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After an answer is accepted, sometimes a much better answer comes along, maybe even showing the accepted answer wasn't such a good idea after all (example). When the new answer is published, the original posted gets notified immediately. However, he may not know at that time if the new answer is better and worth trying.

If over time the new answer accumulates many upvotes, far outpacing the first answer, it would be helpful if the original posted received a notification, highlighting the popularity of the new answer, and encouraging him to change the accepted answer if appropriate.

A side benefit: less experienced users would learn that they can change the accepted answer (I think many don't know that).

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Why can't you just add a comment? –  PeeHaa Jun 13 '13 at 12:08
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Upvotes don't always relate to how useful the answer is to the person who asked the question. –  Joe W Jun 13 '13 at 12:10
    
@PeeHaa 埽: In my personal experience, when I'm scanning quickly, the big, green check mark catches my eye. I sometimes look at comments, too, but that takes more time. Nothing is as efficient as directly highlighting the best answer. –  Edward Brey Jun 13 '13 at 15:43
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1 Answer 1

I like the idea of encouraging users to revisit their old posts from time to time, but I'm not sure about encouraging them to change the accepted answer.

Before posting this answer, I looked back at some of my oldest questions and quite honestly, I can barely remember asking them. Sure, I'm probably more qualified than I was four years ago to accept the most technically sound answer that was given, but I accepted the answer that helped me the most at my competency level at the time. Presumably, someone now in one of my previous predicaments would be similarly competent. The answers I accepted were the ones that helped the person that asked that question the most - I'm not sure if I'd change which ones I checked, even though better answers were subsequently posted.

If an accepted answer is scored lower than other answers posted, we're giving clear signal that while the accepted answer was found to be very useful by at least one person, other answers might be more optimal. The discrepancy is, in and of itself, informative. It can often tell someone "The way I thought I was going to do this isn't the best way at all."

I'm not fundamentally against the idea, I just wonder if we're gaining more than we're giving up.

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I'm sure there's some value preserving initial thoughts, but I don't think much, compared to a clear direction of best practice. That's part of the reason that the accepted answer can be changed to begin with. The focus should be on the final answer, with how we got there relegated to a footnote. –  Edward Brey Jun 13 '13 at 15:47
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