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Suppose I asked a for a solution to a problem I had in a particular environment. But before the answer arrived, I lost access to the original environment.

For example if some question was about a particular SW and OS version, this could happen after changing (employer and) workplace to one with different OS, or updating SW or completely abandoning it.

Now the answer seems correct and I'd like to accept it but I have no way of verifying it.

I have several unaccepted answers like this and I feel like it's unhealthy for my Accept Rate, and more importantly, I believe the author deserves their Accept Rep. Example on SU: Disabling "Sign In " tab on startup - first, the Chrome version is is outdated, and second, I lost access to Windows platform (...yeah, that lucky kid I am! .-D)

I thought of:

  • Simply accepting the answer without verification (provided it has much more votes than next one)

  • Trying to create similar environment and verifying it there, probably "updating" question

    Which might be unfair since other answer might come out as "correct".

  • Just leaving the question as is; no accepting

Is any of the above generally advisable? Is there a rule of thumb?

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Oh, now I see meta.stackexchange.com/questions/10672/…, which is quite overlapping (not 100%, though) –  Alois Mahdal Jan 24 '13 at 15:18

2 Answers 2

An accepted answer is supposed to be the one that worked for you.

If something did not work, or you cannot possibly see if it works for whatever reasons then that answer should not be accepted.

Even though accept rates do matter, they are not something that should cause you to start accepting answers just because those answers are highly upvoted.

Highly upvoted answers reflect what the community thinks should be the solution, not what actually is/will be the solution in your specific case.

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You are in an odd position with an Answer that "seems" correct but you have no way of verifying. I don't think there's a good argument for accepting answers just to improve your acceptance rate, but neither should the criterion be one answer is correct and none of the others are. This will rarely be the case (unless there is only one answer and it happens to be correct).

Instead I'd say don't ask questions whose answer is not sufficiently relevant to what you do that you cannot tell if the answer is useful. Vote up the useful answers, and especially if one resolves your question. If an answer is unsupported in a way that you cannot tell whether it is right, I wouldn't use the votes others have cast as a proxy for assessing the answer yourself. It might be that an answer is not appreciated by you until long after asking, but that's not something you should try to obscure by accepting answers that didn't (yet) resolve your question.

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