Considering that a lot of questions got good answers just a few minutes after the question, and that some people need more information for better understanding and better answers: how much time is polite to be 'outside' of Stack Overflow once a question was posted and then return back to check answers and comments in your question?

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    Fourteen seconds. – mmyers Nov 18 '10 at 22:59
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    Six to eight weeks? – Michael Todd Nov 18 '10 at 23:22
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    I try to check back several times in the first hour, but the behavior is self-correcting: people who persist in abandoning their questions for long periods will get less satisfactory results. Then they will either learn better or go away... – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Nov 19 '10 at 1:38

Difficult to tell. Very often, when people ask questions, they will return after a few hours to check on the progress.

It also depends on how badly you need an answer, I guess. A comment that doesn't get answered quickly will simply be forgotten by users, until you respond.

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    This "return after a few hours to check on the progress" time scales is entirely appropriate for many forums on the internet, and is usually a sign of a user unfamiliar with SOFUE. – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Nov 19 '10 at 1:36

You get the Fastest Gun In The West answers for at minimum the first 5 minutes after you post. Usually a crappy version, quickly typed to get lazy upvotes or to lock-in the Enlightened badge. Meanwhile, the answerer still works on typing a real answer. Give them another 5 minutes in case they were a bit late to seeing it. Posting a comment that says "what do you mean" is a waste of your time, wait 10 minutes.

Find a sword to pass the time.

When fifteen minutes have passed and you still didn't get a meaningful answer then you've got a problem with your question, it isn't good enough. Jump in and start editing your post, you'll need to give a lot more details. You have however entered the very long tail of SO, your edit can only bump it up-hill a bit. The odds of a sugar daddy showing up to cast the spell are low. Start looking around for somebody else's question to answer so you have enough rep to put a sizable bounty on yours.

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  • +1 for cynical realism :D – Pekka Nov 19 '10 at 0:58
  • Although, looking at the update, I wouldn't see it as bleakly. I frequently see questions first answered three, five, seven hours after asking. – Pekka Nov 19 '10 at 1:13
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    Besides drowning us in your bitterness, this doesn't even answer the question. He wants to know how often people should be expected to check in and answer comments or address confusion, not how fast they should expect an answer to come in – Michael Mrozek Nov 19 '10 at 4:22
  • +1 @Michael Mrozek, you are right: the question is not about speed in the answers. I found very interesting all this comments, btw. – Edgar Nov 19 '10 at 4:43
  • A long tale but a sad one... – Rosinante Nov 19 '10 at 13:22
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    I don't get the bitter and sad comments. I'm pretty sure that a significant majority of SO users like it just fine and wouldn't have it any other way. Well, except the bit about not getting an answer within 15 minutes. – Uphill Luge Nov 19 '10 at 13:44

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