Everyone is excited to see the private beta in action. I'm sure folks want to test out all the new features, etc., but accepting answers quickly can be a bummer.

First, before you accept an answer quickly, consider that if your question could be answered that quickly, then it was probably not a very good question for this stage of the site to begin with.

Secondly, once you accept an answer, others are less likely to contribute what could well be better or more complete information, and you'll never know how they might have answered. Folks will be less likely to vote up your questions, too.

Finally, please consider others. This site will close down questions that appear to be duplicates. So if you accept a quick answer, but one that might have in retrospect been mediocre, then your decision has unintended consequences down the road.

The site has only been in private beta a couple of hours, and folks are accepting answers before some of us can even read the questions.

Ask questions, yes. Answer questions, yes. Vote early and vote often, yet. But ... but ...is there any reason for us to rush in to accept answers during the private beta?

  • 2
    Yes, let us make sure this site has the best chance to be successful. Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 1:24
  • 1
    I've only asked one question so far but I was planning on waiting a day or two before selecting an answer.
    – Justin808
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 2:08
  • 3
    @Justin808 - The asker can change the accepted answer and I believe there is no time limit on that.
    – lkessler
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 2:27

3 Answers 3


This new answer is offered to bring this topic back to the top of the stack because (anecdotal evidence suggests) the issue is still very real.

We are seeing questions posed and answers accepted within 12 hours or less. SE is a world-wide resource and somewhere there is a time zone where users did not even see the question before it was green-ticked.

If it is the case that accepting an answer has the effect of reducing further answer submissions (and even views), then we are doing ourselves no favours by rushing to tick.

(And it makes me look like a bad person when I am sitting on fabulous answers to two questions for several days before accepting!)

  • I'm also sitting on 3 questions that have attracted some really good answers but for which I suspect there are still pieces of the answer missing. I don't feel guilty for doing so, nor do I think I should. I was planning on waiting up to a month to see if anything else shows up.
    – user104
    Commented Nov 1, 2012 at 17:54
  • @ColeValleyGirl Ditto for me. Starting to feel some pressure, but still waiting for more gold nuggets that I'm sure are out there. Commented Nov 4, 2012 at 5:07

Let me address the issue with accepting answers as I feel you've brought up an important point that needs to be shared.

Keep in mind that the goal of any Stack Exchange site is to be a resource of knowledge for future visitors. The traffic gained from having really outstanding questions and answers is what will bring more experts, professionals, and enthusiasts to the site.

Therefore, Stack Exchange encourages people to write better answers, even if an accepted answer already exists.

Thus, when you view a question, and the op (original poster) is satisfied with the answer, think this:

How can I write an answer that would solve this same problem for someone else with this same question?

In fact, if you write an even better answer than what's already there, you're likely to provide more context to future visitors as well as get more upvotes.

Lastly, for those seeking reputation, remember that an accept is a mere 15 points, whereas a really great answer can get 10 or more upvotes, which is 100 reputation!

So fear not the accepted answers. Go ahead and provide your answer, as long as you have something to add or can write a better one!

Lastly, and this is important for question askers, you can change the accepted answer at any time! This is not permanent. If somebody comes along five minutes, ten minutes, a year later and writes a better answer, you can uncheck your previously accepted answer and select another.

  • I agree. I'm not too concerned about it.
    – user47
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 2:27
  • @jmort253 From a practical standpoint, activity on the question and answer slows or stops when an answer is selected. I see this comment by users of other SE sites, too. During the private beta we should be setting a higher bar for what may be a audience largely new to the SE culture.
    – GeneJ
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 2:36
  • 1
    @GeneJ - It's not a bad idea to attack this from both sides, actually. Encouraging people to wait a few days before clicking the big green checkbox is by no means bad advice. :)
    – jmort253
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 3:36

I just answered a question that was really too general.

It was pointed out in a comment that it was too general and should be more specific and I agreed.

So I added a comment to edit their question and make it more specific and then deleted my answer because I wouldn't have been able to answer the more specific one (which would require expertise in a certain area).

So let's encourage editing and re-editing until the questions are suitable for experts to answer.

  • Double +1 Yes!!
    – GeneJ
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 2:25
  • You should provide a link for context, and to also help guide others.
    – jmort253
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 3:37
  • @jmort253 - Done.
    – lkessler
    Commented Oct 13, 2012 at 6:34

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