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How does accepting an answer work?

I got two answers for the same question from different users and both of them correct and working perfectly, but I am unable to accept both of them. Why? There may be some questions that can be answered in several ways, but I can't here in Stack Overflow. Why?

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marked as duplicate by hims056, animuson, Bo Persson, ChrisF, gnat Dec 28 '12 at 11:15

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

up vote 9 down vote accepted

This is what upvotes are for. The Accepted Answer isn't meant to be the only answer - it's merely meant to represent the one which solves your problem or which you feel is best. That doesn't render the other answers wrong, and you're encouraged to upvote other answers if you feel they're also helpful. If you'd like to reward an answer beyond an upvote, I might suggest a bounty.

If you truly want to refuse to elevate one of the two answers above the other, you can simply choose to accept neither, and allow democracy to decide which should be displayed first - the one that receives the most upvotes will be displayed on top. While a low accept rate is often frowned upon in the community, not accepting an answer to one or two questions is rarely a big deal.

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To add to this: If you want to accept some answer but feel that the choice would be arbitrary, adopt a personal rule. For myself, if there are multiple answers that all deserve a checkmark, I'll give it to the one that posted the answer first. I feel like later answers may have gotten ideas from earlier ones, so I prefer to give more credit to the earlier answer. I will of course up-vote all good answers though. Another possible rule would be to give it to the person with the least rep (help the little guy out). I'm sure there are other rules you could adopt to lessen the arbitrary feeling. – Ben Lee Dec 28 '12 at 7:30

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