I was going through some old questions, where the accepted answers aren't usually the most thorough/best ones (in my opinion), which leads me to my suggestion -

Would it be possible for other users to vote to change the "correct" answer? I can't seem to find the couple of questions I was looking at that spawned this idea, but I'll link to them once I find it. If more than some number of users think the right answer should be changed to something else, then we could award rep to the new accepted answer without taking it away from the original accepted answer (or something like that).

Basically because then the actual "best" answer will come up first.

EDIT: After going through the Meta-SO questions, I eventually found (after stumbling on hundreds of Jon Skeet questions) several threads relating to re-ordering of the questions based on votes.

No one seems to have really reached any form of a consensus on this issue (about re-ordering the questions). I doubt it's going to get resolved, but I thought I'd add these links here for anyone else who's interested in going through the debate.

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    $\begingroup$ When I started out here I had a similar request. But this won't go through, as David said, it's been brought up and shot down often. $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Dec 29 '12 at 19:17
  • $\begingroup$ Should've done a little more research then. ;) Maybe re-ordering the questions so the highest voted one gets shown on top regardless of whether it's accepted or not? That way the "community voted answer" (to quote David's link) gets seen first. $\endgroup$ – Kitchi Dec 29 '12 at 19:20
  • $\begingroup$ But then again, that's probably another suggestion booted around about a billion times. $\endgroup$ – Kitchi Dec 29 '12 at 19:21
  • $\begingroup$ I think it has. I got to go now, but you may wanna dig around on MSO. It may take a while, though. $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Dec 29 '12 at 19:22
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    $\begingroup$ Ah, well I thought it had always been declined. Did you find evidence in any of those MSO threads that the SE team is considering this? If so, I'll remove the status-declined tag. $\endgroup$ – David Z Dec 29 '12 at 21:26
  • $\begingroup$ But @Kitchi, the OP who asks is supposed to choose that answer which is most useful to him ... But I must admit that I sometimes disagree to with what answers are accepted and most highly upvoted etc ... $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Dec 29 '12 at 22:17
  • $\begingroup$ The answer in this questions is obvious much better than the accepted one: physics.stackexchange.com/a/3177/562 $\endgroup$ – unsym Dec 30 '12 at 0:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Dilaton - That's one way of looking at it. On the other hand, the one that is most useful may not always be the most correct in the physics sense. I understand the system in StackOverflow, but here there is room for improvement I think. $\endgroup$ – Kitchi Dec 30 '12 at 10:23
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidZaslavsky - I didn't go through every post in the linked questions, but as far as I could tell there has been a lot of discussion without any real consensus, so I'm not sure what the SO team are doing about it. $\endgroup$ – Kitchi Dec 30 '12 at 10:24

As David says, we are in some sense stuck with this concept in a context where it doesn't make much sense.

The whole Stack Exchange system started with Stack Overflow which is for programming questions, and the interpretation put on acceptance there was the asker stating 'I used this solution to my problem'. As such it is clear that acceptance is entirely in the gift of the asker because it simply means the accepted solution is the one the asker used, and the fact that they might choose a second best solution isn't a really big deal.

Here on physics are questions are not often of the 'I've hit a snag in my work, what are my options' kind that Stack Overflow specializes in (though experimental technique questions could be of that kind) so that this is what I did contotation doesn't often make much sense.

Oh, well.

None the less, acceptance should not be interpreted as indicating correctness: it only indicates the asker's selection and one can take some comfort in the fact that these people are not always in the best position to select a correct answer.

We do however, have a (gold!) badge for giving answers that the community prefers very much in comparison to a decent accepted answer.

  • $\begingroup$ It surprises me that there is only one people get that! And it is only be chance, because the accepted answers vote is much higher now $\endgroup$ – unsym Dec 30 '12 at 0:53
  • $\begingroup$ @hwlau Populist is simply hard to get. Consider that you have to have a non-accepted answer with at least 23 votes before you could get it in the easiest case. Physics.SE is still a modest sized site, so even very active answerers aren't going to have a lot of those (I have zero out of 400+ answers on this site). I have managed it on Stack Overflow, but I have over 1000 answers there. $\endgroup$ – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Dec 30 '12 at 1:02
  • $\begingroup$ I see, but I just figure out that we have a second candidate with one more vote. Lets see whether there is any people want to vote for that on chat. $\endgroup$ – unsym Dec 30 '12 at 1:11

Nope. This or something like it has been brought up many times on MSO (example) and repeatedly declined, so you can be pretty confident it's not going to happen.

I can see it being useful in some cases, but (perhaps unfortunately), we're stuck with the way the system works here.

If the accepted answer is actually outright wrong or completely useless, then you can downvote it, and even post a link in chat to ask other people to review it. You can state your objections to it and ask people to vote as they see fit, but don't go as far as telling people how to vote on a post - while it might not technically be against the rules, it is bad etiquette.

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    $\begingroup$ You may want to add that the most you can do here is downvote and possibly ask other community members to do so via chat. $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Dec 29 '12 at 19:18
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    $\begingroup$ Well, asking people to downvote isn't really okay, but asking other people to review the answer is. I'll put that in, though. $\endgroup$ – David Z Dec 29 '12 at 21:18
  • $\begingroup$ True, that's a better way to phrase it.. :) $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Dec 29 '12 at 22:03

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