I originally posted this question on Writing.SE (How to Encourage (or Make) Questioners Wait to Choose Best Answer) and was encouraged to post it here.

Much too often, a newer questioner will choose a "best answer" within hours (or sometimes minutes) of submitting a question. This is frustrating for many reasons and discourages people from submitting new answers.

I realize people disagree but I find that I often don't bother to leave an answer when a best answer has already been chosen, even if my answer will be different from any of the published ones.

I've also seen the best answer change rapidly. In those and other cases, sometimes the questioner will comment that s/he didn't know that s/he could only pick one answer. In other words, questioners sometimes can't tell the difference between a best answer and an upvote.

I know that the prevailing wisdom is to wait 48 hours. But most people don't know or don't care (I've also been told by questioners that they choose a best answer to get the rep points, even though waiting would not change that).

I will note that the system makes you wait 48 hours before accepting your own answer to your question.

Is there a way to build in a waiting period? Or a pop-up that asks "are you sure?" before the person can proceed? Or a note on the question itself?

One example: What is the character called that is only there so we can have information from the main characters?

In this case, the questioner chose the first (and only) answer very quickly. A couple of hours at most. But the first answer is wrong. A second answer, with correct information, came up and is languishing. Had the questioner waited, he still might have chosen the first question, and that would be his right, but I don't think he would have.

Is there a way we can make this process better? It's one thing if questioners choose answers most people wouldn't have chosen. But the real issue is that most questioners don't understand what the checkmark means or how to use it.

(Note: this question is echoed in Wait To Select Best Answer but that question asks "Are there cases in which it is preferable to not select a best answer at all?" which is not what I'm asking.)

  • 2
    There is a waiting period, but it's rather short: 15 minutes. Maybe suitable for Stack Overflow but not so much for the more subjective sites.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Commented Nov 28, 2018 at 7:52
  • I do see users posting comments directed at the OP if this happens, sometimes even from the author of the accepted answer(!)
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Commented Nov 28, 2018 at 7:54
  • 1
    Yeah, I've posted comments too. It often doesn't work, it's a PITA (especially for the moderators who try to do this regularly), it doesn't remove the original confusion, and it doesn't change people's behavior going forward. It's also a problem that people with very low rep can't upvote, so they use the best answer check instead.
    – Cyn
    Commented Nov 28, 2018 at 15:11
  • 2
    Considering 15 minutes works for Stack Overflow, perhaps this feature could be made set-able per Stack Exchange site by the moderators? Or would that be too confusing? Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 13:20
  • While I'd also like to see slightly more information on the page to go to the questioner, I'd be perfectly happy with each SE being allowed to set the waiting period that works for it. Then I'd petition Writing and Worldbuilding to set it to 48 hours.
    – Cyn
    Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 15:06

1 Answer 1


Please vote on this proposal:

Allow each Stack Exchange site the ability to change the waiting period before a questioner can choose a Best Answer.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .