I was recently in a bit of a quandary over which answer to accept to this question.

Of the answers I got, two were the clear leaders and, of course, I up-voted both. Choosing a 'winner' was more difficult though as their approaches were quite different.

Answer A addressed my question and provided a clear and well thought out response. I'd anticipate that this answer would be of most use to a user who found my question via a search. Selecting this would probably be the more community-focused way to go.

Answer B took a more lateral approach and made some guesses at the business logic behind my request, suggesting that I might be asking the wrong question. Their solution was based on this assumption - and they were spot on. Answer B formed the basis of my fix for the problem.

So... Best answer to the question or best solution to the problem - they may not always be the same thing.

I took the selfish approach and went with B. I'm not losing sleep over it, but I do wonder if I did the right thing?


1 Answer 1


While it is important to keep the community in mind when you are on Stack Overflow, accepting answers is for you to indicate what helped you the most. Not what you want the community to be helped with.

From How does accepting an answer work?

Accepting an answer is important as it both rewards posters for solving your problem and informs others that your issue is resolved.

Don't hesitate to accept an answer that is well-written, suggests a good practice and works for you.

The bottom line is that you should accept the answer that you found to be the most helpful to you, personally.

From the About page of Stack Overflow

Accepting doesn't mean it's the best answer, it just means that it worked for the person who asked.

The point here is that the best answer is what helps you.

Stack Overflow is designed for you to ask a question, and have someone help you figure out the answer. If that answer helps other people, terrific, that's why there are upvotes. If the accepted answer isn't what solved the problem for others, then they still have the opportunity to look at the other answer.

Either way, you can rest peacefully knowing that the question you have been trying to figure out forever has now been solved.

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