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Currently, by design, if you accept your own answer it does not get pinned above the question. This practice is actually detrimental to lower throughout Stack Exchange network sites. As such, moderators and other trusted users should be permitted to pin the asker's answer when circumstances allow for it. Ideally this should take place under some form of peer review, but the feature would ensure that well written answers by the asker are not penalized and that reliable information continues to be promoted.

While this situation doesn't come up very often, the throughput situation is pretty clean. Case and point, on Skeptics.SE it can actually take considerable time for an answer to accrue enough votes to rise to the top (ex., 5 years 2 months, 22.5K views, 36 upvotes, contrast with SO, 19 days, 12K views, 300 upvotes). As a result, high quality answers by the OP might actually be ignored by readers.

In terms of why this feature exists, I seem to recall it was discussed on the podcast back during the beta testing (2008 time frame). The short explanation was that the current system is basically a compromise. They didn't want to you self-accept since they wanted to encourage Q&A, but they also wanted to encourage people to write up unusual situations for the record, or note when they found their own solutions. One problem is that they also didn't anticipate that SO would expand to topics outside of programming so the system doesn't work as well across SE as a whole.

  • I dont understand why it's not docked/pinned by default, any doc that point why ? – yagmoth555 Oct 22 '18 at 16:31
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    It may help if you edit your question to explain the benefit of the answer being pinned to the top. If the answer is as good as you imply, would it not be the highest-voted, too? Talk a bit about what situations there may be problems for this. It may also be worth considering how controversial pinning the accepted answer is, in the first place. This is something that has triggered many debates over the years. – Catija Oct 22 '18 at 16:32
  • @rjzii It dont explain why he did that, just that he did it – yagmoth555 Oct 22 '18 at 16:34
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    Very localized situation, but one case where it might be useful is identification questions where OP self-answered but didn't get much attention compared to the previous answers, so it's buried all the way down. – Jenayah Oct 22 '18 at 16:35
  • @Catija Sure thing, I'll circle back around in an hour or two with some edits. Off hand two use cases are lower throughput sites like Skeptics where it might take awhile to accrue enough votes, but also older posts on SO where a popular question might cause an OP answer to be buried in noise. – rjzii Oct 22 '18 at 16:35
  • does this come with an un-pin option as well? It only affects order, right? Not the accept or unaccept vote by itself. – rene Oct 22 '18 at 16:36
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    @yagmoth555 I think the old podcast might have explained it? I vague member something about how it was basically a compromise. They didn't want to you self-accept since they wanted to encourage Q&A, but they also wanted to encourage people to write up unusual situations for the record, or note when they found their own solutions. – rjzii Oct 22 '18 at 16:37
  • @rene Prefect world, I would like to see that. Being awarded the Populist badge should do that by default IMHO. – rjzii Oct 22 '18 at 16:38
  • @Catija You weren't kidding about the controversy, my internet points have been dropping. – rjzii Oct 22 '18 at 17:39
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    Unpin all sorts of accepted answers from the top instead, so that there is no false sense of penalty to self-answers. :) – E_net4 Oct 22 '18 at 18:00
  • @E_net4 Some pined answers are more worthy of being unpined than others... meta.stackexchange.com/questions/111529/… – rjzii Oct 22 '18 at 18:06
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However, moderators and other trusted users should be permitted to pin the asker's answer when circumstances allow for it.

They are already able to do this (though not singlehandedly), by upvoting said answer and making sure it gets a higher score than all the other answers.


If your concern is that a (late) answer by the question author did not get enough upvotes due to the lack of attention, consider posting a bounty and state in the bounty message that that particular answer is undervalued and deserves more votes. If you think that's a hack, one of the standard bounty reasons is

This question has not received enough attention.

and it's not a far stretch to extend that to particular answers.

  • That's just one case of when posting a bounty can be useful. The standard reason "One or more of the answers is exemplary and worthy of an additional bounty." is also not covered by the help center article. – Glorfindel Oct 22 '18 at 18:00
  • The problem being that normative practices vary across sites. On Skeptics we rarely even offer a bounty on a question. So I suppose that another problem is that SO is driving the use cases for SE network sites. :D – rjzii Oct 22 '18 at 18:03
  • Oh, sure. If this is not an option because of 'local' norms, or if you personally dislike the bounty system (many people do), it won't work. It could work for other users reading this question, that's why I wrote it down :) – Glorfindel Oct 22 '18 at 18:06
  • Perhaps ironically I actually like the bounty system over on SO - it gets the job done quite well when applied. But on other sites it really doesn't work that one, even more so on a place like Skeptics where it might be a couple years before a solid answer can be made. – rjzii Oct 22 '18 at 18:09
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    Yeah, the Stack Exchange engine isn't really optimized for a site like Skeptics, though (IMHO) the community does a decent job working within the limitations of the system. Same goes for a few other communities (Puzzling, Code Golf and Code Review come to mind). – Glorfindel Oct 22 '18 at 18:13
  • Indeed, I kind of wish there was a tag to make it clear the feature applies more to SE sites as opposed to SO. Maybe stackexchange-2.0? – rjzii Oct 22 '18 at 18:19
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    That's a common problem, see e.g. this question I answered (which incidentally is about bounties...). Given that Stack Overflow is the 'cash cow', i.e. the site that keeps the servers running, most feature requests are (also) judged by their impact on Stack Overflow. – Glorfindel Oct 22 '18 at 18:22
  • In this case the "answer is exemplary" reason might be more apt. – muru Oct 22 '18 at 19:02

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