself as the question asker. If they come up with a better solution within one or two minutes of posting their answer, they will not be able to add it to their answer and will then go away (assuming posting new answers is discouraged)... Jun 25, 2012 at 13:14

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