In a recent question, aparente001 suggested me

I wonder if waiting to bestow the green checkmark might encourage a larger variety of answers?

Which is something that I (and you, probably) have wondered in the past too.

There is of course no definitive answer. It may depend on the stack, the users, the amount of questions received per day, the amount of answers the question already has...

Even understanding that the answer might change in the future, I can't resist using aparente001's question to poll the community.

Now lets get something clear. There are many valid reasons why someone would visit a question, see that it has an accepted answer and decide to move forward or invest their time elsewhere (maybe in unanswered questions). Maybe it is more about the number and/or quality of answers, or the question itself (not many of our questions receive multiple answers, after all).

The question is,

does seeing that a question has an accepted answer discourage you to work on providing an additional answer for that question?

Feel free to leave a brief comment next to your vote if you want to be verbose and encourage discussion, like

  • I know that accepted answers can be changed, so mine could best the existing one and become the accepted answer!

  • I rather work on an unanswered question than work on a post that has already been explained.

  • It's so difficult to provide an additional answer when the question already has an answer, much more when it has an accepted answer!

  • I only provide an answer if I see room for an explanation related to a about the place where I live.

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  • Sorry, I should know the answer to this, but: do we already have a clear way of distinguishing questions where we know the answer will vary by locality? I feel like we need a new feature in the software. In a math class there might be several approaches to proving a certain proposition. One might post two or three official "answers," so that a student who tried to use Approach B can still compare his proof against a posted solution, even though Approach A was the approach taken by 90% of the class. – aparente001 Aug 17 '17 at 13:27
  • I mean, this question should really be focused specifically on questions of the type "answer-depends-greatly-on-locality" (like "agua potable"). By the way, that's one of the things that makes this particular SE so much fun to participate in, for fluent speakers. We get to see and hear the world from our armchairs. And share our corner of the world with other folks sitting in their armchairs. And some of us are sharing our memory of a corner of the world -- which brings solace. – aparente001 Aug 17 '17 at 13:35
  • Questions can have multiple answers (and it's encouraged they do so). You could indeed provide an answer that is just a "better, clearer and more concise" version of something already posted. Also, there are times where there are equally valid answers based on regional differences. The Stack Exchange Q&A model is not the best fit for those and we are trying to make do with wiki list answers while we engineer a better approach. While they are two different cases, I think the question is valid for the two (you may not even read a question if you see the green checkmark) – Diego Aug 17 '17 at 14:50
  • For some people, I suspect those are different situations. (I personally will go ahead and consider "Do I want to write an answer even though there's already a green checkmark?" if I have the time; also, for me personally, any really long-winded answer raises a red flag for me; sometimes I love it and sometimes I find that the answer got too far away from what the person was trying to find out.) – aparente001 Aug 17 '17 at 17:13


For multiple reasons, when I see that a question already has an accepted answer I decide not to invest much time on this question and move forward.

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  • I voted for this. Once I see an accepted answer on topics I am not very skilled of (like gramática) I just check it and relax a little assuming it is already "ok". – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' Aug 16 '17 at 6:31


Seeing that a question has an accepted answer does not discourage me to contribute with further content to that question.

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It depends

If a question has an accepted answer, I may or may not contribute a new answer, depending on how the accepted answer and the question itself fit my criteria for clarity, correctness, succinctness, citation of sources, visibility, usefulness to other users, and so on.

  • This one accurately reflects my experience. I personally will often go ahead and write my own answer, especially if the existing answers strike me as hitting a fly with a sledgehammer of complex grammar explanations, and if I think I have a simpler way of answering, that is targeted to the level of the asker, and that connects intuitively with the asker. – aparente001 Aug 17 '17 at 13:31

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