Even on the least active SE site I use people always provide answers before I've even finished searching to make sure it's not duplicate and is properly tagged/marked up. How is this possible? Are people just answering without any regard for the other due diligence that needs to be done on a question? Or am I going at this backwards and should be more concerned with answering the question than site maintenance/organization?

On it's face this question seems to be a duplicate of How do people respond so quickly? but that question is more concerned with how the userbase as a whole can respond quickly, not how an individual user can do what they need to in such a short amount of time.

  • possible duplicate of How do people respond so quickly?
    – gnat
    Oct 30, 2014 at 14:44
  • @gnat They are about the same subject, but that question seems to be about how questions are seen so quickly, not about proper question maintenance which is the heart of my question.
    – Fr33dan
    Oct 30, 2014 at 14:48
  • 1
    – gnat
    Oct 30, 2014 at 14:49
  • 2
    Since when are people supposed to research a question to make sure it's not a dupe prior to answering?
    – user1228
    Oct 30, 2014 at 15:54

2 Answers 2


The point is that most users won't do whatever action you would expect they "diligently do" before answering. If the question is easy enough to have a quick answer, it will attract replies very soon. That said most people will try to increase their visibility by answering as soon as possible, avoiding any check they may do on the actual question.

As sad as it may seem to you, editing, searching for dupes... even asking themselves if the question is on-topic are all actions that not everybody will perform. And even if they perform them most of the time getting repz has the precedence.

In the past, on SharePoint I saw people replying to question about commercial third party products, which are deemed off-topic by the site rules. Those answers are still here today, even if some of the questions have been closed.

My point here is that you probably shouldn't worry about when the users reply as far they reply something useful. The point is to educate users more, so that they more responsibly perform the maintenance actions they so easily forgot.

Also, please consider reviewing old question about the Fastest Gun in the west problem, and also those about Merging dupe questions to avoid the possibility for users to post the same answer multiple times.


Not sure what you mean. This is the typical workflow as far as I can tell. Using a generic name, got nothing to do with "The" Jon.

  1. Jon is looking for new questions, with the live refresh it's super easy.
  2. When seeing a question he might be able to answer, Jon click the link and reads it.
  3. If Jon got a decent answer, he post it.

Searching for dupes, proper tagging, etc, are all actions that are expected from the user asking the question, not the users who come to answer.

  • 5
    "Searching for dupes, ... are expected ... not [from] the users who come to answer." - umm... what? Moderation should be encouraged. Oct 30, 2014 at 14:26
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    @Jan moderation is a separate "layer". In its very core, any SE site is Q&A site. Ordinary user come to answer questions. Having moderation privilege is nice and dandy, but not something expected from everyone. Oct 30, 2014 at 14:28
  • @ShadowWizard This interpretation seems to be in conflict with the desired effect of the Explainer, Refiner and Illuminator badges. If it's not the answerer's job to maintain the question why have those badges at all?
    – Fr33dan
    Oct 30, 2014 at 14:35
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    @Fr33dan The badges come to reward exceptional job, which is more than what is expected from ordinary users. Oct 30, 2014 at 14:38
  • @ShadowWizard A fair point, I hadn't considered it that way.
    – Fr33dan
    Oct 30, 2014 at 14:39
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    @JanDvorak in practice, moderation is rather discouraged: Stack Overflow technology makes me write bad answers. Just look at this very question, duplicate was displayed right there in Related tab...
    – gnat
    Oct 30, 2014 at 14:46
  • @gnat I wouldn't go so far, plus he's not talking about moderation (his answers didn't get deleted) just lack of good answers and the reason for it. Oct 30, 2014 at 14:53
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    @ShadowWizard the SE system rewards answering bad questions much more significantly than it does closing/editing them.
    – enderland
    Oct 31, 2014 at 3:45
  • @enderland this might be true, but if the system will limit answering too much it won't be Q&A site anymore. Oct 31, 2014 at 6:37
  • @ShadowWizard as of now, system is far (very far), maybe too far away from answer-limiting of any kind. SE team appears reluctant to even modest requests to control things, like When there are many answers already, help me check that mine won't repeat others or even stats requests about reliability of community protection...
    – gnat
    Oct 31, 2014 at 12:31

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