On some long-standing unanswered questions there is often an answer that is probably the right answer, with more upvotes, comments including positive words & chatter. So could the system itself offer a 'soft' decision on long-standing unanswered questions by using an algorithm to determine which answer should be accepted based on various indicators.

This would be especially useful on answers to questions where the OP has left, is dormant or if nothing is accepted after a year. Perhaps a 'soft' accept would be worth half the reputation improvement of a 'hard' accept.

So should an algorithm determine the probably right answer in certain situations where the OP hasn't, can't or won't make the call?

  • @Shadow Wizard You really think that this is a duplicate of a question asked 7 years ago that has no accepted answer? This question asks whether an algorithm could rule on soft accepts - the duplicate doesn't. Given that the duplicate question doesn't have an accepted answer is it a real question in any event? TBH If this question is stupid then please delete it - I can't.
    – amelvin
    Dec 20, 2016 at 13:49
  • Yes. Age of questions is not relevant. It all boils down to having an alternative to accepting an answer. Dec 20, 2016 at 18:07

2 Answers 2


We already have a "soft" decision.

It is the score next to the question.

The premise of your question seems predicates on the accept meaning something more than the question OP saying "this helped me most". It doesn't.


Accepting an answer is not bounded to asker, he/she even can come back to unaccept an answer from help center.

Accepting an answer is not meant to be a definitive and final statement indicating that the question has now been answered perfectly. It simply means that the author received an answer that worked for him or her personally. Not every user comes back to accept an answer, and of those who do, they might not change the accepted answer even if a newer, better answer comes along later.

You can upvote if you want.

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