I'm fairly new to SO and particularly to meta as I'm sure is obvious by my rep. As I understand things the accepted answer is the answer the author says answers the question. The user who supplied the accepted answer is rewarded with 15 rep points.

The votes on an answer determine what the community thinks is most useful and the answerer is rewarded with 10 rep points for each vote.

From what I've read so far it seems as if people are assigning to much importance to the accepted answer instead of paying attention to the votes. I can she how the name can be imply that this answer is correct and all others aren't as good or may even be wrong. This is even more likely to be the case for non-SO users who come here from a Google search for their problem. This misunderstanding may be enhanced by the prominent role accepted answers appear to have on the site.

There also seems to be an issue regarding why only one answer can be accepted when the question may be best answered with pieces from several answers.

I have a suggestion that addresses both issues. Please remember that I'm new and be kind...

I think the role of the accepted answer should be diminished. As it is it seems that it really should only be important to the person asking the question and the one who gets posts the accepted answer.

I suggest that each question be given a special fund of 15 points that can be distributed by the question's author across all the answers that helped answer the question. Instead of displaying a big check mark next to the accepted, display a smaller one and a number indicating how many points were awarded.

Also consider not highlight the accepted answer(s). Between that and the big check all eyes go straight to that answer. It might be better to highlight the answer with the most votes as the community is likely a better judge of what will be useful to everyone (not just the asker) then the asker.

  • I'm guessing that this post will get the following reaction: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/8600
    – Eric
    Commented Jul 25, 2009 at 4:00
  • That could very well be but it doesn't hurt to make a suggestion and I am only suggesting the asker be allowed to spread the rep for the accepted answer across multiple good answers while that link was suggesting a major overhaul of the entire voting system.
    – drs9222
    Commented Jul 25, 2009 at 4:35
  • See: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5399/…
    – waffles
    Commented Jul 25, 2009 at 8:25
  • Consider it kind that only one person down-voted this question. Commented Jul 25, 2009 at 12:38
  • drs9222's idea is exactly how Experts Exchange does it - you can Accept one answer, but also nominate one or more Assisted answers, and distribute the poinks between them as you choose. (I'm not venturing an opinion about whether it's a good idea or not - just saying that's how it works over there.) Commented Jul 25, 2009 at 18:23
  • @drs9222: No need to be shy - You're new here, and you have less bias looking at things than those who have been here longer, I think your contribution is very helpful. Ok, I argue against your proposal in my answer, but hey, this is the site for META discussions ;-) Carry on!
    – Treb
    Commented Jul 25, 2009 at 18:56

3 Answers 3


Too complicated. Not necessary.


If a question is best answered by a combination of (parts of) several questions, feel free to compose such an answer (maybe stating your sources and giving credit, maby only by upvoting) and then, if you are the question owner, accept it or leave it for acception.

That way the already working system will even thrive more.

See this discussion as well.

  • I also read that before posting and thought that there was no adequate (or if you look at the votes popular) answer to it.
    – drs9222
    Commented Jul 25, 2009 at 13:28

In my opinion, the system works quite well as it is. I have yet to see a question where the accepted answer is wrong.

Having one accepted answer that stand out from all the others is good! Some person googling for a quick solution to his problem gets pointed to the answer that somebody else found most helpful. When I do this, I am looking at the accepted answer first, but usually also at 3 or 4 other answers, to see if they can shed some more light on my problem (which might differ from the problem of the person asking the question), so I don't see any problem that would require fixing.

  • There are some questions where the accepted answer has been down-voted significantly. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/7682/… Commented Jul 25, 2009 at 12:44
  • That is one of several questions that made me decide to write this. I now wish I had referenced them. I know I'm new and don't have a lot of experience with the site, but after I spent a couple hours reading posts here I decided to comment on the common themes I had seen.
    – drs9222
    Commented Jul 25, 2009 at 13:16
  • I lokked at a few of the questions referenced by Brad Gilbert above. In most cases, the first thing I noticed was not the accepted answer, but the comments to the question (with high comment upvotes) saying 'Why did you accept that answer, it's completely wrong because...' That's why I don't see any danger of somebody accidentally using an accepted answer that is wrong. Besides, the number of these questions is very small compared to the overall number of questions on SO, so the signal-to-noise is still great. The system isn't perfect as it is, but it's well enough, IMO.
    – Treb
    Commented Jul 25, 2009 at 18:54

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