The idea is that sometimes someone will post an answer and get the accepted answer award, even when it is obvious that someone else has an answer that is more correct. This can be done either through the OP's laziness in only awarding the check mark to the first decent answer, or because the OP just doesn't necessarily know better.

What I am proposing is a method for the winner of the check mark to pass it off to another answer on the thread. There have been a number of times where I have wanted to do this to someone who spent much more time and effort on their answer than I.

There have also been a couple of times where someone else in a thread was awarded the check, even though they themselves tried to tell the OP that mine (or someone else's answer) deserved it more than them.

In case I was unclear above, giving away the accepted check mark would also entail giving away the full 15 points that were rewarded along with it.

  • 1
    Would the OP be able to re-set the answer to the one he/she originally chose?
    – devinb
    Commented Jul 2, 2009 at 11:58
  • 3
    devinb: I believe the OP should be in control if they choose to be so. If they disagree with the transfer, I don't see why they shouldn't be able to move it back. I don't see this happening much, however, because after check mark is assigned, the OP typically doesn't have much more investment in the question.
    – TheTXI
    Commented Jul 2, 2009 at 12:14
  • related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/14932/…
    – Helen
    Commented Aug 29, 2009 at 19:19
  • 3
    Perhaps it would be worthwhile to allow the person who originally got the check to keep 2-5 rep... sort of like the guy who finds a wallet, gives it to the original owner, and the owner gives him a few dollars for being honest.
    – Nick
    Commented Mar 4, 2010 at 21:55
  • That would be a great feature! I once had an incorrect answer quickly accepted (it addressed OP's issue by coincidence), and it just sat there collecting downvotes. I couldn't delete the answer, because it was accepted, and I did not feel that it was a fair thing to rewrite it, because there was a correct answer on the page submitted after my answer got accept. In the end I contacted the OP ans asked to unaccept my answer, which he did the next morning, but a feature to automate this would be welcome. Commented Apr 13, 2012 at 15:15
  • I proposed an edit to the question that was rejected: another (much more frequent nowadays) use case is outdated answers: they have become incorrect or no longer the best. Commented May 9, 2019 at 20:41

6 Answers 6


At the very least it would be nice to be able to reject having your answer being the accepted answer.

That way if you later found out that your answer was wrong, or just not the best one you would reject it, then there would no longer be any accepted answer for that question.

  • 5
    This might be the best approach. You reject the acceptance & lose the 15 rep. The OP gets notified and picks again.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Jul 2, 2009 at 20:24
  • Rejecting is not possible if your answer is marked as the first accepted answer, so why should it be possible if it happens by transfer?
    – mafu
    Commented Jul 24, 2009 at 7:02
  • The owner of the question can reject an accepted answer, unless he set a bounty. I'm just saying that the person who wrote the answer could reject it as well. Commented Jul 24, 2009 at 14:24
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    This doesn't really make sense. If your answer fixed the problem, who are you to say it's wrong? Maybe a more complete answer came along later, but the OP is recognizing your answer as the one that got them across the finish line. That fact has not changed just because you don't like your answer anymore.
    – devinb
    Commented Aug 17, 2009 at 17:13
  • 3
    There are some questions where the "accepted" answer has -10 votes, exactly because it doesn't answer the question. Commented Aug 17, 2009 at 17:23
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    Wouldn't a delete suffice, in this case?
    – Kzqai
    Commented Feb 12, 2010 at 21:20
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    @Tchalvak You can't delete your own answer, if it is the accepted one. Commented Feb 13, 2010 at 14:16
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    I would rather allow the acceptor to re-grant. If you just reject the accept, it's likely that many unaware questioners would know (or care) to come back and re-accept another answer. Further, this (if implemented sanely) would penalize the questioner by driving back down their acceptance rate.
    – Phrogz
    Commented Jan 13, 2011 at 5:09
  • 1
    Why not simply allow to delete your accepted answer? It's your answer, you should be able to do whatever you want with it. Why can you change your accepted answer to "I'm an idiot" but not delete it entirely?
    – rustyx
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 18:37
  • @rustyx: perhaps because any visitor could still see the original answer in the edit history, but deleted answers are only visible to logged-in users with 10,000+ rep? Another concern would be that your answer has become the "property" of the community, and deleting it might cause something like the left-pad snafu (hard to imagine though). Commented May 9, 2019 at 2:17

Against this. SO might be part-wiki but it's part-Q&A and if the OP selected an answer, it did the job for him. What is "better" is often subjective. This proposal goes towards turning into a giant FAQ site.

Usually you'll see two answers float to the top: one is accepted and one is an alternate. Those two often give two sides to the one issue. That's good.

I see very little upside for this with some downside (ie some potential for abuse).

  • 8
    What type of abuse could you imagine? Other than a movement of 15 points?
    – TheTXI
    Commented Jul 2, 2009 at 14:39
  • I think it should do no more than let a viewer see that the owner of the accepted answer has changed his or her mind and does not think they have the best answer (it would be indicated by an exclamation point or X or something overlaid on the green check mark - hovering would say "the owner of this answer contests this reward)... the potential for abuse would be eliminated by not affecting the reputation award or sorting in any way - the only indication of this contested acceptance would be a different icon. Someone seeing this icon has a tiny indicator reminding them to look further down. Commented Oct 11, 2012 at 16:15
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    A lot of time has passed since this question was asked, and we have a new common occurrence now: accepted answers that are no longer the best (or even correct), to questions where the OP is no longer active on the site. These accepted answer keep piling up votes through the snowball effect, or at best, unnecessarily stay at the top of the list of answers because they were accepted long ago. Commented May 9, 2019 at 2:02

I think that this is a great idea, however, the OP should always retain control over what is the "accepted" answer to their question. If poster A solved their problem, then a "more correct" solution is ultimately irrelevant to them.

Instead, I think the "accepted answerer" should be able to nominate another answer as the correct answer. This would generate a message in a users "event feed" and in their "profile" that says something like.

"The answerer has proposed a new correct solution"

This way, the OP is able to choose whether or not this is true, but we (the StackOverflow Engine) are still bringing it to their attention.

  • 1
    I look at it this way. If the OP selects you as the accepted answer and you decide to give it away...if the OP is adamant about you being the check mark and not someone else (say if your answer was specific enough to be the only one that actually works) the OP can just give you the check back. They would be able to retain control as long as they wanted to. If they aren't too concerned about it, then you can just give it away.
    – TheTXI
    Commented Aug 17, 2009 at 15:10
  • The problem is that if they give it back to you, you could give it away again. It should never be out of their hands. The LAST thing we need is edit wars over "accepted" answer. The OP has absolute control over only ONE thing in this world, and I say we let them keep it.
    – devinb
    Commented Aug 17, 2009 at 15:22

I think it's a good idea. I think 99 times out of 100, the OP won't care that the checkmark was moved.

Nine times out of 10, she won't even notice, in which case it really makes sense for someone who's interested in sharing knowledge -- not just solving her own problem -- to have a chance to highlight a better answer.

For the one time out of 100,000 that an actual "accept war" erupts, where the person who received the accepted answer refuses to keep it, the OP can just post an answer herself and accept it.


While at first I agreed with Cletus that if it solved the problem for the OP, it's the best answer, it seems that the vast majority of questions are abondoned by the OP as soon as they accept an answer - the problem is resolved, and they have no incentive to check back and see if a better answer has surfaced. This functionality just adds a second set of eyes, and if the accepted answerer feels that another one is more complete, he should be able to pass off the distinction, or at least formally recommend to the OP that they do it.


At first sight it sounds like it might be a good idea - a couple of questions spring to mind:

What would be the rep transfer? Would you loose all the 15 points or just a fraction? Would the recipient gain the full 15 or just a fraction?

Would only one transfer be allowed?

  • lol... two people trade the 'accepted' answer back and forth.
    – devinb
    Commented Jul 2, 2009 at 11:58
  • @devinb - that's exactly what I wouldn't want to happen. If there were unlimited transfers then the full rep should transfer as well. If there's only one allowed then there could be some extra rep involved.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Jul 2, 2009 at 12:01
  • I was always an advocate of the full rep transfer. If you give up the check mark, you give up the 15 points that go along with it obviously.
    – TheTXI
    Commented Jul 2, 2009 at 12:13
  • @TheTXI - indeed, it does seems the only way really.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Jul 2, 2009 at 12:21
  • Definitely transfer the full rep.
    – Phrogz
    Commented Jan 13, 2011 at 5:09
  • Or drop the rep. No one gains rep. Take away rep as a reason to avoid this feature. Commented May 9, 2019 at 23:13

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