Recently, I've seen something that just doesn't fit right with me.

There have been quite a lot of cases recently, where an answer has been accepted very soon after it has come in, in some cases before another author has finished with writing his answer. Therefore there are quite a few questions with an answer, that is not the accepted answer, having more upvotes.

Shouldn't something be done about this? Or should be just rely on the voting system to let new visitors know, that the most upvoted answer probably is the best?

I would suggest adding a comment on these questions, pointing this out. It may not deter new users from doing it all over again, but it would probably help users avoid this problem again.

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One thing is though, that accepted answers can be changed. –  KronoS Mar 10 '11 at 23:00
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Answers cannot be accepted within the first 10 minutes or so (at least it's like that on other SO sites). Maybe this should be applied AFTER the first answer is given. or some type of formula applied to suggest that the user wait a bit longer based on traffic/views or similar metrics. –  DustinDavis Mar 16 '11 at 14:59
    
@DustinDavis That's not a bad idea, you should suggest it on meta.stackoverflow. –  Matthew Read Mar 23 '11 at 14:11

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

I definitely agree that users should hold out to see if better answers are given.

Sadly, there's nothing the system can do to prevent this, it's more a matter of etiquette that you should not. So our only option is to 'guide' users by leaving comments and hope they change their habits in the future.

Though one should not forget that you can always change the accepted answer! But sadly, accepted answers discourage new answers, so it's preferable if they don't accept too early.

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Keep in mind that the accepted answer is the answer that most helped the question asker. That's all it is. There is no reason why an asker should wait for more answers if their problem is solved. Votes are indicative of which answer provides the best information for the community as a whole, and in my opinion the question asker should not be accepting answers on that basis. Besides, what point is there in having the option to accept an answer if you're only going to choose the one with the most votes? That's just redundant.

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While true @Matthew, if it's done too soon other users might skip the question even though they have a better answer. And I'd hope that the best answer would help the OP most as well, so in most cases they are the same. –  Ivo Flipse Mar 11 '11 at 21:05

I would question why answers are being accepted too early. That would give better insight for solving the problem. If an answer addresses the issue or is of high quality, then maybe it is appropriate. Perhaps though people are too hastily excited that they just have an answer. The fact that the Internet is so instantaneously gratifying doesn't help; unfortunately, fitness and health doesn't happen overnight.

The best thing to do would be to continue creating and nurturing the type of environment that was intended by the site. If the environment is properly established by the community leaders, then that should (hopefully) induce the right behavior out of newer and incoming folks.

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Perhaps I should stop answering questions right after they're posted as well ;-) –  Ivo Flipse Mar 24 '11 at 16:44

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