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Others have asked similar questions but bear with me for a second.

At present an accepted answer has the following visibility:

  • It is moved to the top of the answers listing.
  • It get's a big green tick.
  • The background colour of the answer text changes.

This is great in situations where the OP has gone and tried the answer and found it to solve the problem perfectly.

Sometimes they don't and it is obvious from the number of votes for other answers that they may have been hasty in accepting the answer.

I propose that 3 visual cues for an accepted answer unfairly causes it to be more visible than sometimes better answers and I wonder if we couldn't improve the situation by changing the dynamics a little.

Would you consider a variation of any of the visibility cues? If so how would you alter it?

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2 Answers 2

I disagree.

An accepted answer worked for the OP with the problem he was specifically having. The other answers may have been too generic, although they would potentially also be right, and this will be indicated via voting. Anyone coming in from Google, knowing nothing of the SO system, will not understand the difference between highest voted answer and accepted answer, and will therefore not bother to read the rest of the answers.

The default view for answers hitting the site is Accepted/Highest Voted. Therefore both answer already get enough focus, and hopefully someone will detect that the accepted answers has less votes then it's accepted counterpart.

Also the additional answers may have been added weeks or months later when information or systems have changed. So at the time of the question the answer is correct, but through progress this has changed. For example current MVC questions will get updated answers when MVC 2.0 is released, since features previously not supported is suddenly included. This was the goal of SO. To get the freshest information on old questions always available.

I will often up-vote other answers that I believe is fundamentally correct in general to highlight them.

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Indeed. I realise that this is a controversial subject. Surely though, the user ariving from google is more interested in the recent (highest voted) answer rather than the one that worked for the OP back when the question was asked? or am I wrong? –  grenade Aug 30 '09 at 10:48
    
Your making an assumption based on users. Average users are drawn by green ticks, and SO is a unique concept. To answer this way, how long did it take you to understand the voting concept, knowing nothing of Jeff and SO? –  Diago Aug 30 '09 at 11:32

If the original OP accepts the answer, then that means (should mean) that it was the best answer for that person for that particular problem. Just because everyone and their mother votes up someone else doesn't mean that the other guy actually had an answer that was acceptable to the OP.

If you are wondering about Google users, I am generally going to be more interested in what worked for a user who has the same problem I had, not what everyone thinks is the best answer. If the accepted answer does not work for me as a future viewer, then I will start looking at the other options presented by the users.

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