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Allow Accepted Answer recipient to give it away

I'm in a situation where I'm one of many people who have answered a pretty basic question, and luckily for me I managed to get the accept. Some of the other answers contained the same content as mine (or even more), occurred before mine did (by ten or twenty seconds), and have more votes. Being a pretty honest kind of guy, I think one or the other of those probably deserve the accept more than I do.

I can also think of a couple of other situations whereby an accepted answer may not actually be the best answer:

  • The asker doesn't know any better, and selects the first answer that sounds right to them (even if it may not be the best answer).
  • The asker accepts an answer, another answer comes along that's even better, and the asker doesn't change their accepted answer.

I have seen each of these scenarios several times.

As such, I propose that the person who has the accepted answer should be able to transfer that in turn to a different answer. That is, since I have the accept on the linked question, I should be able to transfer that to the answer I think is more more deserving (particularly, Jon's answer which occurred before mine and has more information as well as covering the same content as mine).

I realise this may be a bit contentious since it overrides the asker's right to select the answer they believe helped them the most, and in effect puts words in their mouth. However, given that all SE sites are fully editable to users with enough rep, I think that this is just an extension of that principle. As I see it, there's also a number of ways to help address this potential concern, I'd suggest one or several of the following strategies:

  • Make this ability only available to users with a relatively high rep, under the assumption that a user with high rep will actually have a good idea that the answer they're transferring the accept to is truly more deserving.
  • Make it so that the asker has to authorise the transfer of the accept.
  • Make it a mod ability that can be requested by any user - i.e. you click on the accept check mark next to a competing answer, the mods have to approve the transfer.

If SE is truly to be a resource for people seeking answers to their questions, I think it's important that the accept be on the best answer given wherever possible (I suspect many people looking for answers don't look much beyond the question and the accepted answer). I think this ability would help to achieve that.

Thoughts?

  • Upvote those other answers. Accepting is a privilege reserved only for the asker. No one else has the right to accept answers. If you don't wish your answer to be the accepted one, you may delete it. – Cody Gray Jul 25 '11 at 3:32
  • @TheEstablishment you can delete your answer even after it has been accepted? I've not tried it, but I've read many places that is not possible... (?) – Code Jockey Oct 17 '12 at 12:01

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