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I asked a question on SO.
I got comments and answers. While answers are a generally correct suggestions - they did not really help me. But they could not help me at all since the bug I asked about was just a misunderstanding and no one could have helped me with that...

Should I accept an answer? If yes - it can mislead people. If not - my accept rate will be damaged. Deleting the question will remove some very constructive comments which others can benefit from.

Should I give my own answer and accept it? Kind of dirty play gaining points for that, no?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

It depends on whether the question itself is flawed.

If you ask something like, "How can I accept requests from multiple sockets at the same time" only to find out that a single concurrent request is good enough for you, but someone comes along and actually explains how to do it (correctly) it is appropriate to mark it as the answer. As long as the question itself is valid, and someone answers the question as asked marking it as the answer is fine, even if it didn't help you solve your problem.

If your question is more along the lines of, "Here is a code sample, it's deadlocking [here], but I don't know how to resolve it, help" and it turns out that it's not actually deadlocking at all, you just paused the code in the debugger, then chances are there won't (or can't) be any answer that will actually answer the question. Here there are a few options. If someone else is smart enough to say, "the question is flawed, the code is actually working and your problem is elsewhere" you could mark that as the answer. If there is no such answer, feel free to post your own explaining the fundamental problems in the question, and what you did to resolve it.

Also keep in mind that you aren't obligated to accept an answer. No matter what anyone else tells you, if you don't feel that any of the current answers to your question answer the question by whatever criteria that you feel is relevant, you shouldn't mark one as the answer. Marking an answer that doesn't actually solve the problem just to improve your accept rate does more harm than good. If you want to accept an answer, even though you didn't use it's solution, just because you felt it was a great answer to the question, that is also fine, but that is a choice you make.

As always, any answer that you felt was beneficial or helpful, even if it doesn't actually answer the question, can be given an upvote. If someone said something that lead you towards a line of thought that you used in solving your problem, or just taught you some new (but unrelated) information, then an upvote is a great way to give that positive feedback.

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1  
That being said, users should strive to accept as many answers as they deem possible. Don't be this guy. –  SomeKittens Nov 1 '12 at 23:18

The best course of action would be to post your answer, how you fixed it, what the actual problem was, and then accept your answer if nobody else can describe it as good or better. There is not problem with accepting your own answer, and I am not sure if it even awards you reputation.

and for the "dirty play" on accepting your own answer, that's not necessarrily dirty. If your answer can surpass all the other answers, then there is no problem with accepting your answer, as much of the community would have done the same with thiers.

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If the answers were useful, and they helped you solve your problem, you should upvote them. If one in particular is very useful and correct enough to warrant it, accept it.

If, however, none of the answers are quite good enough to be the accepted answer, go ahead and write your own. No reason not to write and accept a thorough answer yourself if you have the solution and another answer doesn't describe it yet. No need to worry about playing dirty - you won't get points for the accept. You may get reputation for upvotes, but that is only if others decide to vote it up (you could avoid this by making it Community Wiki).

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As I mentioned, the answers did not help me to solve the original problems since they simply could not based on the information I supplied. Will take the advise and upvote them –  Louis Shraga Nov 1 '12 at 20:21

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