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PROPOSAL...

Remove the "Accepted Answer" feature from community wiki posts. Since the community votes for the best answers, the answer with the highest votes should be considered the answer. So let the votes do the talking.

Updated..

Since this post was initially placed out there months ago, subjective questions are being removed at a growing rate. I don't think that having less "subjective" posts makes this idea go away, but it does reinforce the idea that "subjective" posts can't have an answer. It also reinforces the belief in the community for doing what is right via voting.

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I don't care about the 15 rep. It's about working my butt of in order to answer a question, and discovering that there's no way to have it marked as "the answer" –  devinb Jul 3 '09 at 18:51
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How can a subjective question have "the answer" –  RSolberg Jul 3 '09 at 21:24
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Not all CW questions are subjective. For instance: Code golf questions are marked CW, and (in almost all cases) there are clear answers to them. –  RCIX Jul 14 '09 at 10:49
    
So, how does your voting up a CW answer of mine affect my rep? –  David Thornley Dec 10 '09 at 15:17
    
David: Not sure if that is rhetorical or not... –  RSolberg Dec 10 '09 at 17:00
    
Voted to close as "too localized" since the use of CW has shifted during the last year (now it's not used for "subjective" questions, those should not exist at all); also other things changed, for example you don't get any rep from CW posts even for accepted answers. –  Andreas Bonini Aug 20 '10 at 15:50
    
@Kop - Thanks for the explanation... I updated this a bit to reflect more of what happens today... –  RSolberg Aug 20 '10 at 16:43

5 Answers 5

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I think Community wiki should have an accepted answer, and for list of X questions, that accepted answer should be a compilation of all other answers for easy browsing.

For 'subjective' questions: Why are they on a site that purports to only want questions that can be answered? If it can't be answered, why is it here?

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There are two possibilities here.

The first that it is a question, whether or not it is subjective. For example, "should I use technology A or B given my requirements?" is subjective but an answer will clearly help the OP and should be selected as the correct answer. Such questions are sometimes asked as CW.

The question has no such possibility of an actual answer for the OP in which case it's not a question, it's a discussion and (imho) is not appropriate content for SO.

So as a result I'm against this.

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We can say the questions don't belong on SO, but people do ask for recs on open source ecommerce solutions and CMS tools. These questions remain on the site and are asked fairly often. There is not a "right" answer for those and they are purely recs. –  RSolberg Jul 3 '09 at 15:59
    
There is however a right answer for the OP. Remember it is a Q&A site. Or, rather, it's part wiki, not completely wiki. If that answer isn't right for you, well thats why there are other answers to pick from. –  cletus Jul 3 '09 at 16:12
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Completely agree, but since we do not allow duplicate questions, one persons question may actually end up being N + 1 who don't get the say in what "their" answer was... I see where you're coming from, but it feels like "accepting an answer" discourages people from coming in and adding more valuable content because they think its a done deal... –  RSolberg Jul 3 '09 at 16:18
    
Agree with @RSolberg. At least, for myself, I tend to skim over accepted questions - because I figure that if the OPer wanted more info, they wouldn't have accepted an answer! –  user3788 Jul 3 '09 at 16:44

I don't know about disabling the accept feature, but it sure would be nice to remove the nag message "Have you considered accepting an answer or offering a bounty?" for wiki questions.

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I agree that there are many subjective questions where the post selected as 'correct' is simply the one that agrees with the what the poster already thinks, it is also true that many of the answers to community wiki questions are very well thought out.

Sometimes a single poster will write a long paragraph highlighting both sides of the issue, and trying to succinctly capture exactly the parameters of the question and then offer an opinion afterward. They should be able to be rewarded for that.

The site is about rewarding effort, and anything we do that FORBIDS rewards will seriously damage participation in those kinds of questions.

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A good answer should be able to garner a sufficient number of up-votes to still be rewarded with the top spot. Reputation as a reward doesn't apply to CW answers anyway. "Accepting" an answer is useful for flagging a single, tried-and-succeeded solution, but questions asking for specific, testable answers really shouldn't be marked CW. –  Shog9 Jul 3 '09 at 18:00
    
I think that getting questions accepted is something I always strive for. moreso than getting 'votes'. Because people can vote on a whim, they'll vote for jokes. But, when you're marking an answer as 'accepted' you're saying that it was the answer you were looking for. CW it is going to be a lot harder to nail that down, but if you write a post that just everyone looks at and goes "yes, wow, that's amazing" why shouldn't it get accepted? –  devinb Jul 3 '09 at 18:38
    
Because only one person can decide who gets accepted. Even if there are twenty contributors to the question and top answer, even if 200 people think that answer is amazing, that answer won't be Accepted unless the person who originally posted the question agrees. SO is a hybrid wiki/forum, with CW accenting the wiki aspect and Accepting falling squarely on the forum side; i just don't see them going well together most of the time. –  Shog9 Jul 3 '09 at 19:33
    
But it's still one person who is formulating the question. They should be able to recognize the best answer. Obviously they could choose better, but on SO, when there's a close call between trusting user judgement and not trusting user judgement, Jeff has consistently chosen to trust his users, and give THEM the power. You are suggesting reducing that power. Small side note. I myself usually distrust the general populace. LOL. It feels weird to come down on the other side. –  devinb Jul 3 '09 at 19:46
    
Heh... And i'm usually arguing against limiting the ability of a question author to accept whatever answer they choose. :-) But i do really feel that, if it is to mean anything, CW should mean Community-owned: no badges, no rep, no special privileges. We're a long way from that now, but i'd love to see us headed towards that ideal. –  Shog9 Jul 3 '09 at 20:51
    
I think the disagreement is that I don't really see CW as something that is all that useful at SO. I think it makes sense to mark questions as subjective in the sense that we're no longer going to have people getting hundreds of upvotes on something like 'how many languages do you know'. But, I think each person should still 'own' their own answer. Maybe you can edit some stuff into someone else's answer, but CWs don't usually work that way. People still end up posting their own responses anyway. –  devinb Jul 6 '09 at 11:56

Yes!

I am entirely in favor of disabling "accept" for answers to CW questions. At best, it's meaningless. At worst, it creates confusion. Anything that stresses the wiki aspect of CW is a good thing, IMHO.

"Accept" makes sense for normal questions, as it allows the person with the problem to indicate what actually solved it. But a CW question may have only a weak connection to the issue that prompted its original author to post...

Consider the FAQ questions: they include some shining examples of how CW can be used effectively, with multiple contributing authors for both the question and answer(s), often expanded from a single, specific question to cover multiple, related questions on a given feature. "Accepting" an answer for these makes no sense - at best, it should be done right away so that future contributors can edit the right answer. But there's always the danger that the original author will show up and accept some other answer, thus down-playing the work of the community authors in favor of something else. That this (to my knowledge) hasn't happened again speaks to how useless such a feature is for CW questions.

Kill it.

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(-1) I disagree for the reasons that I laid out in my answer. –  devinb Jul 3 '09 at 17:46
    
+1 You don't gain rep from CW, so why have an accepted answer? It's marked as CW for a reason and therefore, the concept of one right answer kinda goes out the window. –  staticx Aug 20 '10 at 15:59

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