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  • How does accepting an answer work?
  • When should I do it?
  • Why can't I accept my own answers right away?
  • Which answer should I accept?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 587 down vote accepted

Accepting Answers: How does it work?

Accepting an answer is important as it both rewards posters for solving your problem and informs others that your issue is resolved.

  • You may select any answer on questions you asked as the "accepted" answer. Only one answer at a time can be the 'accepted' answer.
  • There's a brief period (15 minutes) immediately after asking the question when you can't accept an answer.
  • To mark an answer as accepted, click on the check mark beside the answer to toggle it from hollow to green (see screenshot below)
  • You may change which answer is accepted, or simply un-accept the answer, at any time.

images of the unselected and selected checkmarks

If you accept:

  • someone else's answer: You get +2 rep and the author of the accepted answer gets +15 rep.
  • your own answer: There is no reputation awarded and the answer does not float to the top of the list. This can be done no earlier than 48 hours after the question is asked.
  • a community-wiki answer: no reputation is awarded.

Which answer should I choose?

  • Don't hesitate to accept an answer that is well-written, suggests a good practice and works for you.
  • Otherwise, even if there are answers that are good enough but that you're not entirely satisfied by, you might wait 24 to 48 hours to give other people a chance to give you a better answer. A question with an accepted answer isn't as likely to receive further attention as one without an accepted answer.
  • Make sure that besides working for you, the answer is really good practice. Sometimes after the answer gets accepted, another comes in, uncovering the fact that previous one was in fact a bad hack.
  • The bottom line is that you should accept the answer that you found to be the most helpful to you, personally.

Upvote

  • If an answer has helped you solve your problem and you accept it you should also consider voting it up.
  • If other answers have been helpful too, you can also vote them up.

What should I do if none of the answers is suitable?

  • Re-read your question critically and make certain that it's clear what the problem is, and what the specific question is. You might want to place a bold single sentence version of your question at the bottom of your post to make sure it's clear what's being asked.
  • Re-read the answers. Consider accepting the best answer of the bunch, even if none of them are exactly what's needed.
  • Wait a few days after asking it, and then edit your question with what you've learned since asking it — perhaps additional information will help others help you. This will also have the effect of bringing your question back onto the home page where fresh eyes will see it.
  • If you have more than 75 reputation, you can add a bounty two days after the question is asked if you haven't accepted any answers yet. This will add incentive for people to answer your question.
  • Eventually you'll resolve the problem or find a work-around (which may be, "This won't work, so here's what I did instead"). Please add an answer with this information and accept your own answer so that others with your same question can see the path you eventually followed.
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"If you see a middle of the road percentage, it’s an experienced user who understands what accepted answers are for." -- How do you reckon? Not enough info to infer that. –  MrBoJangles Feb 2 '11 at 17:28
1  
@MrBo, I agree that that can't be fully inferred. I changed the wording slightly to reflect that. –  jjnguy Feb 2 '11 at 18:38
98  
why isn't this info added to the SO faq? Not many regular users will find it otherwise. –  jgauffin Jul 1 '11 at 8:13
    
@MikeB There are lots of parts of Stack Overflow that aren't wiki-like. In this case, it is important to see which answer ultimately solved the user's problem. That way, people who find that question in the future know what solution worked for the original asker. –  jjnguy May 30 '12 at 15:46
    
I don't think the 48 hour limit re answering your own question is still in effect, I have seen answers provided in my shorter periods by the OP. –  Levon Jul 11 '12 at 11:06
    
What about up voting the answer when you accept it? It seems to me that the OP should also up vote the answer if their question was answered satisfactorily. –  Sunil D. Jul 30 '12 at 19:00
    
@SunilD. It is up to the OP to decide whether or not to upvote. See: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/686/… –  jjnguy Jul 30 '12 at 21:54
9  
@jgauffin Trust me when I say more people have read this answer than have read the FAQ. –  Asad Dec 9 '12 at 20:17
1  
@Duncan, I believe that's why OP said "Consider". There isn't anything wrong with a legitimately unanswered question, but there is also the possibility that you've asked an unanswerable question, in which case, if somebody gave a good workaround that achieves 90% and says "the other 10% are impossible", wouldn't that be the "right" answer even if it doesn't give the asker what they want? –  ABMagil Nov 4 '13 at 22:33
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@paulkon, the answer may solve the OP's problem but not be helpful in any other way, dropping the solution out of nowhere, not explaining it, and not responding to comments to add info. –  JMCF125 Apr 1 at 20:42
    
@JMCF125 That's a good way of putting it, however a courtesy that is almost unseen on SO, saddly, is to let the author know (via a comment) why it wasn't upvoted, in case the author cares to improve it. This would improve the overall quality of SO answers because many authors would then take the time to improve it. –  Schollii Apr 14 at 11:57
    
How do you accept a comment as an answer in SO ? Because in new interface of SO there is no OK check sign anymore near the comments. –  Sonya Blade May 11 at 14:50
1  
@SonyaBlade: There was never an ability to "accept a comment as an answer", and there was no "OK check sign" "near the comments" in any iteration of the SO interface. –  Lightness Races in Orbit 20 hours ago

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