Something has been bothering me about how questions are accepted in stack exchange. The accepted answer is chosen by the original question poster, but by definition they admit that they don't know the answer (thus the whole reason they ask it on SE). It seems weird to me that the person who admits they are not sure about something has final say on what answer is correct. This allows incorrect or incomplete answers be highlighted. For example see this answer. This is the most recent example I have seen, although certainly not the most egregious.

Is there a way we could change it so that answers are accepted by the SE community and not the original poster?


Because answer acceptance only indicates that it helps the asker the most, while the vote indicates the community's voice.

From the help center,

Accepting an answer is not meant to be a definitive and final statement indicating that the question has now been answered perfectly. It simply means that the author received an answer that worked for them personally. Not every user comes back to accept an answer, and of those who do, they might not change the accepted answer even if a newer, better answer comes along later.

(Emphasis mine)

And thus, it's the asker's prerogative to choose which answer is the most helpful according to them.

Regarding changing the accepted answer, it has been asked since 2009 and declined for above reason. At most, you can flag an accepted answer to be deleted if the answer is nonsensical/trolling, but even mods can't unaccept an answer, much less accepting another answer.

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    $\begingroup$ That is a great explanation. Thanks! $\endgroup$ Apr 22 '19 at 18:41

@AndrewT.s answer sums it up nicely. Here's some additional background:

The Stack Exchange ecosystem is an offshoot of Stack Overflow where in the beginning questions were almost always problems. They still are today pretty much as well. Then and there, acceptance was almost synonymous with "That solved my problem".

While SE is a little different, and each site a little different from every other, the way acceptance works and even the "That solved my problem" wording has remained. You can see it in the banner message that appears when someone votes to close your question as a duplicate.

There's voting up and down for the community to show their view of the different answers, but the OP (Original Poster) has final say. The system works well and apparently zillions of people have been able to work well with it for a decade.


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