I asked a question that turned out to have multiple correct answers. How do I pick between them to determine which to accept?

All of the answers were different. They were not the same answer given multiple times.

  • 2
    Were the answers different, but all correct? Or the same answer submitted at different times? – Bill the Lizard Oct 24 '08 at 19:32
  • All of the answers were all different. – Dan Goldstein Oct 24 '08 at 19:36
  • Yes, but only one of them is correct. Now all you need to do is find out which one - and then accept it ;-) – Treb Oct 24 '08 at 19:46
  • Why bother ask such question when you don't accept any answer for it. – Elist Jul 25 '13 at 15:01

If the answers are different, but all correct, I would upvote all of the correct answers, and accept the one that I actually use.

If the answers are all the same, but came in at different times, I would accept the one that came in first, unless one answer was more clear or went into greater detail.

  • As suggested in another post, edit the accepted answer to include each of the others and give credit to the original authors. That way when others find the page when searching on Google they get a good overview of the possible solutions. – Paul Alexander Jun 23 '09 at 17:47
  • @Paul: In the case of duplicate answers I certainly wouldn't bother. In the case of different but still correct answers, I still wouldn't bother. Treb's answer to this question is right there, why add it to this answer? – Bill the Lizard Jun 23 '09 at 18:05
  • About accepting the first answer submitted - some users post just a stub of an answer and then edit it multiple times while writing their actual answer. In that case looking at submission times is pointless. – NPS Nov 7 '14 at 18:35
  • @NPS Then look at the edit time instead. – Bill the Lizard Nov 7 '14 at 19:16
  • @BilltheLizard accept the one that I actually use. In my case I used an answer and also accepted that, after some time another one provided a new and easy solution and I started to use new one. Should I accept new one? – alhelal Feb 11 '18 at 0:53
  • @alhelal Yes, if you think the newer answer is better it's fine to switch the accepted mark. – Bill the Lizard Feb 11 '18 at 1:49

Pick the one that is better because it is

  • contains more source code
  • contains shorter source code
  • explains things in a simpler way
  • explains things in a more expilicit way
  • is written funnier
  • is written more seriously...

...or whatever criteria appeals to you that distinguishes one answer from the other. So far I have seen quite a lot of questions with similar answers, but there were always differences, and I would always have been able to find some tiny thing to help me pick one of them as my preferred answer.

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Up-vote all answers that apply. Eventually, community will kick in and someone will edit the answer with higher number of votes (hopefully more complete one) to include all the details. And that's your winner.

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Accept the answer that came in first unless someone else has been more thorough in their explanation of the solution to the question presented.

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I would accept the answer that came in first. If you hover over the relative, time, it will show actual time, down to the second, to resolve any disputes when they both say "3 hours ago".

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  • 1
    I almost voted this down because I disagree with it...then I saw it wasn't wiki'd. :) – Thomas Owens Oct 24 '08 at 19:32

First of all, vote! The voting buttons suggest:

  • Upvote = Answer is useful
  • Downvote = Answer is not useful

Use them accordingly.

Secondly, there are no "shared first places" when it comes to accepting answers. So, pick the one that was most useful/helpful to you. This may differ from the criteria you laid out when asking the question. It's your choice.

Finally, if you feel like you still owe someone a reward for not picking their answer, you can always issue a bounty.

  • Not being useful does not justify downvote.When should I vote down? Use your downvotes whenever you encounter an egregiously sloppy, no-effort-expended post, or an answer that is clearly and perhaps dangerously incorrect. – user361700 Jun 25 '17 at 11:16
  • @Fawad: Of course it does. – Werner Jun 25 '17 at 19:10

That which most precisely and concisely answer your question. If you can't decide, accept the fastest answer.

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Accept the most useful answer that works good for you. If they both are the same answer pick one that has the most score (if all scores are same try to pick the earliest posted answer).

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