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I recently had an answer I gave selected as The Answer to a question. A couple days later, the OP updated his question to ask a follow-up question, and revoked his selection of my answer. I.e. my original answer is still correct and valid, but the reputation points are arguably being held hostage pending my ability and willingness to followup on this.

(I don't believe this is through any malice on the OP's part - rather, I suspect it's just ignorance of how SO works).

Are there guidelines for etiquette that apply here? Is this documented anywhere?

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The OP can accept or unaccept any answer at anytime for any reason. That said you should look at the vampire tag on meta to see how people deal with OPs that engage with answers in this way and what the community thinks. –  Some Helpful Commenter Nov 27 '12 at 21:18

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

At a quick glance, it looks like the mistake here may not have been revoking the acceptance, but rather this:

He accepted your answer before he confirmed it worked.

It doesn't look like he changed what he was asking; the edit simply seems to update that after accepting the answer, his implementation of your solution didn't seem to work.

In that case, revoking the acceptance is correct. Leaving it sends bad signal to others in that it implies that it solved the problem when it didn't.

The problem may well be in how he applied your answer, rather than the answer itself, but so long as he can't confirm that the solution works, it shouldn't be marked as accepted.

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My answer does work for him - he says as much in his "Nope, it was a minor typo ..." comment - the followup question he asked was the result of a common JS pitfall that is not directly relevant to his question (or my answer.) –  Robert Kieffer Nov 27 '12 at 21:24
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Yes, it did, I just realized then that I didn't know what was OS policy on follow up questions: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/156900/… Btw sorry for the problem. –  NPS Nov 27 '12 at 21:34

When is it okay / not okay to revoke an answer?

It is always okay for the OP to revoke an answer whenever they want. The marked answer is the mechanism for the OP to indicate which (if any) of the answers solve their problem. If they realize at any future point that a marked answer doesn't actually solve their problem (possibly because there was a problem with it that wasn't noticed earlier) or another answer comes along that the OP decides he would rather use, then it is not only okay, but preferable, for them to change which answer is marked as accepted.

It is actually more of a problem for this community when an OP marks an answer that they didn't use, haven't tested, and happens to not solve their problem (I'm not saying that's the case here, just addressing the general case). When OPs mark an answer just to improve their accept rate (as an example) it provides misleading information to the future visitors coming via Google.

If your answer is of high quality and the community finds it helpful then ideally you will get some upvotes for the answer, regardless of whether or not the OP marks it as the accepted answer.

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