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I keep noticing that new participants on the site often pick the first answer to their question without waiting for others to appear. In the interest of eliciting more and perhaps better answers, could the site enforce a waiting period to accept answers, say 24 hours?

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    Apropos meta.SO thread. See this as well. – J. M.'s discontentment Jun 22 '12 at 14:30
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    Fortunately the accepted answer is not locked in like votes. They can change it later. – Szabolcs Jun 22 '12 at 16:32
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    I mostly agree. However for non-recurrent users that come here just to post a question, get an answer and return only much later to post another question this may be a nuisance. Of course one may wonder if that kind of users deserve much attention ... – Dr. belisarius Jun 22 '12 at 17:43
  • @belisarius Those non-recurrent users would get answers just a quickly. Their recognition that more answers or solutions may come and a thoughtful acceptance of answers after some period of time just might engage them more in the community. Also, the site serves as a community knowledge base which serves all participants. The better and broader the solutions elicited from the participants the better. – Jagra Jun 22 '12 at 18:47
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Quite often I add comments about early acceptance. I do think it should be discouraged. I'm not sure about enforcing a cool-down time, though. Perhaps the accept checkmark could open a dialog box (when checked within, say, 12 hrs after asking), saying something to the extent of:

Are you sure you want to accept this answer so quickly? Doing this might discourage other people from posting potentially better answers.

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How about allowing the questioner to accept straight away, but delaying the appearance of the accept to other users? There could be a message along the lines of

Your acceptance of this answer has been registered, but will not be visible on the site for 24 hours. This will encourage the posting of more answers. You can change your accepted answer at any time.

This would allow one-off or occasional users to accept an answer quickly without feeling hampered by the system, while still having the desired effect.

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    While these ideas (yours and everything else in this post) are all optimistic and hope to address the problem in some way, this is a change that will have to be applied to 80+ sites in the network with millions of users. I don't mean to dampen anyone's hopes, but I'm positive that none of this will ever be implemented because of the sheer confusion it'll create. – rm -rf Jun 27 '12 at 18:14
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    @R.M wouldn't that be an argument against any change? Changes are possible and do happen. My suggestion wouldn't change anything to how SE works, it would just add one informative dialog box. – Sjoerd C. de Vries Jun 29 '12 at 6:34

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