The most upvoted answer on the Fastest Gun In The West question implies that there are many benificiary (side-)effects to having such speedy guns on Stack Exhange, as long as this does not hurt quality of the content. So my question is:

Are there ways to make use of SE more effectively (without loosing focus on quality)?

Important note: I ask this question not so folks can promote their sneaky tactics for getting a low-quality Fastest Gun In The West, but because I'm looking for a good "Power User Guide to SE", and find many of these features to be hidden in the FAQ, blogposts and often even comments on questions.

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    Pretty sure it's a level 50 drop, Orange. Good for Hunter.
    – Ben Brocka
    Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 13:46
  • Usually fastest gun is achieve by posting a code only answer/terse answer, then improving the answer many times over with the interval between edits less than 1 minute.
    – nhahtdh
    Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 13:53
  • @Bart The point is: I was looking for some help on using SE more effectively, and found many tips and tricks on that topic are spread out. Of course I'm not trying to get folks to focus on speed over quality. Perhaps choosing a wording with a reference to the FGITW wasn't such a good idea after all. I'll try to rephrase, or remove the question if folks feel the other sources already suffice.
    – Jeroen
    Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 13:55
  • Is this a convoluted way of asking how you can answer questions quickly? Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 13:56
  • @Jeroen If your focus is on a more effective use of SE, that's fine. But the FGITW implies a focus on speed. How can I get my answer out there (in whatever form) as fast as possible. Though FGITW is not necessarily a problem, I don't think we should promote tips and tricks on speed, when we already have enough issues to address when it comes to quality. For what it's worth, self-answering does not really fall under FGITW either IMHO. (That's enough abbreviations I think ;) )
    – Bart
    Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 13:58
  • @Bart Fair enough. I've tried to update the question. Feel free to help out some more if the question still needs work, or if the question's not salvageable or useful I could of course also delete it.
    – Jeroen
    Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 14:02
  • I've long felt that badges like Enlightened should be eliminated. So what if you were the first answer and the best answer? This focus on speed is entirely wrong. If we were all in the same time zone, and only used the site during the same hours, speed would have some meaning. The kind of speed that this badge rewards should instead be measured from the time you first viewed the question, not from the time the question was posted.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 14:08
  • Point taken! I've voted to close.
    – Jeroen
    Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 14:13
  • @Jeroen as academic, i've been to conferences where SO is praised for the fast responses (and all the oooh and aaah when they speak about minutes taken to answer). This has in turn generated more attention and research into SO (see the papers at list). If your question is how to improve quality and speed (an example strategy: i'll copy/paste my old, polished blog entry to answer a question with quality and speed), i think that it's a legitimate question
    – user190780
    Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 14:15
  • Well, just knowing the relevant content thoroughly helps in answering it quickly. If you just know what you need to say, and type rather quickly, rather than needing to do lots of research (to come up with the same answer) you be able to answer more quickly. Many people who respond with both fast and quality answers just know so much, and have seen so many of the problems before, that it just doesn't take long for them to know what's wrong and how to fix it.
    – Servy
    Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 14:19
  • The edits have rendered my Borderlands reference useless :(
    – Ben Brocka
    Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 15:01

2 Answers 2


How about not even playing that game? If someone has asked a question that people are tripping over themselves to answer, they'll get a good answer. They don't particularly need you to beat the others to the finish in saying the same thing.

Instead, go find interesting questions that have been sitting unanswered and provide solutions to those. Take your time and write a quality answer for these unresolved issues.

Also, many tags on the site aren't subject to the Fastest Gun in the West "problem", due to more technical questions being asked or fewer subject matter experts contributing. Find one of those areas where your unique experience could help people out and answer questions there.

This is what I've done for the last couple of years, and it's worked well for me. You may not see a lot of votes come in immediately on answers to these more out-of-the-way questions, but I've found that they have a very long tail. A surprising number of people run into these same obscure issues, and your answers may help out someone years from now.


I'll kick things off myself with an answer. You can Answer your own question (which is perfectly ok). For this question it's a bit of a cheap shot though...

Not sure if this is a form of suicide, if you answer your own question with the fastest gun in the west...

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