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  1. I asked a question to which I got an answer which is only partly correct.

  2. Someone else in a comment on another answer to the same question answered my question more appropriately.

  3. Later a third person kicks in who answers my question with a combination of the partly correct answer and this comment. I wouldn't say he simply did a combination intentionally.

I would like to accept 2 as the answer but it is only a comment. 3 unaware did not add anything was late compared to 2 and 1 was first.

What would you do in this situation? +1 to 1, or accept? Or only accept 3? Vice-versa? Both +1? What?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Generally, I think the 'most correct' answer should be accepted, regardless of who posted it, when. If someone has taken the trouble to combine two OK answers into a great one, it seems fair enough to 'reward' them with the rep.

I think question voting, answer accepting, tagging, editing, etc. should all be thought of in terms of what improves the content rather than what is fairest in terms of users and reputation - as Jeff has stated many, many times, reputation is NOT the core point of SO.

Also, the commenter (#2) obviously doesn't care too much about reputation, or they would add their answer as a real answer.

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i would mark number 3 question with no doubt.

you are missing the point(double meaning! double meaning!!).

the idea is to leave to the next person that comes in a simple way to understand the situation. not everyone is willing to spend all the time and put things into detailed writing. points are for contributing, its not election for president. if you are active you will get the points and asked to take bigger part.

if someone cut in, and put the answer in detail , that will help the next guy that might ask this, then give him the credit for helping out.

you are over thinking about the credit. just leave a clean and readable as much as you can , i googled a lot on this site , and answers here helped A LOT. and dont bother number 2 with asking him to copy paste what number 3 did for his sake(he skipped the full answer for lacking the will to patch the code and insert it into a spelled checked and other needs)

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I was thinking about this same thing the other day. Things I think make sense are up-voting the other good answers and then waiting a couple of days before marking the answer as accepted, going with your gut on who deserves it. It's alot like being a judge and the same flaws are inherent as in the justice system...

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There are a number of ways to do this:

  • Add a comment asking 2 to post an answer and you will mark it as accepted. Then give 1 and upvote for being partly correct. You could also give 3 and upvote but as the answer was posted after comment by 2 you have decided not to accept his answer.
  • Accept 1 and give 3 an upvote
  • Accept 3 and give 1 an upvote

Ultimately, if 3 answered your question correctly then in theory of the answers provided it is the answer that should be marked as accepted.

Having said that I don't believe there are any rules set in stone when it comes to accepting answers. It is entirely up to the OP as to who they mark as the accepted answer.

Even if you mark an answer accepted if the rest of the community feel there is a better answer that answer will get more upvotes and eventually make it to the "top of the pile" so to speak.

Note: Related question

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1  
I don't think this question is necessarily an exact duplicate; it deals with a specific use-case whilst the linked one is very general. Moreover, that one is very old and conventions may have evolved since it was asked. –  Bobby Jack Oct 14 '10 at 15:31
    
@Bobby - I would hope that it doesn't get closed a duplicate but I thought I would link to it just in case. In face I will change my answer to say its related rather than duplicate. –  Barry Oct 14 '10 at 15:35

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