I asked a question on an Stack Exchange site and at the time got an answer which I marked as such (Question in question)

Since accepting the answer, a new answer has been submitted which is now more accurate than the original answer (I only noticed as I stumbled across the question in error when going through my account).

Should I be changing my accepted answer or leaving it as it is? Logic says I should update it, but it seems unfair that the original user who answered the question will now lose reputation points (I'm assuming they will anyway once I un-mark their answer) when originally they answered the question correctly.

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    Follow your logic and not your feelings to avoid being unfair to potentially MANY future users and visitors.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 20:31
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    Moving the Accept checkmark will move its 15 points from one answer to another, and move the newly accepted answer to the top, but if you think that is now the answer which will help you and others the most then I think that is what we want for every Q&A on SE so that answers are found "instant-like".
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 21:11

1 Answer 1


Yes, if you think the later answer is better than the previously accepted one, please consider changing the acceptance mark. That's the point of having unaccept option, altogether.

Choose whatever is better (or best), always, that's the rule of thumb.

At times, we get fast responses which helps us resolving the issue at hand at timely manner, and till then, if there's no better answer, it's OK to accept that. Later, over time, we may receive another answer which may contain better explanation all over which helps (not only you but also future visitors of your question) understanding the issue and the solution in a more detailed way, so it is perfectly OK to accept the newer answer.

Do not feel guilty about snaching the reputation from the OP for the former answer, in case their answer has/had merit, it would already have received upvote(s), which in itself, is the reward.

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    OK, I take the downvote as disagreement, that's cool, but may I ask the reason behind disagreement? Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 16:50
  • I didn't downvote, but -15 reputation is a big hit when you didn't do anything wrong. Honestly if you answer a question that already has an accepted answer, it's basic etiquette to not expect your answer to be accepted even if it's better than the currently accepted answer. The only time I felt comfortable changing an accepted answer was when the the new answerer had far less reputation than the old answerer. Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 20:13
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    @William I think you are thinking more about the feelings of one user rather than the benefit to MANY users and visitors of having the most useful answer appearing first. Our focus here is always on the content rather than whoever posted it. This answer aligns exactly with my thoughts.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 20:26
  • @PolyGeo On one level, yes this is true, but on the other hand, the new answer is still visible for anyone to read, and two, people won't want to use this website if it's always making them upset. People are irrational, I agree, but I still find it more rational to try to cater to their irrationality and harness it for positive ends rather than to ignore people's feelings entirely and subject oneself to the inevitable blowback/backlash. If the original answer wasn't at least semi-decent, you wouldn't have accepted it, so that's not a very nice way to treat someone who helped you, by -15. Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 20:39
  • Anyway, I always try to read all of the answers on any post I'm looking at, because there's usually little reason to expect that your criteria for a good answer will always match well with the person who asked, so to me answer placement is unimportant. I get the idea of moving the accepted answer to the top, and higher voted answers to the top, but honestly in practice I don't feel it works out as well as people like to pretend or imagine. If someone is going to waste their time trying to help me, I'm not going to hurt them later by capriciously giving them the equivalent of 7-8 downvotes. Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 20:42
  • So again, I get how the "site's philosophy" is that you're supposed to change the accepted answer, but on a practical level, as someone who asks a lot of questions, I find it important to try to respect people's feelings and not to take away from them what they already earned. Honestly I think if someone has the guts to post a new answer on a question with an already accepted answer, that is good for them, and maybe there should be a feature to reward them an additional +15 points for that, but not by punishing someone who already helped you enough that you were willing to accept their answer. Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 20:44
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    @William The person's not really losing 15 points. Before they wrote the answer, they had X points. After it was accepted and got votes, they have X + (votes)*10 + 15 points. After it's unaccepted, they still have X + (votes)*10 points. Looking at the entire process, it's not that they've lost anything, just that they've gained a bit less. They're not being "punished".
    – HDE 226868
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 21:35
  • @HDE226868 great comment - I think it is the benefit of the "entire process" rather than focusing on a single transaction/user that can take a while to understand and appreciate.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 21:51
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    And anyway, in the battle of "protecting the feelings of a user" versus "improving the quality of the site", the latter always win. Stack Exchange is a repository of good questions and answers, nothing else matters. If anything, the author of the unaccepted answer should be happy that a better one has been selected - it's better for everybody. There's no reason to believe that anybody's feelings would be hurt - and if they are, it's theirs to manage, not yours.
    – Eric Aya
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 14:10

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