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Time and again I am impressed by the creativity and helpfulness of the community. It sometimes hurts just being able to accept one anwer. So after having accepted one I sometimes want to say one or two final sentences explaining my choice (especially when the answers were similarily qualified). But how do I do it?

Do I...

  1. add it to the question?
  2. comment the accepted answer?
  3. comment each answer individually?
  4. don't do it?

Currently I am doing 1 that means I add a small edit saying what I have to say (like here). Is this the right way to go?

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6 Answers 6

up vote 27 down vote accepted

Here's how you give back, or provide your final thoughts.

  • Accept the single best answer that solved your problem.
  • Upvote the other answers that moved the needle.

Please do not edit your question to say thank you or tell us what option you chose to use. That's what the green checkmark is for. Saying thank you in the question, or adding additional code to the question after it is answered, is just contributing noise (and could potentially confuse users). Let your question be the question, and let the accepted answer speak for itself.

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Just leave it out.

We don't encourage "Thank you" anyway. If you want to thank all authors of answers, upvote them, and give the best answer the green check.

add it to the question?

This is clutter. Why should I read about the solutions when I'm not even there yet.

comment the accepted answer?

Noise.

comment each answer individually?

Even more noise.


If you really have to say something substantial about the way the answers differ, feel free to comment on your question, or each answer individually, to explain some potential caveats, benefits, etc. Just "thank you" has always been discouraged on Stack sites, so I wouldn't add it.

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I don't face this often. Typically I upvote all the helpful and accept the most helpful and that's an end to it. When I accept something that's not the highest voted I will usually add a comment to that answer saying why I'm accepting it. Once in a blue moon I will comment on an answer I'm not accepting, endorsing the answer in some way.

I have been the recipient of a "thanks for your input on this" identi-comment that was added to every answer on a question, including mine, and I have to say it did not result in my feeling thanked or appreciated. So don't overdo it or you might as well not do it.

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The problem with adding it to your question is none of the authors of your answers get notified of your update, so unless they remember to check back on your question later, they won't see your update.

To thank people for their effort in attempting to answer your question, the best way would be to place a comment on the answers of the authors you want to thank. This way they get notified, plus it adds a personal touch to your feedback.

Theres seldom a reason to explain your choice of correct answer beyond the green tick next to the answer. People experiencing the same problem can judge for themselves the best answer to choose; their situation may be slightly different to yours, plus answers posted after your edit may not be noticed or considered by you, but which may be a better solution.

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Good point. We are notified of upvotes (our rep goes up and we can hover to see why) and of comments on our own answers. Nothing else. –  Kate Gregory Nov 10 '11 at 16:09

Your example is unnecessary noise.

Okay, that was a little harsh, let me explain it to you: If you don't have something to say except

That's the right answer / Thank you all / Yes, it is the way

don't say it. We already know that if you've upvoted answers and accepted one.

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1  
But we don't know which answers, if any, the questioner upvoted. I can imagine "I accepted this answer because it fixed the problem, but I upvoted that answer because it provided some valuable insight" being interesting information. (Or maybe it would just be clutter.) –  Keith Thompson Nov 10 '11 at 20:49
    
@KeithThompson: If my answer was only upvoted once and the questioner accepted an answer, I always assume that it was the questioner who upvoted it. Additionally, in the end it doesn't even matter who upvoted the answer. –  Time Traveling Bobby Nov 10 '11 at 23:22

I would say give the helpful answers an upvote and then do a general shoutout as a comment to your question. The comment is a nice gesture but most people aren't going to be that worked up over it either way or care if they ever see it (and those that do will set it when they check back), and the upvote is a tangible show of love that they will carry with them forever.

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