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?
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.)