I find a lot of questions, especially on Stack Overflow, where the question was answered quickly and the solution may have worked for that person, satisfying the accepted answer criteria, but another answer gives a more in-depth and/or correct solution to the problem.

I believe having a small indicator next to the answer, or below the question, would help many people not try the accepted solution, only to keep looking in the thread when it does not work for them.

To quote The Tour exactly,

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

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    -1 Such an indicator should not be unobtrusive. It should be very obtrusive. Or better yet, accepted answers shouldn't be above higher-scoring answers to begin with, but that proposal has never been accepted before.
    – Servy
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 21:07
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    The need for this would greatly diminish if Keeping special status for Accepted Answers without sticking them to top forever? were implemented.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 21:51
  • @Servy: No. If you believe that accepted answers should not have primacy, fine. But this question isn't about that; it's about times when accepted answers have been deemed specifically inferior to others by the community. Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 3:19
  • @NicolBolas Yes, that's exactly the situation I'm referring to. Any time you ever show an accepted answer higher than it would otherwise be shown, you have an accepted answer that has been deemed specifically inferior to others by the community.
    – Servy
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 3:52
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    @Servy: No, it isn't. More people simply voted for something; that doesn't mean it is inferior. Is a +6 answer really better than a +5, or is it simply more popular? Did it explain itself better, or did it simply mention idioms that a certain community likes? The assumption should always be that the accepted answer is as good as any other answer, and it should require hard evidence to overturn that. Not the prattling of popularity or pandering to particular proclivities, but a significant plurality of people who have put forth their votes. Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 5:03
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    @NicolBolas The fact that another answer has more votes doesn't automatically mean that the accepted answer is bad, but it does mean that the community thinks that it's, at a minimum, not as good. The base assumption should be that the answer with the most votes is the best answer, not that the answer that one person liked is the best answer. The premise that the OP is a better judge of quality that the rest of the community is a flawed assumption in my experiences.
    – Servy
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 13:51
  • @Servy: Define "flawed". In most cases, the accepted answer is at least as good as any other answer, whether it's the most upvoted or not. In a few cases, this is not true. I see no need to take away a good feature just because it isn't 100%. I've seen plenty of cases of the most upvoted answer being of dubious merit. Neither system is 100%; they're both approximations. Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 15:10
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    @NicolBolas In most cases the accepted answer is the highest voted answer, so it's a moot point. The discussion is only relevant when the accepted answer isn't the highest voted answer, and when that situation does arise, the highest voted answer is much more likely to be of better quality than the accepted answer. It's very rare to see an accepted answer that's better than the highest voted answer but having a lower score, and that's the only situation where this feature would actually be beneficial.
    – Servy
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 15:29
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    @Servy Please see my edit, quoting the introduction to the site. Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 16:52
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    @servy This is not necessarily the case. In some cases, the highly upvoted answer could simply be much older, and has garnered more votes due to its age, as opposed to quality.
    – March Ho
    Commented Feb 12, 2016 at 15:58
  • @MarchHo And that situation is very rare. I didn't say it never happens, I said that it's dramatically less likely.
    – Servy
    Commented Feb 12, 2016 at 16:01

2 Answers 2


I wouldn't be against this, but at the same time, it should only be present if there is a serious voting disparity or if the accepted answer was clearly rejected by the community. Here are my preferred rules for this. To qualify:

  • If the accepted answer is in negative territory, then the highest non-negative answer qualifies.

  • Otherwise, the highest voted answer must have at least 50% more votes than the accepted one or 5 more votes, whichever is larger.

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    If we have this much evidence that the accepted answer is not the best answer, why wouldn't we just show the top-voted answer above it? Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 17:01

This is a great idea! I've made a quick userscript to do this: it adds a warning on top of the accepted answer if there's another answer with a score of at least 10 above it:

enter image description here

The message could look better though...

Install it from Github Gist or view the source.

This was tested at Python code to pick out all possible combinations from a list?.

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    The kinds of people that would install a userscript like this are the kinds of people that don't need indicators like this.
    – Servy
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 21:09
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    A better statement would be "There may be other good answers here." We don't necessarily want to imply that the accepted answer is wrong (since in many cases it isn't); we just want to say that something else may be better. Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 3:20
  • @Servy if someone truly wants a feature, with a few searches, they'd probably reach here. But of course, userscripts are never better than standard implementation by SE because not everyone knows about them Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 7:14
  • @Nicole true. I've edited the script; but the image is still there for noe Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 7:15
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    @ᔕᖺᘎᕊ The kind of person that would go out of their way to search for a userscript like this is the kind of person who would understand that the accepted answer isn't always the best, and would read past it to see if there are other better answers, particularly if that accepted answer is negatively scored. Userscripts are inherently for power users, whereas the problem this warning is trying to solve is a problem primarily with users not intimately familiar with how SE sorts posts, or what acceptance/votes means.
    – Servy
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 13:48
  • @Servy I think that you're assuming too much -- some users who understand how SO works sometimes want to quickly get an answer for a problem they're facing, which could be really simple but they don't get it, so they go on a question, see the accepted answer and try it. It would be much better for those users to see a message beforehand, saying that there may be a better solution underneath, saving them time. I understand that this can't help everybody, but it can help some people, I'm sure even you have fallen for the accepted answer before, even though you're accustomed to SE... Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 17:26
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    @ᔕᖺᘎᕊ But would such a user go out of their way to find an obsure user script to provide them such a message? I highly doubt it. If it was built into the site that would be another matter entirely.
    – Servy
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 17:30
  • @Servy completely agree, but my original point was that if someone truly wants it, they'd search for it. I never disagreed that building it into the site would be better! Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 18:05

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