Commonly on Stack Overflow answering a new question appears to be a race of who can type the fastest and get the most in-depth explanation the quickest. Is this really what we want the site to be like? Stack Overflow is supposed to be community-driven, and not simply a race between a few developers to answer a question.

By delaying the amount of time until users can actually see other users' answers to the questions, the accepted answer would not simply be the first answer, but the best answer to appear. Even though Stack Exchange has tried to stop this type-racing by only allowing the user to accept an answer after 8 minutes, a user who asks a question will often just pick the answer that they would accept as the answer, wait for the 8 minutes to be up, and then accept it, rather than reading through the others.

So, here is my idea: When users post an answer to a question, all answers should be hidden until 8 minutes after the user posted the question. This way, when the answers appear for the user to accept one, they will be more likely to actually read through them all, rather then accepting the first answer even if it is not very good. This 8 minute timer also encourages users to put up larger answers that actually explain the answer, and therefore help the user asking the question.

  • Been discussed many times before, see here: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/18014/… Apr 7, 2013 at 6:48
  • @RichardJ.RossIII This has different ideas. I have looked at the other discussions and they are different
    – user218286
    Apr 7, 2013 at 6:49
  • I was saying that the general topic has been discussed before, and several proposed "fixes". Apr 7, 2013 at 6:52
  • 4
    @mrfishie - what will likely happen for the "easy" questions is that instead of getting 4 answer in 1 minute, you will suddenly get 25 answers after 8 minutes. Doesn't help much, does it.
    – Bo Persson
    Apr 7, 2013 at 9:21
  • Are you seriously suggesting that users getting answers to their questions too fast is a problem to be solved?
    – user229044
    Apr 8, 2013 at 15:21

2 Answers 2


No. On a site as large as SO, questions (and subsequently their answers) don't get too many views or votes unless they gain attention within the first 2 minutes or so of being posted. This would simply lead to more people being unsung heroes, and diminish the reputation a user could potentially get from a post, which may end up leading said user to leave the site (because everyone wants those Internet points).

  • How would this lead to people being unsung heroes? Users could still upvote the question, and 8 minutes is not very long.
    – user218286
    Apr 7, 2013 at 6:55
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    @mrfishie what you are missing is the enormous amount of questions that flow into SO, and not many attract user's attention for long - think of SO as a room full of toys inhabited by pre-schoolers - not many kids will be content to sit with one toy much longer than 3 minutes. Apr 7, 2013 at 6:56
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    @RichardJ.RossIII "think of SO as a room full of toys inhabited by pre-schoolers" That's exactly how a SO moderator described the site once ;)
    – yannis
    Apr 7, 2013 at 7:02
  • @Yannis hah, that's funny. Do you have a link to where that previously occurred? Off of the top of my head I can't remember hearing that elsewhere in regards to SO, but its am analogy I've heard frequently in other places and it seemed to fit here. Apr 7, 2013 at 7:10
  • @RichardJ.RossIII A link? Well, no, it was a (very) casual conversation long ago, probably in a chat room or in comments (that in all likelihood have since been purged, we rarely keep fun comments around for much, after a while they are just noise).
    – yannis
    Apr 7, 2013 at 7:12

I don't think artificially delaying benefits anyone. There's already a delay on accepting answers to encourage more and fuller answers. 8 minutes of hiding answers would do nothing over that other than adding an extra layer of confusion and complexity.

My experience has been that longer answers tend to be well received by search engines and receive a steady stream of upvotes over time. That alone is sufficient reward in my view. I've seen cases too where an OP has changed the accepted answer months or even years later where someone writes a much better answer.

The system works and I don't buy into making it more complicated for little/no gain.

  • I think your second paragraph is key here. Most similar requests I've seen are from newer members who simply haven't been around long enough to experience the joy of residual rep, or that (truly) better answers almost always "win", even if they appear much later.
    – yannis
    Apr 7, 2013 at 7:18

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