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I've noticed that some questions are being asked, answered, and accepted in very short periods of time. Accepts are great but, particularly as this site contains a lot of subjective-ish content, I feel it's important to share this post from English Language Learners Meta.


So, someone has answered your question, and you haven't even waited a full hour yet. That's great! As you might already know, the Stack Exchange model encourages you to accept an answer from those given. As one meta post says:

Accepting an answer is important as it both rewards posters for solving your problem and informs others that your issue is resolved.

However, that post also says:

You might wait 24 to 48 hours to give other people a chance to give you a better answer. A question with an accepted answer isn't as likely to receive further attention as one without an accepted answer.

I wholeheartedly endorse that recommendation (I've often said 12-to-24 hours, instead of 24-to-48, but the sentiment is the same: give others time to look at your question before accepting an answer).

I think waiting is especially appropriate for [an interpersonal skills site], for a few reasons:

  • Your first answer may not be a good one. Few things on SE are more frustrating than to see someone post a really good question, then see someone else dish out erroneous guidance, and then see the O.P. accept that answer just a few minutes later! That first answer might sound good to you, but how do you know that the matter is truly settled, or that the answer you've been given is even a good one?

  • There is often more than one way to look at a [interpersonal skills] question. Getting a one-and-done answer might work on a Programmer's exchange, where a snippet of code might help you solve your immediate problem and get back to work. But [these] questions can't be tested with a compiler and a few test cases in the same way an C++ question can.

  • Accepting an answer early makes people less likely to look at your question. This makes it less likely that you'll get another answer, but, equally important, it makes it less likely that people will take a good hard look at the answers you've been given, so a truly bad answer might be less likely to get the comments or downvotes that it deserves.

  • We have users from all over the world. You may ask a question in India, or Iran, or Italy, and accept it an hour or two later. Depending on what time it is, there's a good chance that no one in the United States or Canada has even looked at your question yet – they're all asleep in bed! [. . . ]

  • Accepting answers quickly may encourage quick answers. Some people might race to answer a question fearing that they'll lose a chance to earn rep if they take their time. However, some questions are tougher than they might first appear; perhaps these should take some more time to answer, or be improved with additional research. Let your question percolate in the minds of the community for awhile.

As much as the person answering your question might appreciate a quick 15 points, please, give it some time. Allow ample time for others to evaluate that initial answer: to offer corrections if they think it's not accurate, amendments if they think there's more to the story, or alternatives if they think there might be more than one good answer to the question.

Your question might end up better as a result, and [Interpersonal Skills] as a whole might be better off, too. Accepted answers that seem hastily written or downright unreliable will neither bolster our reputation nor encourage newcomers to return.


I've changed the sections in brackets to relate here (and added the FGitW link) but overall, I think this is a great thing to consider. Please, give the community time to reflect and vote before you accept an answer.

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  • I really agree here, I think the 24-48 is more apt as then it can account for timezones and people being asleep when a question is asked. For example recently there have been a couple of questions which have been asked and had an accepted answer as I sleep. – Crafter0800 Jun 29 '17 at 8:23
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I agree here. Accepting an answer is telling someone that one particular way of approaching a situation is better than others. Interpersonal Skills is one of, if not the most, subjective skills. Drawing a line in the sand and saying that one particular approach is better than the rest mentioned is hard to do in a few moments. Even a few hours can be tricky to fully feel out a situation.

I recommend giving questions about a day to give people the chance to understand, ask follow-up questions, experiment, and then come back to answer. This also opens up the possibility of follow-up with applied experience and more in-depth analysis of questions.

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I absolutely agree.

I go as far as suggesting waiting even an entire week if necessary.

One should wait at least as long as the question is "hot", meaning answers are frequently coming, due to the question being visible on top of the front page somewhere.

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Personally I never accept answers during private beta. The pool of potential answer givers is to small.

After private beta, I recommend waiting at least 2 days to encourage more well thought out answers.

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I like to wait a day or two after I've asked a question before accepting an answer. That's 1) Because I don't want to discourage other answers and 2) Because it's hard to know if someone will come up with a better answer unless "enough" time has been allowed.

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