I have recently posted a puzzle which was met with several excellent answers of roughly equivalent quality. This lead me to look for guidelines on how to choose which answer to accept. Should I favor earlier answers, more creative answers, simpler answers? I was surprised to find no information about this either on this meta or in the site help pages.

What does the community think: how should we choose which answer to accept when a question has been given several answers of high quality?


2 Answers 2


I think when accepting an answer, it's worthwhile to keep in mind that this site is not about being fastest to win/solve. It is not a competition, albeit challenges seem to imply this.

I think if you want to accept for the community you should aim at having the answer accepted, which best answers the question. Imagine somebody finding your post months/years later and only reading your question and the accepted answer. Will it be a good experienced for the reader?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This is how I would tend to think about it myself. I am happy to know that at least someone else agrees. $\endgroup$
    – DanielSank
    Dec 28, 2014 at 22:12

You can accept whichever answer appeals most to you. In general, you should accept the best answer. If that sounds subjective, it is. I suggest the answer that best explains the solution, breaking ties by oldest answer.

See also this question on main meta.

  • $\begingroup$ Ah! So you're saying that the important factor to you is clarity of the exposition? $\endgroup$
    – DanielSank
    Dec 28, 2014 at 18:59
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Yes, I would argue clarity of explanation is the most important aspect of answers on this site. We are here to help others, after all. $\endgroup$
    – Kevin
    Dec 28, 2014 at 19:00
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ You know what's funny? Over on Physics.SE the idea that we're there to "help others" is really not the accepted mentality. Glad to know it is here. $\endgroup$
    – DanielSank
    Dec 28, 2014 at 19:06
  • $\begingroup$ Excellent answer, summarising exactly what answer acceptance is all about. Is there a main meta post you can link to too? $\endgroup$ Dec 28, 2014 at 19:07
  • $\begingroup$ @rand See: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5234/… $\endgroup$
    – user20
    Dec 28, 2014 at 20:34
  • $\begingroup$ now it has reached me as well... I have a queasy feeling about my accpetion $\endgroup$
    – Varon
    Mar 11, 2016 at 18:47

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