There are many questions where the answer is never accepted, but there are also some questions where the answer is accepted very quickly. I understand we can't make any rules here, but this doesn't raise the quality of answers either. In these cases - even if I have some ideas, I have zero motivation to answer them (yes, partly because there are poor chances to get any rep, but there are also poor chances that the person who actually searches answer to that question will read past the first answer).

  • Rowland is right, my example was bad. There is no way to find out afterwards when the answer was accepted and I confused answer's adding time with answer's accepting time. My apologies.
    – Karel
    Sep 3, 2010 at 7:12
  • I checked, your example was accepted in 4.5 hours) Sep 7, 2010 at 12:14

3 Answers 3


I think the time is irrelevant. If the answer fits and you are satisfied, go ahead and mark it as the answer.

The other side of this is if you see a question that has an answer marked, but you have a better one, go ahead and answer. Just because the question has an answer does not mean that it is closed. In fact, there is even a badge that promotes this idea.

  • Generally agree. One little counter point to make (just because I like being the devils advocate ;P), is that if you accept too soon, you might miss a better answer soon to come. Of course, you can always reassign the accepted answer if you think another one is better.
    – jrista
    Sep 4, 2010 at 16:29
  • I've seen instances where the accepted answer has changed too. Sep 4, 2010 at 17:05
  • For some reason I was under impression that the accepted answer is locked, just like votes. So it's a non-issue then.
    – Karel
    Sep 4, 2010 at 18:27
  • @Karel I believe they might become locked, but not as quickly as votes - it may be that you have to wait for a new answer. It might be worth an experiment with an old question that accepted an answer to and double checking :) Sep 7, 2010 at 12:12

I think a good rule of thumb is to wait at least a day, to give other members a chance to respond. Even if the first answer is given shortly after the question is asked, there's nothing wrong with waiting for any other input that may be coming. The upper end of the range should b e a week, again, to give the community time to add responses.

  • I agree, as this gives people across different time zones a reasonable window to answer the question.
    – ab.aditya
    Feb 23, 2011 at 5:22

A day or two is par (I seem to remember you cannot accept your own answer until the question is two days old, so that's a good enough precedent for me)

Don't forget that answers can be accepted days after they were added; so whilst the answer on that question was added 3 minutes after the question, it was "most likely" accepted later (the actual time isn't shown).

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