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This isn't really specific to this board, but Stack Exchange in general.

Are all questions expected to eventually have one response tagged as the answer? What about cases where there are several responses that are all good, and all answer the question?

I'm thinking about a question I asked a couple of days ago on ideas for finals. Pretty much everything there is good, and nothing stands out as the one, good, valid answer.

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  • $\begingroup$ In situations where the asker seems to have left, I wish someone else was able to accept an answer. $\endgroup$ – user737 Jun 15 '17 at 0:45
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That is the norm on many SEs, but not all. SO is expected to have flagged answers because, well, there usually is one. But SEs like us and matheducators and codereview are supposed instead to generate productive discussion. So far, we have roughly 15% with accepted answers, and I imagine that that is where we will stay, at least for now.

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As far as I know, the 'answer' flag is just a free gift from the asker (as the most helpful answer to them). Upvotes are the real sign of value for other users who come to read the answers.

One way of thinking of this is that the answer tick marks the question as 'done', and not requiring more work. Not to say this is necessary in all cases, but it helps people to filter which questions they view.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is why I hate the 'accepted answer' feature in general. If people treat it like they're closing a trouble ticket, the thread is essentially dead and will no longer be improved and updated as better answers come along (i.e. "answer accepted — no more help needed here"). That is unfortunate... and not at all how Stack Exchange was supposed to work. $\endgroup$ – Robert Cartaino Jun 7 '17 at 17:55
  • $\begingroup$ @RobertCartaino Some people do view it as "done", many others probably also view it as no chance for being "accepted", hence no points, so why bother? On the other hand some people do see it as a challenge and answer anyway, that's why the Late Answer queue is there. And the more objective the answer is, the more likely that "accepted" does mean "done" and the more subjective the answers the more likely it is others will have views they have to express, and answer anyway. In the whole, I think it balances out, and that those looking for answers - the purpose of SE - will look at votes more. $\endgroup$ – Gypsy Spellweaver Jun 7 '17 at 19:15
  • $\begingroup$ @RobertCartaino when I am scanning a list of "related questions" I lean towards the green (accepted answer) ones, and I tend to wonder if a question has lots of upvotes and/or answers but no accepted answer. Either the question was not answered well, was not asked well, or the asker never got around to accepting. So, unlike you, I think that accepting marks a question as more useful to others coming along later on. It has never deterred me from reading, commenting or answering merely because I came to it a while after the first flurry of activity. $\endgroup$ – user737 Jun 15 '17 at 0:42
  • $\begingroup$ @nocomprende I think it's more noticable on the bigger sites. Late answers tend not to get anything like as many upvotes. Its not you, its the average slightly active user. $\endgroup$ – Sean Houlihane Jun 15 '17 at 6:44

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