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Wouldn't it be better if an answer could be accepted only after some time after posting a question (say 24 hours)? I think this would help in accepting the truly best answer. Often (especially when a newbie) asks a question, the grateful user click-happily accepts an answer and has no possibility of accepting a more competent answer, which may come in later. What do you think?

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    "has no possibility of accepting a more competent answer" is wrong. You can accept any other answer at any time. Also there is some time limit, but it is rather 15min or so, not 24h. With 24h I fear some new users might not return the next day, just to accept the answer. – Martin Scharrer Nov 16 '11 at 15:46
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    Maybe it would be good to extend that time limit? – Count Zero Nov 16 '11 at 15:47
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    An automated message that it is a good to wait a little would be more useful. There are already enough time restrictions on the site. – Martin Scharrer Nov 16 '11 at 16:01
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I think let's have as few restrictions as possible. The 15 minutes time before the answer can be accepted has been implemented as a minimal sensible time for having a chance for some answers and evaluating them, see Time limit on accepting an answer.

If we extend it that time, we risk that users who got their answer don't return for accepting, leaving questions open. And it doesn't feel good if one notices that he is not allowed to accept a great answer yet. Looking at these drawbacks I don't see a need for making this restriction. As the OP gets notified of a new answer, he can check it and if he changes his mind accept the new answer instead. If somebody doesn't consider that, can I expect that he would return after 24 hours and then read the new answers and choose one to accept it?

Note, the accepted answer doesn't have to be the best one. It's the answer which helped the OP the most in his particular situation. The next one on the list could be the best or at least the most popular, as voted by the community. Reader should not stop after reading the top answer.

It's good if we voluntarily wait some time before accepting, as we agreed here: Should we wait a bit before accepting answers.

  • I could counter your argument with the remark that this short lockdown time can also be responsible for a user never coming back to see new answers. Once the problem is solved, he might lose interest in returning to see some other solution and may accept an answer, which is barely a code snippet without a minimal explanation/comment. – Count Zero Nov 16 '11 at 17:20
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    @CountZero I completely agree with the motivation of your question. Also, questions with accepted answers might less likely attract further answers, I assume. I'm just worried, those 24 hours could have an undesired effect, much more then those 15 minutes. – Stefan Kottwitz Nov 16 '11 at 20:34
  • @CountZero: Also, if a better answer is added it still can get up-voted higher than the accepted one. This way the answerer gets reputation as well and other people will also spot that answer as being good. – Martin Scharrer Nov 17 '11 at 11:22

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