Stackoverflow seems to have roughly 30 new questions per 5 minues. But when I pick one of these questions to answer it, it takes some time to write a good answer, sometimes 10 or 20 minutes, and when I submit, it often happens that there is already an answer, maybe not as extensive as mine but with the same satement.

I don't want to write faster answers with less quality, but once I want to be the first answering to a question :-)

Do other people also have this 'problem' and how do you deal with that?

  • You could also consider looking at questions a day or so old and look at providing quality answers to those. Sometimes the questions that don't have a quick answer will be more valuable long term. – PeterJ Feb 16 '14 at 11:31
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    Arjan is right, this is a duplicate. but the title "Fastest Gun in the West Problem" is not very helpful for identifying it as a duplicate – Daniel Alder Feb 16 '14 at 11:32
  • @DanielAlder that's why duplicates can be good, they help with questions that are tough to find. – psubsee2003 Feb 16 '14 at 11:33
  • @DanielAlder it's one of the most famous terms in meta, which does sometimes allow titles to be less descriptive. (now always of course) – Shadow9 Feb 16 '14 at 12:02
  • Practise. When I started answering I had the same problem. My solution was to answer questions during low traffic times (at the weekend). The more I practised the faster I could answer questions that can be answered fast. However, simultanuously my rep grew and I got more interested in difficult questions that take time to answer. – Roland Feb 16 '14 at 12:26

Over time, a well thought-out answer is generally more valuable. When you post it, and how much time you use to formulate the answer, is not always that important.

When writing an answer you should keep in mind that the questioner is just one person, and that most people, who end up seeing your answer, will be coming from search engines later on. If your answer is better thought-out, then they will tend to be inclined to give you the up-vote, for your effort, and leave the quick-fire answers alone.

Quick and short answers also tend to be made for simple/trivial questions. More difficult questions require more thought and experimentation.


A lot of people (and I'm doing that myself too...) write a minimal answer and edit it many times, because you have a 5 minute frame where every edits will not be logged.

It allows to help the question author in the minute and then develop your answer to give a detailed explanation, with examples and reference to documentations/blog post...

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    That's exactly what I also do. But while doing further research, it can also happen that I realize that I was completely wrong... – Daniel Alder Feb 16 '14 at 11:39
  • If you're downvoted for a bad answer right after you post it, then make edits in the grace period that make it better, the downvoters won't be allowed to change their vote because it doesn't count as being edited after the downvote. So I'd be careful with quickly adding a "Frist post!!!111!" junk answer with the intention of editing later. – Wooble Feb 16 '14 at 12:55
  • @Wooble Don't make a quick post if you don't know the answer. I said "write a minimal answer", Should I add the word "valid"? – Maxime Lorant Feb 16 '14 at 13:03
  • Well, ok, you're probably not literally going to write "frist post!", but IMO slipping in a quick answer that may or may not be wrong and then editing it to be right after seeing what other people answer does happen. – Wooble Feb 16 '14 at 13:06

Actually every person wants to be the first in everything. Maybe position is all that matters for many of the people not all. I myself write an answer with the only part of the answer which the user wants to know. For example I would answer your question with this:

Yes, I do that too! It is a problem with me too.

Using this method I would be the first one to be observed by other members. And then I would edit the answer to be more helpfull for the user by writing this:

Yes, this problem occurs to me too, I try to write an answer, and then I edit the answer to make it more helpfull for the community. Using this method I stand first in the race of answering the post and sometimes it is helpfull in getting more up-votes!

Once this is done, I get a score of 2 - 3 sometimes and sometime I get nothing at all. For this I edit my answer again, to remove any formatting error, correct grammer spellings etc. and the last answer of mine is the answer that I had to post in the very first place.

It is a good habit to write a full featured answer and help the user as much as you can without having the upvotes in your mind! If you keep the upvotes in mind, you get nothing all you get is comments with critic response saying:

You missed how many times a user can edit his post before going Community wiki.

Or like this:

So you mean, that you also want to get the upvotes only.

And sometimes this one too:

So, you're counting yourself in the people who love to get the rep only!

So the best way is, to write a fully featured answer that would help the user, if that helps the user, community would love it, they would upvote you and the user would Mark Your post as the Answer.


I have classified the users in StackOverflow based on Why they ask a question?

  1. Some wants a quick and easy fix for there problem.
  2. Some wants to know reason "why my code didn't worked".
  3. Some wants a better understanding for there problem.
  4. Some users know the answer for their question but expects a better answer than their's.

Based on their need, they pick the right answer for their question.

So it purely depends on the user who ask the question, some users may come back and change their answer. If you want to give your best shot, there is nothing wrong to be last guy.

Community always wants the best well-researched answer for that you will get reward in the form of upvotes or bounties.

If you are ninja in your area, then 15 minutes is more for research. See @Jon Skeet 's ninja performance.

  • I thought bounties only go to the one with the accepted answer..? Maybe that's the reason why I try to be the first one – Daniel Alder Feb 16 '14 at 12:07
  • @DanielAlder Not like that. – Praveen Feb 16 '14 at 12:11
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    thx for the link. this was new for me – Daniel Alder Feb 16 '14 at 12:19

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