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This question already has an answer here:

Stack Overflow allows for a user to "answer your own question, Q&A style" (you can even tick a box that allows you to post the answer at the same time as the question), but you are not allowed to accept your own answer until 2 days have elapsed.

I guess in some cases, this is because someone else might post a better answer than the one posted by the OP, but in that case, why not just allow people to change the accepted answer?

Example of Q&A style question

marked as duplicate by gnat, Glorfindel, rene, Shokhet, Community Mar 2 '17 at 14:06

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • oh darn, that didn't come up in the list of possible duplicates when I was typing the question :( – Yvonne Aburrow Mar 2 '17 at 14:02
  • and although the answers to that question were very good, the question itself wasn't very well worded – Yvonne Aburrow Mar 2 '17 at 14:06
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This is done to avoid the situation where the first answer to come in gets accepted immediately.

If this is not done, many askers will not wait for more answers to come in and simply mark the first (and at that time, likely only) answer as accepted.

This is problematic because it discourages others from answering (oh, there's an accepted answer there nothing to do), meaning better answer have less of a chance of coming in.

And if there are no better answers coming in... we all lose. In particular the question OP, who by accepting immediately reduces their chance of getting better answers.

Additionally, many of the smaller sites do not have a lot of traffic - it can easily take two days for people to get around to seeing new questions - not to say answering them.

  • I was going to accept your answer, because that seems entirely reasonable, but ironically, I have to wait nine minutes :D – Yvonne Aburrow Mar 2 '17 at 12:35
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    Well - perhaps someone will post a better answer in that time ;) – Oded Mar 2 '17 at 12:36
  • Is this specific to self-answering? The first answer coming in is generally that from OP. – Patrick Hofman Mar 2 '17 at 12:36
  • @PatrickHofman - well, the 2 day limit, yes. But the accept delay exists to avoid the fastest gun problem - even if it is just for a few minutes. – Oded Mar 2 '17 at 12:38

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