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I have a question on StackOverflow. It solicits some ideas for a project from the community. People have already started providing some great resources and ideas and I really want to give back to them. Obviously, the best thing I can do for a user is to accept their answer, but this is the type of question that does not have a well-defined answer. It seems to me there are three options:

  1. Accept whichever answer gets the most upvotes
  2. Accept the answer with the idea I end up going with
  3. Do not accept any answer

Which is the community-approved course of action?

NOTE: I realize this question is also of the "ill-defined" type (Russell must be laughing somewhere). Therefore, I think I'm going to go with consensus on this one.

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3 Answers 3

Few problems with that question (Great question, by the way):

  1. It has no answer.

The FAQ says, We prefer questions that can be answered, not just discussed.

  1. It requires discussion.

  2. What can be authoritatively the 'right' answer.

In light of all these things, your question should be community wiki; and the answer is whatever you think is the best answer, or the one you end up going with.

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Do not accept any answer

That. You're asking something that cannot be answered with anything other than a statement of personal taste. Personally, I find nearly everything database-related to be painfully dull; an "exciting" area would be one that doesn't put me to sleep in the first five minutes of discussion. But everyone has their own preferences, and a good many people find a good many things exciting that neither you nor I would ever give a second glance... Unfortunately, that means whatever answer you "accept" will undoubtedly be seen as a poor choice by a fair chunk of readers.

So instead, why not leave it entirely up to the readers! Don't mark an answer, just let the votes determine the ranking. In order for this to work effectively, you should really encourage Community Wiki answers - it's a bit late now, but if you flag down a Moderator, they'll be able to help you out with it. As George notes, CW is a good idea anyway, since this question is a bit outside the realm of what SO was designed for.

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As a general rule of thumb: If the question is not suited for a Q&A format it's off topic on SO and it might better be discussed elsewhere.

So by definition the problem cannot occur for questions that should be asked on SO ;-). But since people sometimes are determined to discuss things here anyway, it has become custom to at least make those discussions Community Wiki, since Community Wiki threads are "not that serious". For example you can down-vote CW posts without costing anybody (neither yourself, nor the posts author(s)) rep. So voting is more liberal and accepting as well - after all there might not be a "real" answer to accept.

In the end it comes down to the same as for any other question: Accept the answer that the most gave you what you were looking for when you asked the question.

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