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There are many good questions on Stack Overflow. But sometimes the accepted answer may not be the best answer. Anyone who has a better answer to a question may be discouraged from putting down his answer since there is already an accepted answer. Would it be better for the community to encourage new answers to old questions that may deserve better answers?

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We voted down as a way of saying "no" to your question title. Downvotes on meta questions mean we disagree. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Nov 3 '11 at 7:41
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Things here on Meta are different.. down vote here means "I don't agree" that's all. It doesn't say anything about the question quality. –  Shadow Wizard Nov 3 '11 at 7:41
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It's funny that you're asking the community a question, then accusing the community of being elitist or abusive. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Nov 3 '11 at 7:54
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@BenHuh: meta.stackoverflow.com/faq#vote-differences –  Matt Nov 3 '11 at 9:48
    
@ Matt. I didn't know about that. Thanks for pointing out. –  Question Overflow Nov 3 '11 at 9:52

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I don't really understand the basis of your question. 'Should a Previously Accepted Answer be Voided by a New Answer?' implies that you want any new answer to a question to void the existing accepted answers. This seems like a mistake, since it would allow a spam answer to remove a useful answer...

Your premise seems to be a desire to encourage new answers on existing questions. There's already a way of doing this through the bounty system. If you don't think the answers on a question are of sufficient quality, you as a member of the community that feels that way, can offer a bounty on it. This raises the profile of the question for a period of time and encourages people to actively add new answers to it, particularly if you explain the reason you've offered the bounty in the comments on the question.

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I didn't mean removing an accepted answer. Just untick so that the asker can review again. It doesn't mean that points awarded should be taken away with an untick. A spammer's answer will likely be voted down or flagged as a form of deterrence. –  Question Overflow Nov 3 '11 at 9:59
    
The asker and the community may not be aware of a better answer to warrant a bounty in the first place. I am not sure whether the current system can be improved upon to attract quality answers from those who know more but hesitate to contribute. –  Question Overflow Nov 3 '11 at 10:07
    
My point was, that an accepted answer can be an indication that the answer is useful/works. Unticking it, because any answer has been posted, hides this. Setting an expectation that users are going to review their questions everytime an answer is posted is also unrealistic. It can be hard enough to get people to accept answers in the first place. If they start having to go back and review them for each new answer, it's only going to take a couple of times where they have to reselect the same answer they'd previously accepted, before they stop going back... –  forsvarir Nov 3 '11 at 10:12
    
@ forsvarir, i am not sure whether many questions would be repeatedly answered even when there is already an accepted answer. A person who answers against an already accepted answer should have strong reasons to do so or risk being down voted. –  Question Overflow Nov 3 '11 at 10:22
    
I'm skeptical that there is many people that fall in to the categories of 'knowing more' and 'hestitating to contribute' that are going to be encouraged to do so by knowing it will unaccept the current answer. Contributers will usually contribute if they feel they have something of value to add. They either have confidence that because it's valuable somebody will vote for it, or contribute for a different reason. –  forsvarir Nov 3 '11 at 10:23
    
People that don't contribute usually either don't see the question (possibly because they don't look), don't feel they can add anything, don't have time when they see the question, or lack confidence in their knowledge. I don't see how removing the accepted answer solves any of these.. –  forsvarir Nov 3 '11 at 10:24
    
@Ben Huh: Adding an answer when there is an accepted answer shouldn't be risking down votes, if you have something of value to say... that doesn't mean people don't do it (a lot, look at the review tab)... and it doesn't mean that what you've added necessarily is a better answer. It can hold value, without needing to be the new accepted answer. –  forsvarir Nov 3 '11 at 10:26
    
Ok, point taken. Thanks for presenting your views. –  Question Overflow Nov 3 '11 at 10:32

Would it be better for the community to encourage new answers to old questions that may deserve better answers?

Perhaps.

For starters, there are badges like Revival and Necromancer to reward new answers to old questions. Those badges are pretty self-explanatory.

Additionally, the community already shows support for posts through votes, and better answers will naturally receive more upvotes than not-as-good answers. Answers that are especially outstanding versus the accepted answer eventually get rewarded with the Populist badge. This all makes up quite nicely for the fact that there's no way to change which answer to a question is accepted unless you were the one who asked the question.

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I disagree with your statement "better answers will naturally receive more upvotes than not-as-good answers." To answer old questions, that is certainly not the case. –  Question Overflow Nov 3 '11 at 7:15
    
And badges like Revival and Necromancer may be difficult to earn once the traffic dies down (as in old questions). Voiding an accepted answer helps to generate that traffic by making the question unanswered again. –  Question Overflow Nov 3 '11 at 7:24
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Posting new answer cause the question to be bumped to the top view of most members (Active view) so traffic is resumed. I see many cases of accepted answer having muss less votes than other, newer, answers. –  Shadow Wizard Nov 3 '11 at 7:40
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@BenHuh - clearing the accepted answer will only make it "unanswered" if none of the answers have up-votes. –  ChrisF Nov 3 '11 at 9:56
    
@ ChrisF, I don't mean clearing it. Just removing the tick so that the asker can review again. A person who answers against an already accepted answer should have strong reasons to do so or risk being down voted. –  Question Overflow Nov 3 '11 at 10:15

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