I posed a question and received two good answers. I'd like to 'accept' both, but this appears impossible (likely for good reasons). Must I just choose one (after voting both up), or can I accept/reward/honor both answers in some way?

The context is: I posed this question which (I humbly believe) was specific enough to elicit useful answers but which was general enough to allow individual experience to be added.

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And now you've got another two good answers to choose from! –  cormullion Feb 14 '13 at 17:20
    
It's true! I'd like to thank all of you for providing such excellent answers and support as well as such a welcoming atmosphere to top it off. –  zentient Feb 14 '13 at 19:44
    
FWIW I didn't think my answer warranted an "accept". I think it hopefully contained some useful information but it wasn't really a complete answer. ...on the other hand at times I have posted a complete answer (literally) to a question and had it ignored. Swings and roundabouts. –  Mike Honeychurch Feb 14 '13 at 23:18
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Cash is always acceptable. Usually large denominations in a leading currency (Euros, Pound Sterling, US dollars if nothing else) are preferred. –  rcollyer Feb 18 '13 at 17:09
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3 Answers 3

up vote 12 down vote accepted

It is only possible to accept a single answer in the StackExchange system. The accepted answer will be "pinned" to the top, and this it will be the first one any future visitors see.

In general, in such a situation I'd accept the answer which I think will be more useful for future visitors. Also, upvote all the answers which are useful/helpful, not only the best ones.

If you think that an answer is so useful that it should be specially rewarded, you can always offer a bounty. (Seeing that you are talking about my answer too in this case, please don't do that. You actually can't until you get 4 more reputation points.)


When you can't decide in such a situation, it's always good to think about the bigger goal of StackExchange: it strives to be useful not only for the original poster, but also to anyone who might be googling for the same question. This is why both questions and answers can be edited by all users, not just the original posters: sometimes it's good to update them, make them more readable, easier to find, more accurate, extend them, etc. I consider this aspect of StackExchange more important than the reputation system.

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To the existing answers, I would simply add this: the purpose of having an accepted answer is so that the asker can

  • indicate that they consider their problem adequately resolved, and
  • declare which of the answers they liked best.

Accepting any of the answers adequately addresses the first point. As for the second: this decision is completely up to you and there are no guidelines as to what qualities an accepted answer should possess. Personally I agree with Szabolcs's reasoning here; moreover, I think it's safe to say that at this stage few users would consider reputation points a major motivation for answering. Above 125 points (at which stage you gain the right to downvote), there's little practical difference between what users are able to do on the site--the only real distinction is whether they can act unilaterally or whether their actions require approval by other users before they become effective.

My own suggestion would be that, if you want to reward other users for taking the time to write a good answer to your question, the best way is: participate more! Post more questions and answers, edit posts that you feel could be improved, visit the chat once in a while--whatever you have time for and feel like doing. In this way you help the site to become even more successful and tangibly contribute to your own and other users' enjoyment of it.

Reputation points are very easy to come by; enthusiastic site participants much less so. We would all be very pleased to gain one of the latter!

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No, there is no way to Accept two answers. (Please do not avoid Accepting either to be "fair.")

It is usually enough to vote for both answers, and if you wish comment with thanks to author of the one you did not Accept (since he cannot see that the +1 vote is from you).

If you feel that an answer is of extraordinary insight, interest, or effort, and you have sufficient "reputation" points you can make use of the Bounty system.

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