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Recently I forgot to check a question as "Answered". Since it remained unanswered for a day or three, many other proposed answers were given, and some of them were really better than the first answer.

I have a tendency to mark a question as answered as soon as there is a reasonably satisfactory answer, up but someone else could come along in a day or two and post a better answer.

(Note that this feature request is unrelated to self answers!)

Proposed feature:

Allow the user to click the "Answered" checkbox immediately if they want (current behavior), but also provide an option for a checkmark that means "Mark as Answered if no other answers are provided within X amount of time." That way I can check the box and forget about it, but get notification if somebody provides another answer, so I can review and see if it is better.

The icon could be a smaller checkbox or maybe a checkbox with it clock in the corner.

This is not intended to be an automated process! I still have to click something answered, or optionally, answered with a time-delay to keep and the unanswered queue just a bit longer. That way the OP (a human) has decided that the answer is good, but once leave a bit more time for even better answers.

(Additionally, perhaps self answers should have this feature disabled since this question received so many downvotes!)

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    What is the problem with no checkmark? As you said - what if somebody comes along later and provides a better answer? That might be tomorrow or it might be two weeks from now or two years from now. Why is there a hurry for accepting at all?
    – VLAZ
    Feb 22, 2023 at 21:48
  • (Wow, this might be the most DV's I've ever had!) ahem, but to answer your question: because SE would provide a notification/popup/notice of some kind to the effect of "Remember to click the checkmark if a question has been answered." I interpreted that as pressure to mark the question as answered, assuming community best practices to attribute reputation points. It didn't tell me anything to the effect of "but you might wait longer for better answers" or "only click this if this really is the best answer that it can be".
    – KJ7LNW
    Feb 22, 2023 at 23:59
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    "Answered" is not a synonym of "accepted".
    – PM 2Ring
    Feb 23, 2023 at 2:48

1 Answer 1

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From the Help Center, emphasis mine:

Accepting an answer is not meant to be a definitive and final statement indicating that the question has now been answered perfectly. It simply means that the author received an answer that worked for them personally.

If you accept an answer an hour after it's posted, there's no problem with that. Yes, some new users may accept an answer too early, but I'd rather solve that than to suggest a time limit.

You already get a notification for every new answer. If the new answer is better, there's no issue at all accepting that answer instead of your previously chosen one. Also, there's absolutely no (system or community-imposed) pressure towards a question author to accept an answer within a week or so. (If you do see comments suggesting that, feel free to flag them as No longer needed Not needed at all). Hence, I don't see any value in providing a time delay of some sorts in acceptance votes.

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    Regarding "no (system or community-imposed) pressure towards a question author to accept an answer within a week or so", and maybe this changed, but I recall that SE would say "Remember to click the checkmark if a question has been answered." I did interpret this as pressure to answer the question, assuming community best practices to attribute reputation points. It didn't tell me anything to the effect of "but you might wait longer for better answers" or "only click this if this really is the best answer that it can be"
    – KJ7LNW
    Feb 22, 2023 at 23:59
  • Fair enough - I don't know when exactly that message starts to appear (or when it disappears) but it may be on the early side. I don't see it here yet.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Feb 23, 2023 at 8:19

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