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In the case that I asked a question, waited a few days, and then accepted a great answer that told me exactly what I need to know. Afterwards someone adds an answer that gives the same important advice in a more complete way with additional insight to which I would have chosen their answer instead originally.

My opinion is that a more complete answer isn't reason enough to dock someone's reputation points when the original answer was given promptly and who's not to say that the second answer wasn't based on the original answer anyway since they more than likely read the accepted answer before answering themselves. I think its great that they are contributing something more and I would up-vote it but am I wrong in not accepting their answer?

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It's entirely up to you. Simple as that really. –  Bart May 28 '13 at 22:27
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From How does accepting an answer work? The bottom line is that you should accept the answer that you found to be the most helpful to you, personally. Only you can decide which answer helped you the most –  Some Helpful Commenter May 28 '13 at 22:37

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

This is just an opinion, but I think you're probably right in your assumption that the additional answerer probably read the accepted answer and expanded on it.

That being said I think that having the expanded answer is good for the site's over all goal of building a library of detailed answers to every question about programming.

The more complete answer will often gain its reward from the community in the form of up-votes even if its not the accepted answer.

Of course there are cases where you may want to consider changing which answer you accept...

For instance, if an answer provides a code snippet with no explanation, it helps you, and you accept it, but the following answer provides the code and a full detailed explanation with documentation to back it up, it may be worth considering.

I've seen many answers that work well enough, but the answerer couldn't explain why it works. If someone else can explain it, let them. Everyone benefits from the exchange in the long run.

Like I said this is all just opinion, its your question, accept which ever answer you wish.

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You are free to accept any answer you want. That's the point of accepting, anyway. It's supposed to be the answer you found the most useful, while the votes represent the opinion of the community. Even if the other answer is better, it will probably get enough votes to take the spot below the accepted answer, if there are other answers. Unless the accepted answer is very long, it will still be easy to find there.

And as far as reputation is concerned, the accept is only 1.5 votes. A good answer will probably get enough upvotes to make up the difference.

So there is no reason to feel bad about it. In the end it's all up to you.

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I agree with the other answerers: which answer you accept is up to you.

However, I think you should be accepting the "best" answer (the one which you think is the most helpful, whatever that means to you).

If a new answer come in which is even more helpful, then it's entirely appropriate to change your accept vote.

Don't be concerned about upsetting the original answerer, if they look at the newly accepted answer and see a great answer then they'll be driven to write greater answers in the future.

Unlike an upvote, which cannot be changed after a certain amount of time has passed, you can retract or move your accept vote at any time. Use this power wisely.

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