As part of solving the "Fastest Gun In The West" problem I think there should be a time delay before a user can accept an answer.

As someone asking a question, I'll usually wait a bit just to ensure that others have a chance to answer. However, there've been several times when I've come to a question asked in the prior 30 minutes with an accepted answer... where the accepted answer really isn't really the best answer or a complete answer, or is a total tangent answer.

E.g. (fictitious question)

Q: How do I set the value of a hidden form element in
   JavaScript/.Net MVC to the value of a another select element?

A: Use jQuery.

Don't get me wrong, I think jQuery is great. However, I think the community would be better served with the "more" correct/complete answers.

For the record, I am aware that there is an enforced delay (48h?) in accepting your own answer, to your own question (and I applaud this fully).


3 Answers 3


As soon as your problem is fixed (by your definition). Since you can always change the accepted answer.

  • 3
    I think the point is that by accepting an answer "too quickly" you're potentially stopping someone else posting a better answer.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Jun 28, 2009 at 17:19
  • 1
    As by my definition, if your problem is solved, why should anyone else try to fix it? Commented Jun 28, 2009 at 17:20
  • Though if part of the aim of SO (and the other sites) is to raise the skill level of the community as a whole, wouldn't it be a good idea to have the better answer posted. I do accept your point though.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Jun 28, 2009 at 17:29
  • 1
    I'll admit... I wasn't aware that you could change the accepted answer... hmmm maybe quick answers aren't all that bad then.
    – scunliffe
    Commented Jun 28, 2009 at 17:29
  • @Ólafur, not all questions are about troubleshooting where the “problem” can be fixed and forgotten (eg how can I fix my mouse driver?) or questions with a single answer (eg how do you asign a value to variable in C++?); there are plenty of questions that can be answered, but then the answer improved upon or even given an even better answer (eg how can I improve my system’s cooling?, how can I make my sorting routine faster?, etc.)
    – Synetech
    Commented Jul 13, 2011 at 3:48
  • @Synetech 1. The accepting mechanism has been changed since this question was asked, so now there is a slight delay from when you ask to when you can accept. Which is fine and gives the question time to breathe. 2. Should a person wait forever for the best answer to appear when his problem is fixed? If he's interested in more answers then he can ask another question with the added information he has gained from the first one. 3. This question is referring to SO and on that site if a question is to vague or has no definitive answer, it can be closed due to that reason. Commented Jul 13, 2011 at 14:06

Just long enough for someone to post an answer that meets your needs. If that happens in 5 seconds, then 5 seconds*... if it takes a month, then a month.

Don't rush. I know some people get irritated (and the site likes to nag you) when no answer is accepted, but screw 'em - you're the one asking the question, it's your prerogative to accept any or no answers.

Finally, WRT the "use jQuery" answer: if that works for you, then accept it. It may not be the best answer for 99% of everyone else reading the question, and so never achieve the top score... but that's not what Accepted means.

*Ok, so you actually have to wait at least 15 minutes, since the system prevents you from accepting sooner. Something about folks accepting the first answer that came along...


It's my understanding you can choose a new answer to accept if a "more correct" or more helpful answer is posted.

  • 1
    Most of the time the asker may never look at the question again, and therefore would never accept another answer. Commented Jun 28, 2009 at 17:35
  • Don't we get notifications when new answers are added? Personally, that would lead me to go back to the question and possibly re-evaluate the given answers. Commented Jun 28, 2009 at 17:44

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