So, after a few posts here and there on SE, I saw this happen a few times: a user A is the first to answer correctly to a question. His answer is thus accepted. Yet, user B then adds an answer which is more complete than user A's answer, but yet refers the same concept.

It is the same as asking "what is the answer to 2.0+2.0?"

User A answers: "4" -> accepted answer

User B answers: "4.0"

-Both answers are correct, though user B has a more complete answer (in this case, it would also be a better answer).

Should the OP switch the accepted answer to user B?

  • 11
    Yes, absolutely, I would say. For people looking for an answer later on, it's helpful if the green tick marks the "best" answer, not the first correct one. I think that in a case like the one you describe, people on this site are also pretty good at leaving a comment to an existing almost correct answer ("I think a better answer would be 4.0") instead of posting a slightly different competing answer of their own, so the issue you describe doesn't appear here very often.
    – Jake
    Commented May 24, 2013 at 12:53
  • 4
    Related question (as Martin suggests in his answer too): Should we wait a bit before accepting answers?
    – Alan Munn
    Commented May 24, 2013 at 14:23

1 Answer 1


The issue can be often be solved in advance by simply not accepting the first answer right away. Instead the questioner should wait at least a couple of hours if not a day until the answer is accepted. This way other people have a chance to give an answer as well.

Another thing is when a new answer is given after a longer period of time. It happens that month or year old questions receive new answers. This is of course ok. This site is all about collecting knownledge and presenting it in a useful way. Here you should feel free to switch the acception mark to another answer if you feel it's the better solution.

However, there are cases, IMHO, when switching the accepted answer is not considered correct: For once, if the questioner gives a final self-answer with its solution based on another answer, switching the acception should not be considered OK. Also if the new answer copies 99% of the new material and simply adds some marginal content for example. Here it might anyway be better the additions are added as a comment to or are edited into the existing answer.

Now if the new material is substantial to the problem and provides a significant better solution it should be considered to be accepted, because on the long term it will be more useful to the OP and other users in the future. It should be noted that it's common practice and considered as good tone on this site to refer to the earlier answer when posting an improved version.

  • 3
    I think I'll way a couple of hours or maybe a day to accept an answer ;)
    – Sos
    Commented May 24, 2013 at 14:07
  • 6
    For §3, there are also some (rare) cases when the poster merges two or three good answers into an excellent one. The accepted answer should then be the new answer. A good work-around can be to give a small bounty to the other answers, as a long-lasting acknowledgement token. Or more simply, in case the OP has low reputation and the good answers came from people who don't really care about rep, an explicit acknowledgement in the answer.
    – T. Verron
    Commented May 24, 2013 at 18:47

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