On a regular basis, people ask questions with no other possible answer then:

No, that can't be done, because...

Mostly, this is because of a lack of technical understanding of OP, or because people exactly want to copy the behaviour of another OS. In these situations, the best possible answer(s) explain why it is not possible and suggests one or more alternative solutions, if available.

If an answer convinces you that what you asked for is impossible, "beyond reasonable doubt", and it explains very well why, my suggestion is to consider accepting nevertheless.

We don't always get what we want. That does not mean the answer explaining why cannot be accepted.

  • 8
    because life is repz and repz is life.
    – Seth
    Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 19:43
  • 2
    How is OP supposed to know that it's not possible? Maybe OP hopes it's possible, and is hoping that someone will come along and explain it.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 11:20
  • 6
    Right. But it still depends on how OP considers your explanation. It's happened to me that I've asked a question, a high-rep user comes and answers that it's not possible. Then some time later, someone else comes and gives exactly the answer I was looking for. It may be rare, but it can happen. Not saying it's the case in this example. But generally, OP may believe that it might be possible and wait for an answer.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 11:49
  • 9
    @JacobVlijm yes, but accepting often results in nobody else bothering to read and answer. That's why many people wait a while before accepting.
    – terdon
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 13:16
  • @terdon My thoughts exactly.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 14:44
  • 2
    Jacob, that may be because you're a particularly helpful guy. Very few people behave like you. Many people behave in the manner described by @terdon . And what do you mean by "bs"?
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 14:50
  • 1
    @Fiksdal some times, want you want isn't what everyone needs.
    – Braiam
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 19:07
  • @Braiam Sure. And that's why it's great that "everyone" (almost) can vote :) The accept isn't such a big deal. I mean, when you hover over the "accept" mark it says (emphasis mine) "Click to accept this answer because it solved your problem or was the most helpful in finding your solution." The thing is, even if someone like Jacob explains very well that something is simply not possible, OP may not understand it. He may hope it's still possible. Therefore, he may not accept the answer. And accepting is sort of a personal thing, reflecting the feelings of OP. So I think it's OK.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 19:49
  • 3
    On a related note Please unpin the accepted answer from the top
    – Braiam
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 19:56
  • @JacobVlijm I read the title, Jacob. My point was that the answerer may be absolutely correct that it's not possible to answer the question properly. But that doesn't help if OP doesn't understand it. OP may not believe it. In that case, it doesn't matter if the answerer is right that it's not possible to answer. And what do you mean by loyalty contest? Not sure I understand.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 20:00
  • 1
    @JacobVlijm Ah, I see. Yeah, I was also talking in general, actually. If OP believes you and is fully convinced that it's completely impossible, then he should obviously accept. I agree with that.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 20:07
  • Group mentality is quite common. But since voting is anonymous, I think most people probably vote after what they really feel/think.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 20:11
  • 1
    @JacobVlijm It is true that the answer on the top often gets more votes.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 20:15
  • @JacobVlijm It does not weaken your argument, but the post that you linked to as an example, has an accepted answer now, which is coincidentally yours.
    – Sagar Jha
    Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 18:45
  • 1
    Perhaps I'm the eternal optimist but I firmly believe anything is possible so "It can't be done" Is a sure and certain way to motivate me to find a solution. I remember back in the early to mid 1980's being told "You can't have more than 2 hard drives in a desktop computer". Clearly this was false even in the days of MFM drives. You just needed a second card that would accept an address space other than the default C800 and as I recall a different IRQ.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 17:49

2 Answers 2


Please consider accepting a good answer, even if it does not (possibly) give you what you asked for

I have to say I completely disagree with this. Accepting an answer is saying that that answer solved the OP's issue. If no answer solves it, then none should be accepted. Sure, it would be nice to get that extra 15 rep that comes with an accept but, as the OP, you have every right to wait for a better answer. You have the right, so to speak, to hope.

This is not (only) for the sake of the answers, given to this question. Acting this way, you make people not want to answer this kind of questions at all.

I'm sorry but if someone's only answering to get the 15 reputation granted by the OP's accepting their answer, they are here for the wrong reasons. Even putting aside the lofty sentiments about providing knowledge for the sake of knowledge, helping the community, providing answers for future generations etc., even ignoring all that and treating this entire site as nothing but a game where the sole objective is amassing Useless Internet Points©, even then, a measly 2 upvotes give more rep than the accept. I really don't see why the accept is such a huge motivator. We answer because we want to help people and/or because we want the reps. Well, the reps will come whether our answer is accepted or not.

Eternally unanswered questions are a pain on the site, so:

Do not confuse "answered" questions with "questions with an accepted answer". A question counts as "answered" if it has either i) an accepted answer or ii) at least one upvoted answer. Accepting an answer is nothing more than the OP saying "this solved it for me". It doesn't mean the answer is The Answer®, it doesn't mean it's better than the other answers, it doesn't really mean anything at all. As explained in the relevant SE blog post (emphasis from the original):

This is a simple social convention we use to close the loop between the person asking and the person answering -- with a little reputation sugar to sweeten the deal (+15 to the answer, and +2 to the owner). Accepting an answer is not meant to be a definitive and final statement indicating that the question has now been answered perfectly. Heck, we don't even expect people asking questions to come back and accept an answer most of the time.

Finally, to illustrate your point here, you are using answers that were posted two days ago! Good grief, even if the OP had received the best possible answer, the answer of their dreams that made all their wishes come true, they still would be justified in waiting a few more days in case anything better came along before accepting.

So, no, if an answer doesn't give you what you want, there is no reason to accept it. If it can tell you definitively that what you're asking is 100% impossible, you can indeed think about accepting it if you wish. However, there is never any pressure to do so. We all (or, at least, I do) often leave comments asking the OP to accept an answer if it solved their issue. Those are more to educate the OP than anything else though. Yes, accepting is good since it sometimes makes it easier to find the best answer but no, it is not essential to the working of the SE sites.

  • 1
    "Useless Internet Points©" I don't know you, but those aren't what I carve, mine are Imaginary Internet Points™ and they are better than yours :P
    – Braiam
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 18:11
  • Reputation points can also guide those asking questions a method by which to judge which of multiple answers might best help their particular situation. Another aspect of this is commenting to the original question to aid the OP in some way - while some comments only point out this is a duplicate others are quite constructive even thought not qualifying as an answer.
    – pfeiffep
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 19:30
  • 3
    @pfeiffep be careful of that, one of my answers was upvoted just because I had the reputation, not because it was factually correct (through the theory was solid, just the implementation of such theory was flaky). terdon may remember which I am talking about, since he was who pointed out the mistake.
    – Braiam
    Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 1:01
  • «If no answer solves it, then none should be accepted» Assuming that the problem/question can be solved. I.e. the exact opposite assumption than what @JacobVlijm was talking about. Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 16:42
  • 1
    @AndreaLazzarotto if the OP feels that "it's not possible" answers their question, they can accept. If they feel that the answer is not definitive, they are free not to. More to the point, the OP is free to never accept if they are not satisfied by the answer.
    – terdon
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 17:08
  • You wrote what (quoting) should be done, not what the OP is free to do. Surely the OP is free to not accept, but this is not what should be done. Moreover, the OP might "feel" whatever they want. It doesn't change facts. (in this particular case, the fact that something is impossible if an accurate answer supported by facts is provided) Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 17:10
  • 1
    @AndreaLazzarotto that's just it. There is no should. The OP may accept, or not, it's up to them.
    – terdon
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 17:12
  • @terdon not sure why asking to consider is constantly translated into demand. Not my words. Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 18:19
  • 1
    @JacobVlijm again, what? I was answering Andrea who said should.
    – terdon
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 20:43

we have mixed fruit salad situation here.

  1. I am a new user , I have a question about Ubuntu , I heard about AskUbuntu and I posted here. I dont give a s**t about terms&conditions. I got what I want and I will leave. No accepting No Upvoting.

  2. I am a user of AskUbuntu and I know few good people are ought here to help with my problem. Somebody posted excellent answers but not accurate. So I will wait and see if some big mind geek may be posting an answer like take A eat B drink C sleep D.

  3. I am user of AskUbuntu , I love reputation score and I am competing with another guy here from planet Mars so even he post right question I dont accept it because he will get more repz than me!!!.

  4. I am user of AskUbuntu , few decades ago on AskUbuntu while I am new some guy gave me rude comment for my mistake that I dont know and I have it in my mind still and he answered my today's question but I just dont accept it. I want to feel like revenge.

and many more... damn my fingers...

And few years ago I have raised same situation to a Mod and he said an upvote is fine. Then I thought :P .

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .