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When asking questions people have commented that my acceptance rate is low. And in a way it is low (hovers between 20 and 30 %). But i've run into a few issues regarding accepting answers.

There are cases where I get multiple good answers and I happen to use one of those. Or perhaps I use the first answer I got since it works, but newer, better answers are posted after (that I may or may not know about). I've hesitated accepting the answer that I used since I feel it carries some weight, especially for the casual user, as the 'right' way to do something.

The second case is where I did not receive any answer to solve my issue. Perhaps my question is just not written well enough to get a good answer, or perhaps I'm just doing something in a incorrect way so no one answers, or perhaps there is a answer that was eventually posted but I move in a diff direction to keep a project moving. These cases 'un-answered' question bring down my acceptance rate. How do i gets these off my record? I don't want to just delete since maybe they are of some value to someone else.

Trying to be a good citizen here but just don't know always know the social noms.

emp

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possible duplicate of How does accepting an answer work? –  Ladybug Killer Sep 23 '10 at 20:57
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4 Answers

I generally tend to wait a couple of days before picking my answer. The best answer may come late(r). Then I pick the most relevant and helpful ones. I try to explain my question with as much detail as possible, and so the most helpful answers are the ones with the most explanation. For me anyway.

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Note that questons don't count towards your acceptance rate for...lets see here...3 days. So waiting does you no hard there. –  dmckee Sep 23 '10 at 20:45
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The only thing that's even close to being The Official Rule on this is:

Accept the answer that you think was the most helpful for you.

There's a lot of leeway for personal preference with accepting answers, and rightly so. The community can use upvotes to sort out the answer that it likes the most; the accepted checkmark belongs to the asker and nobody else. This is helpful if, for example, the highest-upvoted answer provides great general information, but another answer addresses a quirk affecting your specific case.

The other thing I would suggest, and @Sagar touched on this in his answer, is to not be too hasty with accepting an answer. There's some quasi-official dislike of quick accepts that has been shown in the form of a limit on how quickly you're permitted to accept an answer. Also, for better or for worse, a lot of people like to spend their time on unanswered questions for a variety of reasons. Mark an answer as accepted, and you'll probably drive potential viewers away.

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If you didn't receive an answer that solves your problem, that's fine. My best suggestion there would be, after giving up and finding a solution yourself, post an answer yourself and accept it. If it's truly unanswered (still unknown even to you, no workarounds, etc) but hasn't been shown to not have a solution, it's a good candidate for a bounty. Remember somebody who shows that a solution is impossible has probably given you an acceptable answer, even if it doesn't "fix your problem."

As for worrying about which answer you accept, don't place so much value in your acceptance. StackOverflow was modelled in a way to overcome problems with other sites, where the asker (who is usually a novice in the domain, and is thus less qualified to know what's best) decides what the best solution is. That what points are for. The community can, and often does, disagree with the asker about the value of answers.

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Many related questions in the sidebar.

The FAQ entry may be helpful. Not that CW question don't count towards you acceptance rate, so you can put no-usable answer questions into that state if you want.

Acceptance means "I used this answer", so if you used one... Also note that you can change the accepted answer, which means that changing your mind at at future date is possible.

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With the new bounty system, your last sentence is no longer true. Acceptances and bounties are now " _ completely independent of _ " (emphasis original) each other, per the blog. –  Pops Sep 23 '10 at 20:54
    
@Pop (Do you mind if I call you pop?) That's what I get for not paying attention. –  dmckee Sep 23 '10 at 21:02
    
Shog is calling me Pops now... I suppose anything is fair game at this point. –  Pops Sep 23 '10 at 23:45
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