I recently asked this questions on Mathematics.SE. At the end I put this after asking for an explanation for the answers.

I don't think that it is too unreasonable to say that if I can't understand your answer, I can't accept it.

I believe that not everyone on the Stack Exchange network is an expert on the sites on which they are active on and that asking for an explanation before I could accept a piece of code or a mathematical proof is perfectly acceptable, given that I may not understand it.

I just wanted to check if that was OK to ask so that I can refer people to this post if necessary.



You, as the asker of the question, are free to accept (or not) any answer you wish.

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.

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If you can't understand or verify an answer is correct, it's not that helpful to you. However, I don't think it's appropriate to add such a disclaimer in the question itself. It may be more appropriate to ask an answer for more clarification in a comment. You can then remove the comment after the answer is clarified.

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If you can't understand an answer it would be wrong of you to accept it. To accept an answer is to say that it answered your question. If you don't understand the answer, clearly it hasn't answered your question.

Of course, if other people understood it and though it was a useful answer, they're free to upvote it.

That said, note that your question is where you ask your question, not where you comment on answers, have meta discussions about what types of answers you like to accept, etc. If you can't understand an answer feel free to comment on it to explain how it could be improved, but leave your question exclusively for actually asking your question.

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It seems to me that you are trying to communicate that you are not an expert in the question's domain, and you would like answers that are in-line with your knowledge-level. If that's the case, it would probably be better to just say that explicitly. E.g., "please consider that I am not an expert in this field".

Also, if possible, try to give potential responders guidance as to what your level of knowledge is. This can be difficult to do, but give it a try. Also, recognize that your question itself may reflect your understanding (or lack thereof) of a certain area.

Finally, be sure to give all responses a fair consideration. Often times the best answer is a lucid one. But don't give up just because you read an answer once and don't understand it. Sometimes a concept simply takes awhile to "sink in" -- if you ask "difficult" questions, be prepared for "difficult" answers.

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