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In the following situations, which answers should I accept?

  1. I have ask a question and get two identical answers.
  2. Sometimes, none of the answers completely answers my question. But, I will get a complete answer if I combine two of them together.
  3. Suppose someone answers my question but I'm not sure it really helps me so I leave a comment. Then another person explains it to me and helps solve my problem. Should I accept the answer given by the first person?

Example for 3rd case:--

Here Who will get the bounty amount? answer was given by Marc but explained in details by Barry. So should I accept the answer given by Marc. I have told Barry that he can post his comment as answer but he did not do that.

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1  
See meta.stackexchange.com/questions/67614/… –  Felix Feb 26 '11 at 17:53
    
Your third case is a little ambiguous. Does the second person answer the questions that you had on the first answer in a following comment? Or is it just a completely separate answer which addresses your comment? Or is it a completely different situation? –  Jeff Mercado Feb 27 '11 at 5:07
    
@Jeff: see my edit. –  Harry Joy Feb 27 '11 at 6:34

5 Answers 5

up vote 3 down vote accepted
+50

Your first two cases, I'm in the same boat as Renamed Exception. Regarding your third case, where the second person clarifies in comments and you then understand, I'd still accept the answer by the first person.

Particularly for that specific case, Marc's answer is effectively the answer you were looking for, only you weren't sure about some cases so naturally you'd ask. Then Barry comes along and answers your questions on those cases. It doesn't necessarily make Marc's answer incorrect, it's just a misunderstanding that needed to be clarified. Remember, he could have easily jumped in at any time and answered your questions directly but could have just chosen not to since others had already stepped in.

I do this sort of thing all the time on answers that I myself probably would have said, commenting to help augment the answers or help clear up any misunderstandings if I can. It's all there to help you (the asker) understand what was being said. Now had Barry answered separately with a more detailed answer (the kind you're looking for), then sure, accept it if you like as it answers your question better. But I wouldn't accept it if all he did was just answer your secondary questions in a separate answer and did nothing to address your original question.

In any case, I think it's important to understand the key points of the answer if there are any to be made. If you didn't understand it, then by all means, ask for clarification as you did there. If any answer has most significantly answers your question, then accept it. If there's a tie, consider what the community thinks is the better answer (the highest voted) and try to see why they think to help you decide. If that doesn't help, then you just choose a way to make the decision. Treat it like a race, award the first one to answer. Consider the answerer's history and use your acceptance as an award, either help the one who needs the help or agree with the one who has been consistently helpful. Just whatever you do, we all encourage you to accept something if your original question was answered. It helps you, the answerer and everyone else that might have the same questions in the future.

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  1. I normally accept the answer which came first in this case. But if they were identical and one was more detailed / a better answer than the other I accept that one. Or if they came in at similar times and one was from a much lower rep user and I am feeling generous, I accept that one. But it doesn't matter much, the answers were identical. Upvote the one you don't accept.

  2. I suggest posting your own answer explaining how you combined the other two. If one of the answers was over 50% correct, you might want to accept that one; or, you might want to accept your own answer, but this might offend some people. Upvote the two answers you combined because they were both helpful.

  3. If one user posts an answer, and a second user clarified it in comments and not as an answer, accept that answer. If the commenter does not post their own answer, they are expecting you to accept that answer and should not be upset when you do so.

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Renamed Exception: see my edit. –  Harry Joy Feb 27 '11 at 6:35

In the first case, there are a number of factors:

Firstly, if they posted within a minute or two of each other, it's possible they didn't see each other's answer. But if the gap is longer than that, then definitely go for the first one who answered, as the other should have had a chance by then to see that someone else had already given the same answer.

If you have two answers which give the same basic info, but one gives a more detailed description or explains why the answer works, etc, then I would favour that answer over the more simple one, even if he was later with his answer -- it might just have taken him that much longer to find the references, or even just to type the longer answer. (In this case, of course, they're not strictly speaking identical, but they may be very close)

In any case, you should up-vote any good answer that helps you, so even if you can only accept one, you still give the other his due.

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@Spudly Agreed, upvoting any answer that helps! –  deps_stats Mar 2 '11 at 16:19

My rules are:

  1. Accept the solution that is closer to what you have decided to use.
  2. If both are too similar (and give a right answer of curse), choose the one that take more time to find.
  3. If 1 & 2 failed to determine, choose the newer or with less rep user.
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for the users with rep, it sucks to never get accepted when someone writes a similar answer to yours and you end up both being part of the solution. –  Kortuk Mar 4 '11 at 5:05
    
@Kortuk: we should show some compassion for those privilege-less fortunate :) –  HuBeZa Mar 4 '11 at 10:54
    
get some heavy duty rep and stop getting your answers accepted when you put 30 minutes into them... I know what you mean, I am a heavy duty upvoter for good answers from new people. –  Kortuk Mar 4 '11 at 10:55

This one, as I would like the +50 rep!!!

However in any other case you should choose the Answer that solves your problem the best.

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