When someone is typing an answer, the OP (and only the OP) could view something like this:

This would tell me if someone was answering my question, and would be an indicator of whether I should hang around with the page open, or just close it and check later.

Related, not duplicates:

"User X is writing an answer" - banner to appear when another user is writing too

When answering, could we be informed that "the following people are already answering this question"?

Because they suggest everybody could see a list - rather than just the OP and some animated bubbles.

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    I'd hate for the poor fellow that decides to wait for me to post an answer to a question that i decided to wait till after lunch to finish. but, generally not a bad idea. – user400654 Dec 10 '15 at 20:40
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    This should be a dupe of Show OPs if someone is answering, live, but that's been closed as a dupe to another question, incorrectly. I'd VTC when that's been reopened... – ᔕᖺᘎᕊ Dec 10 '15 at 21:06
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    In fact, this should be a dupe of Let me know when someone is typing an answer or comment, which has also been (IMO) incorrectly closed as a dupe to a different question. The question I linked to before should be a dupe of this one that I'm linking to now. – ᔕᖺᘎᕊ Dec 10 '15 at 21:18

It's been pointed in comments, but what if I start writing an answer, and go for lunch. OP might wait a while for me to eat my steak and come back to answer.

Plus, where's the added value? I don't see any advantage to this, there's already a notification system that alerts me when there's an answer to my question. I wouldn't wait on the page for someone to write an answer when I can go navigate the site, read/answer other questions and be notified when the answer is finished.

I just don't feel like such a feature is worth the development cost/investment.

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    Easy enough to detect when the answer author stop typing for X seconds, then hide that indicator. That's not the problem, IMO. – Shadow9 Dec 10 '15 at 20:57
  • The advantage - I know whether or not to go to sleep (in this instance). – Tim Dec 10 '15 at 21:04
  • @Tim But if you're about to go sleep, can't that answer wait for the next day? – IEatBagels Dec 10 '15 at 21:07
  • @ShadowWizard You're right. That probably wasn't a good example. – IEatBagels Dec 10 '15 at 21:08
  • @TopinFrassi Yes. But it would be better if it didn't. – Tim Dec 10 '15 at 21:08
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    @Tim right, but, what's the harm if it does? A great part about the QA system used by SO is that a question can become inactive and stay that way for months, even years, then immediately pick right back up where it left off. There is no time restraint. Editing the question or giving it a bounty will bring it right back to the front of the line. – user400654 Dec 10 '15 at 21:17
  • @KevinB the harm is that my code is of lower quality. – Tim Dec 10 '15 at 21:18
  • @Tim Your code is of lower quality for a night. – IEatBagels Dec 11 '15 at 13:33

Let me see if I understand the rational for this feature request. People who ask questions are so impatient that they need an answer immediately. If someone is in the process of writing an answer, the OP needs to know this so that they can keep clicking the refresh button until they see the answer.

My advice would be to be patient and check back the next day. If you want, you can install something like SENotifier, which will give you a notification once someone answers the question or leaves a comment. I'm sure you have more productive things that you could be doing while you wait for an answer; there is no need to stare at the question page while you wait for a response.

  • Well the point of SO is quick answers...? I'm not impatient, I'm busy. I ask on SO to save time. There is no need to refresh. A day could be a long time - there could be an answer added, lots of comments etc that would be valuable to participate in. I have an app that shows I have a notification already, but that's not what this is asking for. – Tim Dec 10 '15 at 21:17
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    The point of SO is to build a lasting repository of knowledge @Tim. Quick answers are (usually) a good thing, but certainly not the main point of the site. – yannis Dec 10 '15 at 21:54
  • @Tim, Actually, it's usually faster for me to figure out a problem on my own than to ask a question on SE, wait for an answer, respond to clarifications, etc. – user160606 Dec 10 '15 at 21:59
  • @Hamlet I find it often is. But when I do ask a question, I've spent time looking for the answer. I'm not an experienced programmer, and still asking a question (esp on SO) is a last resort. For me, in the case that triggered this suggestion it was much, much faster - the personalised suggestion saved hours / days (if I even solved the issue or just lived with it). – Tim Dec 10 '15 at 22:06
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    @Tim You may find it worth reading the "You gotta get this to get us" section at meta.stackexchange.com/questions/244534/… The aim here is to get answers "instant-like" when searching. Any minimization of time to get questions answered should be seen as a bonus. – PolyGeo Dec 10 '15 at 23:10
  • @PolyGeo Umm so? That makes no difference as to "I want an answer asap" does it? I get it, I'm not going to get one right now. But I'd like to know if I'm getting one...? – Tim Dec 10 '15 at 23:21
  • @Tim I'm not trying to answer your question (answers are for that), I'm trying to explain via a comment why something that is a priority for you as a single user may not be a priority for the community, and even less so for visitors to the SE sites who are the vast majority of question and answer readers. – PolyGeo Dec 10 '15 at 23:35
  • @PolyGeo No I get that the community doesn't care about quick answers... But that's no reason not to add a service to the OP... – Tim Dec 10 '15 at 23:54

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