I'm a big advocate on explaining answers, and I often downvote (with warning, sometimes without if I'm grumpy :P) answers that do not explain themselves.

How long should I wait between the answer being posted before I downvote to give a fair amount of time for edits to take place in case of placeholder code answers (which are fine, as long as they intend on explaining it)?

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    None. Revert if they expand their answer satisfactorily through edits. – John Dibling Feb 12 '14 at 16:10
  • @JohnDibling Unfortunately stackexchange doesn't tell you that such an edit happened. There is also the no unluck for grace period bug/anti-feature. – CodesInChaos Feb 12 '14 at 18:30

Approximately 0 seconds.

When someone posts an answer, you don't have to consider whether the answer is a placeholder or not before you vote on it.

When the answer gets edited, your vote gets unlocked, and you can change it again if the answer has been improved.

  • 3
    Oh I didn't know votes unlocked with an edit! – Sterling Archer Feb 12 '14 at 16:11
  • "approximately 0 seconds", give or take a nanosecond, or two. ;) – Andrew Barber Feb 12 '14 at 16:19
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    @AndrewBarber So you occasionally downvote posts one or two nanoseconds before they're posted? That takes some skills. – Servy Feb 12 '14 at 16:25
  • @Servy I figured I would try to go for The Skeet's time-warping ability on answers, but instead apply it to votes on answers. – Andrew Barber Feb 12 '14 at 16:26
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    It doesn't get unlocked if the edit was within the grace period. – Martin Smith Feb 12 '14 at 16:42

If your concern is that you want to be fair, and not leave someone with a downvote for their placeholder answer as long as they clean it up quickly enough, there are two approaches to take:

  • If it is fully your intention to monitor the question and react to edits, don't wait. Comment explaining what you see lacking in the answer, downvote, and later check back to see if you should remove the downvote. Use a technique like favouriting, or bookmarking to be sure you come back.

  • If you kinda sorta mean to check back, but honestly you might or might not, then I would hold my fire until the 5 minute grace period has passed, and at that point vote or not, comment or not, and move on. If it's made much better someone else can update it for you, I suppose.

Me, I downvote and move on, grace period or not. They posted it, they stand behind it. If I comment, and if they @ me that they have fixed it, I might remove the downvote later but statistically, I can be pretty sure it's going to stay.

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    If someone isn't willing to accept responsibility for the correctness of their answer, they shouldn't post it. I, as a voter, am not obligated to come back and check if they have improved it. If they don't want their answer to be downvoted, they shouldn't post incorrect, unhelpful, or otherwise low quality answers. If someone wants to place incorrect, unhelpful, or low quality answers as a placeholder for a later answer just so that they can have an earlier timestamp on their answer I'm certainly not going to go way out of my way to help them do so or encourage this behavior. – Servy Feb 12 '14 at 16:15
  • Well said @Servy! – Sterling Archer Feb 12 '14 at 16:16
  • 1) I don't see that in the question at all. 2) You don't make it clear in your answer that you're addressing that specific situation. Your answer (at least how I read it) makes the blanket statement that you shouldn't ever downvote a post within the first 5 minutes unless you are sure that you're going to check back on it. – Servy Feb 12 '14 at 16:24
  • Enjoying the metaness of having a dv removed on this answer :-) highly appropriate, thankyou whoever you are – Kate Gregory Feb 12 '14 at 16:42

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