I've noticed that this site has a large number of questions that have been answered and have had the answer accepted as "best" within a very short period (sometimes only an hour) and sometimes when the question only has one answer.

Does anyone else find this cuts down on discussion? Once an answer has been "accepted as best" then, why try to improve it? Why contribute to the discussion? This process seems to lead to very shallow answers in the forum with a lack of potential creativity from the members. Maybe questions like "How can I build a LEGO heart?" would attract 10 or 15 contributions that highlight very different approaches.

Is there a reason the questions all get "best answer" chosen so quickly? Does anyone other than myself feel this process reduces creativity and contributions on the site?

Thanks for any and all feedback/thoughts!

  • 3
    If it helps, I usually suggest users wait at least 36 hours before accepting an answer, just to allow for most potential answers to make it. Some people may compose an answer in their minds but wait until later to write it down -- they may be on a mobile device, or in a situation where they cannot provide an answer immediately. Not all of us can have an intern hold our lunch tray and laptop while we respond to questions, as Jon Skeet has done! :P
    – Aarthi
    Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 5:08

1 Answer 1


It's certainly a concern to some extent: if you take a look at the stats that are tracked on Area 51 the number of answers per question is one of the key one's and we are only "OK" at them moment:

2.1 Answer Ratio: Okay – 2.5 answers per question is good, only 1 answer per question needs some work. In a healthy site, questions receive multiple answers and the best answer is voted to the top.

The How to build a Heart question you mentioned did get 3 answers with about 4 different options, but it was also a rather time-based question - it was asked for Valentines Day, so PeterDC needed an answer that day.

Also, you must remember that the point of an "Accepted Answer" is "The answer that helped the asker solve their problem" - in general this will be the best answer, but it's not always - see the comments to is it acceptable to answer a question that has an accepted answer.

While there is a minimum time you have to wait to accept an answer there's a difference between SO or other more "theoretical" sites and ourselves where not everyone has access to their bricks all the time or even MLCad or similar.

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