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Zeffii's question comes close to, but is a little different from, something I've been thinking of for a while. The scenario is that a user, who may have only come to the community to ask one particular question, asks that question—a really really good question—and gets a really good answer. And having gotten the answer, leaves the community before accepting the answer. The reasons for non-acceptance are not as important in this discussion as the fact that it did not get accepted. And because it never got accepted, it has remained marooned on the unanswered questions list.

A similar situation would be where after a question was asked, and an answer was accepted, a much better answer was offered--more thoroughly complete, better resourced, &c.

Should there be some mechanism by which the community, or the moderators operating on the community's behalf, could accept answers, or mark a different answer accepted than the answer originally accepted by the original query poster? A parallel to the "close" vote comes to mind as a reasonable parallel.

Or is this question worth moving up to the "Big Meta" discussion list?

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  • $\begingroup$ this question is a natural evolution after assessing the various reasons for unaccepted answers.. Obviously a percentage of them does have an objectively correct answer. $\endgroup$ – zeffii Jul 30 '15 at 19:40
  • $\begingroup$ What about questions which already have answers in a different question, and get an accepted answer before it can be marked as a duplicate? $\endgroup$ – zeffii Jul 30 '15 at 20:00
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The accepted answer is the indicator that the answer solved the problem for the original poster (OP), it doesn't mean that is necessarily the "best" answer or even at times the "correct" answer. The checkmark shows that the OP selected the answer that worked for them.

Adding a community accept feature was on Meta Stack Exchange and it was declined.

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    $\begingroup$ hey @blue, good to see you around. $\endgroup$ – David Jul 30 '15 at 21:05
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At the current time, no. There is no other mechanism to accept answers, other then the OP pressing the check mark button.

Force Accepted Answers on Questions by Inactive Users

However just because a answer is not accepted does not put it on the unanswered list. The answer has to have 0 up votes to be on the unanswered list.

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