Possible Duplicate:
Would it be possible to have a “community accepted” feature?

Since SO is okay with editing of questions themselves by others, why not allow the same people, or perhaps people with yet more rep, to accept answers for questions that are needlessly open? (I.e., where an acceptable/correct answer is obviously given, but the asker has abandoned the question.)

I haven't gotten to the point on SO of being an editor/admin, so maybe that's already an option, but from some of the other questions on meta, it doesn't seem like it.

  • 1
    Possible duplicate - meta.stackexchange.com/questions/363/…
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Mar 1, 2010 at 11:29
  • 2
    There's a more exact dupe: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3669/…
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Mar 1, 2010 at 11:39
  • Differences: I'm not proposing it be instead of or against the user's actual chosen answer, and I'm not suggesting it be based on votes. Just the common sense people use to edit others' posts.
    – user141160
    Commented Mar 1, 2010 at 11:50
  • see also meta.stackexchange.com/questions/8600/… which was closed as a dupe of my previously given question
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Mar 1, 2010 at 12:18
  • Okay, and if that's the way people feel, no problem. My point is that you can apply the same sort of objection to letting people edit questions at all. The kind of trust that entails is the kind of trust this entails. And, like I say, I think as a guiding rule it should be used for abandoned questions. Providing an accepted answer is a favor to people who come across SO questions later.
    – user141160
    Commented Mar 1, 2010 at 12:35

1 Answer 1


I really strongly disagree with the proposal. First off, the accepted answer is something the question asker should give if it was used to solve the problem. It annoys me when it isn't given but maybe my answer didn't quite solve the question (they may not have made the question clear enough, or I may have taken it the wrong way).

Since SO is okay with editing of questions themselves by others, why not allow the same people

It is Ok to edit someones question for clarity (formatting code is the main reason I edit), but you shouldn't ever assume what the question asker wants. It is very very rare that I rewrite the entire question and even when I do I only change the way the question is presented. In the same way that the community doesn't assume that a question is homework (if someone else tags a question as homework it is usually rolled back)

Likewise I wouldn't want to assume that an answer is the correct one for the asker of the question. Take for example the first question I asked, it wasn't very clear what I wanted and so the accepted answer is not the one with the most upvotes (and hence not the one the community would have selected). The discrepancy is huge as the accepted answer has 5 less upvotes!

As touched on, the community already has a comunity accept feature, it is upvotes. If there is an question with no accepts but an answer has 5 upvotes, it is clear the community has accepted that as the best answer, despite the question asker not having done so.

If you think an answer should be accepted up vote it

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    Upvotes are not as crystal clear to people who come to a question off of Google. A big green checkmark and being the first answer displayed sends a number of cues that a grey number doesn't. What I find interesting is that you see the accepted answer as a statement of 'this answers the question according to what was in my head' instead of 'this answers the question as asked'. I think that's a significant difference. The first is only important for one person, the asker, while the second is important for everyone else who will come across it.
    – user141160
    Commented Mar 1, 2010 at 12:40
  • (And I'd like to give you +1 for a thoughtful reply, but I don't have the ability on meta yet.)
    – user141160
    Commented Mar 1, 2010 at 12:42
  • (And now I can. +1.)
    – user141160
    Commented Mar 1, 2010 at 13:39