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I've on occasion seen people misinterpreting the check mark as:

  • The answer is correct/perfect
  • The answer is approved

So when the answer doesn't meet those expectations, the asker may not accept (even if it was very helpful and the issue was resolved), or a passer-by may get vocal, downvote, etc.

When I joined the site I had to learn from the help center that it only means it's the most helpful to the asker, and nothing else.

Where I actively contribute, I have more than 50% accept rate, so just to be clear, this is not coming from "Your design is bad and I'm not getting enough Internet points". Rather, making the meaning more accessible, especially in light of the possible upcoming change to how accepted answers are sorted.

The Noun Project came to mind to search for "helpful", and right away some examples (shown below) stood out as good visual communication:

Hand holding another handCheck mark user selected
By Adrien Coquet, FR
Creative Commons

For example, the one on the right shows a user selection.

Given that, should the 'accept' icon be updated (not either design specifically)? Or not?

The above are not the proposed designs.
I'm asking: Should it be changed?; the design is up to SE. They can design and show us examples to choose from, for example.


I searched for + before asking, and I didn't find the icon design come up.

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  • 6
    The shaking hand icon may be more subjectible to different cultural interpretations. Sep 10 at 21:15
  • 5
    ... might also lead to confusion with the hand icon for new users, which is confusing enough on it's own. Sep 10 at 21:16
  • 1
    @samcarter_is_at_topanswers.xyz Ma che vuoi 🤌
    – bad_coder
    Sep 10 at 21:16
  • 5
    I should mention that prior to 2018, sites got to custom-design their accept mark - but in an effort to standardize all UI elements to make it easier to give sites a responsive design, all sites got the Trilogy's accept mark. Sep 10 at 21:19
  • 2
    Also it is easy to explain to a new user how the checkmark works. Most people will know the word. Is there a commonly known word for your proposed icon? Sep 10 at 21:21
  • 4
    i'd be open to a more... checkmark looking checkmark, but think it should remain a checkmark
    – Kevin B
    Sep 10 at 21:22
  • @samcarter_is_at_topanswers.xyz: / Note: it is not proposed.
    – ymb1
    Sep 10 at 21:22
  • 1
    @ymb1 ... then what's the point of discussing a new icon if we can't see if it will be better or worse than the old? If better sure, let's change it, of worse (like the shaking hands imho) let's don't change Sep 10 at 21:25
  • 1
    @samcarter_is_at_topanswers.xyz: I'm asking should it be changed, the design is up to SE, they can design and show us examples to choose from for example.
    – ymb1
    Sep 10 at 21:26
  • 6
    If you are not making a specific proposal please don't use feature-request
    – Rubén
    Sep 10 at 21:46
  • I once suggested that the accept mark should look similar to the bounty mark but got shot down. It also got hijacked into a discussion about pinning the accepted answer for some reason, which I think is the only reason it has a positive score. (I'm also no longer sure that design idea is good, making it look similar to a bounty would probably cause other problems.)
    – BSMP
    Sep 11 at 3:10
  • @Sonic Do you have a link for the official announcement about standardizing the accept mark?
    – PM 2Ring
    Sep 14 at 20:21
  • @PM2Ring See meta.stackexchange.com/questions/309349/…, section Keep theming as it is today. Also see meta.stackexchange.com/questions/307862/…, section Site theming. Sep 14 at 21:03
  • @Sonic Thanks. I found those pages in my search, but I didn't see anything explicit about the accept mark. But I guess it's covered by "things like voting and favorite buttons are a core part of the Q&A experience that should be shared across the network".
    – PM 2Ring
    Sep 14 at 21:19
14

If the problem to be solved is that some users don't know how accepting an answer works, that problem will not be solved by changing the icon.

SE sites are open to a broad base of users having a web browser but not to anyone. Having a web browser doesn't make people able to infer how the site works and worst, doesn't make them willing to learn that. If people aren't willing to learn how the site works, changing the icon of an optional feature will not solve the problem.

9

No

Without a clear proposition of a better suited icon, I don't think a motion for change just for the sake of change makes sense.

The current icon is not that bad. Most users will know it from check boxes thus at least approximately know what it is for.

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    One might also need to take into account the limited design budget of SO, see e.g. meta.stackexchange.com/a/369555/237989 Sep 10 at 22:00
  • The problem is that the checkmark implies that the answer is correct (or at least the most correct one on that thread) and that it's some kind of official endorsement / approval. That's what I assumed for the 3 years that I was looking up answers on SO before I joined & started contributing. OTOH, I can't think of a good replacement icon.
    – PM 2Ring
    Sep 14 at 20:31
6

I like the current green check mark and think it should be kept. A strong point of the current accept mark is that it's the only green element in a thread whether in dark or light mode. Besides I think the accept mark has been getting an undue negative reputation, more times than not it marks the best answer.

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0

I do think the current accept mark should be kept.

What I do suggest is that before accepting, the accepting mark should be a bit more visible and maybe a bit darker.

Also I suggest to have an arrow to point to new users for accepting an answer if it works. A lot of new users don't know how to accept answers.

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