I read the tour page, and it said

accepted answers aren't always the best, they just mean that it worked for that user.

Well, it is possible to have two working answers, so why can we only have one accepted answer?


1 Answer 1


Because that's how the system works.
Why is that how the system works? Probably for simplicity.

I build online systems. The disparity in effort required between perfect and good enough is huge. And in some cases —especially this sort of case— putting mechanisms in place to reflect the real world can make the whole thing confusing and brittle.

And the whole SE system is very much about helping the next person with the same problem. Working out which is the best is very much down to the users. The system as it is forces the OP to pick. There's no wussing out. There's just the stamp of "this one helped me the most, other people should use this one".

  • 1
    I must disagree with this. Sometimes the users think that they solved the issue but it was just a temporary workaround or not the most elegant way to solve it ("reinstall it, format it" etc.). They vote the question as solved, but someone offers a better, more permanent answer. You'll see it in the comment section. Sometimes the answered marked as best didn't work for someone, and other answers did. Jan 15, 2017 at 15:08
  • @luisgonzalez You make a valid point, but you are ignoring the up/down vote component. Any particular problem may have any number of solutions, some better and some worse depending on the root cause of the problem. The OP is supposed to pick the answer that helped them the most. Others will vote on the answers (hopefully based on what worked in their situation) None of this provides any guarantee that it will work in your situation but it does give some insight into what solutions are likely to solve the issue for the next person who encounters it. Perfect, no. Useful, yes.
    – Elder Geek
    Jan 16, 2017 at 20:42
  • And what happens to the general usefulness of Askubuntu if a user has an uncommon cause of the issue, and marks the most uncommon solution to the problem? I've seen cases where the solution marked as best isn't even upvoted for the rest. There could be something that weighs in this phenomenon. Jan 17, 2017 at 18:10
  • @luisgonzalez Yup, there are all sorts of artefacts in life. Nothing you've said there changes why a single accepted answer is generally the best option for the whole system, just why it's not great when people are silly with it. But again, this highlight why everybody voting is also important.
    – Oli Mod
    Jan 18, 2017 at 11:00
  • @luisgonzalez, Acceptance & Votes have been mentioned already. I want to add Bounties (specially the ones given by users directly, not auto granted by community user) to me they are also accepted answers sometime not from same original poster.
    – user.dz
    Jan 21, 2017 at 13:38
  • There are two reasons why a "selected" answer may not be the best one: 1) The reason already noted by @luisgonzalez, and 2) Time. Very often, the best solution isn't the best solution six months or a year later. Hence, in that vein, I think it would be useful if there were some mechanism available to emphasize the age of an answer in a means to caution later readers that a more contemporary solution might exist.
    – David W
    Jan 25, 2017 at 14:47

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