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There are question of type "how do I do …", to which short answer is "it is not possible".

What would be criteria for accepting such a answer? I'd say that if the answer provides explanation and possible work-around, it should be accepted. But what if it doesn't provide that? What if offers work-around, which just isn't good enough? Should keeping one's accept rate high be more important than accepting only helpful answers?

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Usually an answer which doesn't give workarounds etc is because the question doesn't provide enough of a big picture - what overall effect you're attempting to achieve. I'd consider improving the question and then adding a comment to good answers to ask for suggested workarounds. –  Jon Skeet Jun 20 '11 at 14:29
    
@Jon: let's assume, that it does provide the big picture. –  vartec Jun 20 '11 at 14:32

3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Last question first.

Should keeping one's accept rate high be more important than accepting only helpful answers?

No. If none of the answers work for you, you are under no obligation to accept any of them just to keep your accept rate high.

More to your point, I think an explanation why something is impossible would be required before that kind of answer could be acceptable. A work-around solution might be acceptable if it lets me get on with my life, but an explanation as to why a work-around is required instead of a direct solution should also be provided, even if it's just a link to another explanation written by someone else.

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If the answer "it is not possible" stopped you spending 2 weeks trying to solve the problem before giving up and trying something else then I can't see why you shouldn't accept it.

After all, it did help you and saved you the otherwise wasted time ;)

However, you shouldn't just accept an answer to keep your accept rate high.

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That's true, which is why I have no problem with up-voting such a answers. –  vartec Jun 20 '11 at 14:36
    
On second thought, I probably wouldn't stop searching for solution, if the answer would be just "it's not possible" w/o any backing. –  vartec Jun 20 '11 at 16:50

Probably you won't be able to accept until you edit the question a bit. If you ask "how can I [impossible thing]" and get a stream of "you can't" along with some "why would you want to?" then you may update your question explaining what you actually want to achieve (rather than what you want to do) and someone may then tell you how to do that. Or how to simulate the impossible thing. Those you can accept.

Also if you reword your question from "how can I [impossible thing]" to "is it possible to [impossible thing] you can then accept the most helpful of the correct answers that said it wasn't possible.

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