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I have found the community very helpful in answering questions but am often torn as to which answer to accept. I appreciate that answers are largely sorted and prioritised by the upvote downvote system. But I think it would be helpful if, as the asker of the question you had an opportunity to point out what helped you and what you felt was a uselful answer and equally what was not helpful to you.

For example, I recently posted a question in which there were some useful answers, answering different aspects of my question, It would have been nice to be able to mark at least two of those answers as correct or helpful as they both provided valuable info relevent to the question.

Equally I have had many questions which have had a lot of less than useful answers where I would have liked to be able to mark those answers as unhelpful/off topic and ideally grey them out -so that they are visible to other users but dont make it look like my question has received a lot of answers when really it hasn't.

This also affects the askers acceptance rate - I feel that this should reflect the attention you give to the answers, are you giving them time and attention they deserve or just asking questions and leaving them hangin there - rather than the quality of the answers you are receiving.

If multiple answers were to work, it would also make sense if askers of questions could update the status of their questions when reviewing an answer. For example, Resolved, outstanding, withdrawn - I feel this last one would be useful in cases where you have solved the question yourself but the answer was entirely off topic (or you have just realised you asked a stupid question) - I know they say there is no such thing - trust me there is I'm living proof.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I think it would be helpful if, as the asker of the question you had an opportunity to point out what helped you and what you felt was a uselful answer and equally what was not helpful to you

The mechanisms you have mentioned are in place:

  • Accepting an answer means you have found it most helpful
  • Upvoting an answer means you think it was helpful
  • Downvoting an answer means you think it was not helpful

I would have liked to be able to mark those answers as unhelpful/off topic and ideally grey them out

Again, this is already in place. Answers that get enough downvotes get greyed out.

Resolved, outstanding, withdrawn

  • An accepted answer means that the question was resolved
  • A question with no accepted answer means it is outstanding
  • To withdraw a question, delete it
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And it works great if you have a question with enough attention from the community. With ongoing input from different parties you can easily end up with multiple 'answers' hanging around. You could argue that these answers should be comments where they are along the lines of have you tried looking into x or trying y but since new users cant make comments this happens a lot. I have done exactly what you said in the cases aluded to, but it seems unfair that two people answering different aspects of a question get different treatment. –  WebweaverD Mar 5 '12 at 15:37
    
Resolved and outstanding would come into play IF this idea was taken on board, So I have accepted on answer which addresses one part of my question... thank you for your answer. But their is still an issue outstanding. –  WebweaverD Mar 5 '12 at 15:40
    
You shouldn't accept an partial answer then. You can comment and ask for clarification on the full part (or rather, you shouldn't be asking multiple things in one question). –  Oded Mar 5 '12 at 15:43
    
Arguably yes on the partial answer part, but I think to suggest that all questions asked here are straight cut how do I do X with a simple single answer is wishful thinking, often answering a question is a process of assisting the asker to improve their question by carrying out some diagnostic work or narrowing down the cause of a problem (something they may need assistance with). This produces a lot of excess chatter which clouds the usefulness of the answer. If I ask a question I dont know the answer or in what form it will come. –  WebweaverD Mar 5 '12 at 15:56
    
@WebweaverD - I am not suggesting anything that isn't in the FAQ. We encourage one question per post. Sometimes this produces an additional question - a good result. –  Oded Mar 5 '12 at 15:57
    
I'll accept your answer... community seems to agree with you, obviously a change is not wanted here –  WebweaverD Mar 6 '12 at 11:45

I recently posted a question in which there were some useful answers, answering different aspects of my question, It would have been nice to be able to mark at least two of those answers as correct or helpful as they both provided valuable info relevent to the question.

If two of them were helpful, upvote both.

I have had many questions which have had a lot of less than useful answers where I would have liked to be able to mark those answers as unhelpful/off topic and ideally grey them out

Downvote them. Tell them where they're wrong so others see it and can downvote as well. If they have a score of ≤ -3, they appear greyed out automatically and float to the bottom. Their owners will mostly delete them then, so as not to attract even more downvotes.

Resolved, outstanding, withdrawn

  • A question is resolved when it has an accepted answer

  • A question is outstanding when it doesn't have one – check out the http://stackoverflow.com/unanswered tab. Unanswered means that there are no upvoted answers already.

  • If you feel a question needs to be "withdrawn", you can close it as "too localized". Flag your question for moderator attention to have them to do it for you. This is the close reason that exactly fits the case "OP too stupid" (you said it yourself, don't blame me), or questions that were solved by miracles, typos, et cetera.
    You can also go ahead and have it deleted for one of these reasons (since you can't delete a question yourself when it already has upvoted answers).

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Thanks for the UV, reciprocated ;) –  Oded Mar 5 '12 at 14:50
    
Thank you for your answer, see my comments on Oded answer since you have said very similar –  WebweaverD Mar 5 '12 at 15:41

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