One of our metrics on Area 51 is questions per answer. It seems that if a person accepts an answer, it will turn some people off to adding a new answer to a question.

Currently I think there's a 15 minute wait before an answer can be accepted. Should this be increased to encourage users to submit more answers? At least until we're out of beta?

  • It's actually 15 minutes.
    – user366
    Nov 4 '11 at 14:46

"Answers per question" is a bad metric.

In a comment to my answer to that post, Jeff Atwood says:

a very high answers per question would be bad. Really bad. 2-3 is fine; 1 or lower is troubling.

We are at 2.3 right now. That's right smack in the ideal range. I think this shows that we don't need to change anything.

Just because there's an accepted answer doesn't mean that you shouldn't add another if you feel that you can add something significant (if you can add something insignificant, then just edit it unless you desperately want rep). There are even badges to get if your answer is better than the accepted one.

If there is only one answer, and it appeared quickly, and it comprehensively and clearly answers the question about as well as possible, then I think our job is done, and we don't need to be sad that there aren't more answers, or try to add lesser-quality ones somehow.


I usually wait a day or two before accepting an answer just to encourage more answers, in the hope that one of them will be a standout answer.

  • This is also my practice, but I know some users will accept the first answer they get even if there's a better one out there. Nov 3 '11 at 17:09

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