Several times over the past week (meaning 7 days, not the Stack Overflow week for which I still cannot figure out the schedule), I've written up a quick answer to a "Please debug my code and/or read the documentation for me!" questions (no, not the actual title, though fairly close on occasion). While in the midst of writing, I get a drop down banner alerting me to the fact that a new answer has been posted. Yikes! I had better hurry and finish my answer!, I think. And I do.
I read the answers, by which there are now 2 or 3, and they are all fairly similar. It wasn't such a hard question, after all, for an Stack Overflow addict like myself. I've seen this sort of things many times.
A few minutes later, meaning maybe 5 to 10, another answer is posted. Sheesh! We covered this one dude. Go find another rep source! I read it anyway, ready to add a snarky comment. But the answer is blow-my-socks-off fantastic! It explains everything the asker asked in a clear manner so as to point out the subtleties that he was missing. Yes, the answer was an obvious one-liner to the three of us who answered first, but maybe that wasn't so helpful.
Some examples for your reading pleasure (best answers by Bavarious IMHO):
- Why is xcode giving me a "method not found" error?
- Variables looking strange in NSLog?
- Using dot notation for instance methods
Here's my question: Is there a way for Stack Overflow to encourage this behaviour more? Or possibly discourage the quick and dirty answers?
A one-line answer that anyone who knows the answer recognizes as correct immediately isn't necessarily a good answer, but it's often the sort that is up voted to the point that I think it discourages others from responding with more elaboration (and clearly no one would dare edit an answer to be more clear -- why is that anyway?) I find that I often get caught up in the "write it quickly" mentality at the sacrifice of clarity and exposition. Even when I go back to edit in more detail, I'm still not taking the time I probably should. And I worry that my haste is discouraging people who would take the time and do a proper job of things. After all, the answers I've gotten from mine and (mostly) others' posts are the real value of the site, to me, not my precious reputation score.
PS: When I vote up Bavarious's answer and then delete my own, does that still count towards the Sportsmanship badge?