Is there a mechanism to "vote to answer"? Some questions appear unanswered, but in several cases for rather pedestrian reasons like the original poster never visited the site again, in spite of several good answers posted. In a sense, the good answers are upvoted, so in a way, we're already doing this, so a logical extension is to allow voting to declare a question "answered", perhaps after some time of inaction on the part of the OP.

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    $\begingroup$ If a question has upvoted answers, in what sense are you saying it appears unanswered? $\endgroup$ – David Z Jul 14 '11 at 17:03
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    $\begingroup$ @Jen: Selecting the green checkmark (which also makes the n answers block get a green background) is called "accepting" the answer. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Jul 14 '11 at 17:30

Two points:

  1. Accepting an answer does not indicate that it is the best answer. It means it is the one the asker liked or used. Nothing more nothing less.

    In particular questions are not in any sense "open" or "unanswered" until there is a green checkmark and "closed" or "answered" afterwards. Note that there is a badge explicitly for getting many more votes than the accepted answer.

  2. The formal definition of "unanswered" for the purposes of the unanswered tab is "having no answers with net positive votes and no accepted answer"

In a sense it is unfortunate that the site puts so much visual emphasis on accepted answers, because I prefer the current system but new users don't see a clear explanation of the meaning of acceptance and simply draw their own conclusions from the emphasis the site gives to it.

Suggestions to allow some form of community acceptance have appeared on the mother meta many many times without the team taking any action.

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    $\begingroup$ In my opionion, it would be better if there was no check mark, but just a very small text saying "Accepted by the OP" along with the flag, share, edit, options. $\endgroup$ – Abhimanyu Pallavi Sudhir Jul 16 '13 at 9:37

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