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This question is in response to a couple of comments I've gotten asking me to accept answers for questions I've asked. In this beta (and a couple other ones), I've personally avoided accepting answers during the private beta to give others a chance to flesh things out once it's opened to the public. At that point, I'll go back and accept all the answers I'm satisfied with.

But since I've gotten a couple critiques so far on this beta I thought I'd ask, what's the recommended way to handle accepting answers during private beta? Do StackExchange people have any advice (it seems like the "% accepted" statistic only starts appearing several days into the private beta)?

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    It's worth noting that "private beta" is almost over (less than 24 hours left). – Richard Nov 22 '11 at 15:41
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In general, my advice is "pick the one that you want as soon as you want."

If you feel like a question has been fully answered by a given answer, choose that as accepted. If you feel like the topic has a lot more to depth to it and you want to wait until more answers come in, feel free to not accept an answer.

Also, if you feel the question is not getting the attention that it desires and you're looking for a more complete answer, you can wait until public beta and then post a bounty on it. Posting a bounty gives you different reasons for the bounty, including the desire to have a canonical answer or to draw attention to the question.

Ultimately, the little green checkbox merely means that you find the answer useful. It doesn't necessarily confer "rightness" to the answer, merely usefulness. So, please don't feel any pressure to wait for the "right" answer. On the other hand, don't feel pressured to choose one that you feel doesn't answer your question.

Just pick the one you want, as soon as you want to.

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  • This is my canned answer to this question. Ultimately, accepting an answer simply means that you found it useful. If you want to wait until later, feel free. If you want to accept one now, feel free. Choose the path that you find most useful. – Richard Nov 22 '11 at 15:40
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I'm reluctant to accept until the public beta has started. I'm still upvoting the good ones, of course!

Some answers are complete enough to accept even now. It should be up to the judgement of each private beta participant who asks a question.

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If an answer is definitive and the votes and comments it gets or the references it provides indicate that is the case then I won't hesitate to accept a good answer.

If the above are lacking I don't accept. For instance if an answer seems to be somebody's assumption or comments refute it or I can't follow links to read more about it then I might not accept. I also might not accept a one-liner that lacks details even if it seems correct in case a more fleshed out correct answer also comes in.

And of course don't forget, you can change the accepted answer! It doesn't hurt anything besides the originally accepted answer's author's ego and reputation score to accept a better answer that comes along later.

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  • You can't change the accepted answer after a certain period of time, correct? Does anyone know how long it is until it gets locked? – jrdioko Nov 22 '11 at 17:33
  • I thought that unlike votes, which is the accepted answer is always subject to change, and that it was a method to keep questions from going stale. But I could well be wrong so I'd also like to hear what other people know. – hippietrail Nov 22 '11 at 17:40
  • Well, looks like you're right... I just tried it on an ancient StackOverflow question and it worked. I thought I ran into it before but maybe it was changing a vote rather than an accepted answer. – jrdioko Nov 22 '11 at 17:44
  • I'm going to tag this question with "support" to draw the attention of a Stack Exchange moderator to give an official answer. I hope that's a proper use of the "support" tag. – hippietrail Nov 22 '11 at 17:52

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