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

People with reputation points >= 5000 should be allowed to vote for accepted answers for questions.

Right now, a lot of new people come in, do a hit and run question and never mark an answer as accepted. Using this mechanism would solve this problem.

It could work as the following, close to the "Close Question" mechanism in place:

  • You must have 5000 reputation points or above to vote.
  • You cannot vote for your own answer to be accepted.
  • To mark an answer as accepted on a question with no accepted answer (for a day) requires 5 votes from the community.
  • To discourage people from voting to advantage someone, a vote cost 10 rep.
  • The OP of the question can mark an answer as accepted with no votes and override any votes without cost.


This mechanism could also be extended to allow the move of an accepted answer (if the accepted answer is wrong):

  • To move an accepted answer, it requires 15 votes.
  • Add 5 votes each time an accepted answer has been moved. (Ie.: second move requires 20 votes)
  • 15 more votes as in 15 more than the current answer has? Commented Jul 23, 2009 at 19:41
  • @Chacha102: No, it's a separate mechanism, like voting for closing a question. It is not related to up votes. Commented Jul 23, 2009 at 19:41
  • This looks like a duplicate of this: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3669/… Commented Jul 23, 2009 at 19:42
  • @Kyle Cronin: Somewhat, but this is more of a suggestion for an implementable mechanism versus a discussion on the actual feature. Commented Jul 23, 2009 at 19:43
  • @Andrew: Yeah, it's not a straightforward close-as-dupe, but the discussion is pretty much about the same sort of feature Commented Jul 23, 2009 at 19:46

5 Answers 5


That's what the up-votes are for. Up-votes show, unequivocally, what the community likes.

  • 4
    Yes, but consider people new to the site. They will look at the first answer shown (the accepted answer), especially since it is marked in green, usually without reading the rest. Commented Jul 23, 2009 at 19:21
  • 6
    You can't fix "stupid." :) Votes are usually understood to relay public acceptance. On some of the SO sites, I don't think they're sorting the accepted-answer first anymore either.
    – Sampson
    Commented Jul 23, 2009 at 19:23
  • 1
    New users will read more if they really care about fixing there problem or question. If they don't take the time to read responces, why do I care if they figure it out?
    – Troggy
    Commented Jul 23, 2009 at 19:24
  • 5
    Having an accepted answer will also remove it from being labelled as "Unanswered". I think letting the community have some to mark these as "answered" would be ideal (necessary - no, ideal - yes).
    – Chealion
    Commented Jul 23, 2009 at 19:28
  • I think the cap should be more at like 1,000. You let people with 2,000 edit other people's answers. That is more powerful that voting for the accepted answer in my eyes. Commented Jul 23, 2009 at 19:39
  • @Chacha102: Accepted Answer has a direct impact on the user's reputation and the outcome of the question. Editing an answer leaves a trail (diffs) and can be reverted by any said user. This is why I've set cap so high in my proposal. Commented Jul 23, 2009 at 19:44
  • 1
    @Andrew Moore But it is a set of people changing the answer, not just one. Therefore, if it is community based, it shouldn't be set 'as' high. Commented Jul 23, 2009 at 20:04
  • 1
    Sorry for the necromancy, but what if there was a mechanism to accept the answer with the highest votes after a certain period of time (perhaps based on activity level)? One of the big problems now is that there are a number of questions still in the "open" questions, thanks to hit and run questioners. Even if no rep is awarded (or you could even have negative rep for the asker, for those that don't just ask and run), it would help keep the lists cleaner, I think.
    – Shauna
    Commented May 6, 2011 at 19:38
  • @Chealion, I agree, that's the point.
    – Nemo
    Commented May 3, 2015 at 19:38

Even though I (once) thought it was a good idea, Jeff has been pretty clear that this isn't going to happen. I'll copy his answer to my UserVoice ticket that I posted in a similar question:

Every part of Stack Overflow is run and moderated by the community except one: the selection of the accepted answer. As long as you have one person in charge of selected answers you will always have to deal with their particular biases, which decrease the value of Stack Overflow as an objective reference to programming questions.

It might be a good idea that in addition to the answer selected by the asker that there be a community selected answer. This would be completely orthogonal to the up/down votes for the questions, and would only allow one selected answer per person per question. An approach like this would greatly serve to make Stack Overflow a more equitable and fair system.

Here is how it could work:

Expose the "select answer" link to everyone (or perhaps just registered users) and allow them to select at most one answer per question. The answer with the highest number (5 or more) of selections becomes the community-selected answer. To reduce potential for abuse, there should be no reputation or badge associated with this answer selection.

(this is in response to criticism that Stack Overflow is merely the "blind leading the blind": http://blogging-harmful.blogspot.com/2008/08/stack-overflow-blind-leading-blind.html)

And the official response was:

I did. Votes and sorting are the de-facto community answer.

community mode essentially achieves this; see FAQ. Posts automatically get moved into community wiki mode when certain criteria are met. Also, votes are de-facto choosing the community accepted answer; it's the one with the most votes!

It's certainly an interesting suggestion, but unless something has changed in the nature of Stack Overflow in the intervening months (as well it could have) I think that the official response would be much the same today.

  • 1
    It always depends on the way it is implemented. The problem of previous suggestions is that they were largely open to abuse. Commented Jul 23, 2009 at 20:01

I can almost understand the need for moving an answer (but really, if the person who made a question marks an answer as the answer, that answer ought to be a good one, even if there might be an answer that many of the community consider better further down.)

As for marking an answer when there is no answer, the only person it would benefit would be the person who submitted the answer, if you ask me. See this answer: 990364. It's obviously the community-voted answer, and since it's at the top, it's functionally as good as if it had been marked the answer. If it was marked as the answer however, I might get a silvery badge, which would be nice and all, but it doesn't improve the question.

Just my two cents.


Though I have an Enlightened badge awaiting if a guy ever hits that bloody accept checkbox, I still can't get behind this one. The voting system works, as has been proven.

Many times, users accept answers which help them the most, but the community doesn't necessarily like the best. Henceforth, we have the Populist badge. Why should you strip that reward mechanism away from the questioner? Though somebody explained something clearly to me (and I may upvote it), it may not be in terms that the OP can understand. Ergo, the "Accepted Answer" should be a responsibility that lies with the OP and possibly Moderators, if need be.

  • I edited my post to make the move accepted answer optional. But a community vote to mark an answer as accepted if none has been accepted would still be a good idea. Commented Jul 23, 2009 at 19:33
  • It is a good idea. And it's already implemented. It's by the way of the ^
    – Eric
    Commented Jul 23, 2009 at 19:34
  • @Eric: it still marks the question as unanswered. Commented Jul 23, 2009 at 19:37
  • 2
    @Andrew: No it doesn't. Unanswered Questions have no accepted answer and no answer with an upvote.
    – Eric
    Commented Jul 23, 2009 at 19:41
  • @Eric, where exactly are unanswered questions defined as such? Is that the definition the "topusers" stats follow? meta.stackexchange.com/questions/16542/… would use this information you have. :)
    – Nemo
    Commented May 3, 2015 at 19:41

Taking advantage of the .

Why do we want to be able to accept answers for other users' questions?
Or, what does it matter to us whether a question is properly marked as having received a satisfactory, conclusive, or salient answer?

There have been many questions which have concerned this very topic. Why?
Why does it come up so many times, and why does it always get rejected?
Would things be better or worse if we were able to do so?

The reason why I recently suggested something similar is, quite simply, because it bothers me — but did it actually bother me that I saw a question, thought that it hadn't received a satisfactory answer, but that it actually had?

It probably depends on why you were reading the list of questions in the first place. If you weren't simply looking for knowledge, or for problems which are are possibly similar to your own, then you might be looking for a challenge or an intriguing project for your spare time.
A minor concern, to be sure. Some variation of seemingly OCD characteristics probably has something to do with it, also. (I mean, I did invent my own alternative to the antiquated and clumsy Filesystem Hierarchy Standard.)

I suppose that it differs for whether you use the Stack Exchange because you are seeking answers, or seeking questions.

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