Is it ok not to accept answer to a question because each of the answers that has been given so far has some points that other answers don't and furthermore all of them are useful to the OP?

Actually the question arose because recently in this question I have received a number of good responses but in my view each of them has some merit and points that other answers don't posses. So I thought that it will be unfair to accept a single answer as the best answer because all serves my purpose quite well. Is it ok to do that?

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    $\begingroup$ Even though all are helpful, which one do you think helped your understanding the most? Also, you can read meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/17270/… which is about not accepting an answering. It isn't your exact question but you will see the communities thoughts on leaving questions unanswered. $\endgroup$
    – dustin
    Dec 29, 2014 at 4:51
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    $\begingroup$ @dustin: Actually each answer discusses a new viewpoint and to be honest my purpose wouldn't be served if I hadn't received this response from the community. $\endgroup$
    – user170039
    Dec 29, 2014 at 4:56
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    $\begingroup$ @dustin: What does "leaving questions unanswered" mean? $\endgroup$ Dec 29, 2014 at 7:29
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    $\begingroup$ You are within your rights to do as you please. My preference would be for you to vote up all of the answers you found helpful, accept one of them, and maybe leave comments thanking the people you didn't accept but found helpful. $\endgroup$ Dec 29, 2014 at 8:11

2 Answers 2


The main reason for accepting an answer is not to "be nice and give 15 rep". It is to determine the answer that will be shown at the top.

For a soft question with no objectively "right" answer, it makes more sense to let the voters decide what answer goes on top. And the way to let them decide is to not mark any of the answers as accepted.

If any checkmark-obsessed users complain, just ignore them.

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    $\begingroup$ My answers are ordered by activity, so your answer doesn't make sense to me. :-P $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Dec 29, 2014 at 5:52
  • $\begingroup$ Sure, if that's your choice. Though the checkmark messes that up too. $\endgroup$
    – user147263
    Dec 29, 2014 at 5:59
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    $\begingroup$ So it's a lose-lose situation. Only one way out. Buff my answer with additional references, and more information and submit it to AMM. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Dec 29, 2014 at 6:00
  • $\begingroup$ Good answer! Unfortunately on some SE sites, you get a system-generated (I believe) nag. Example: imgur.com/uQPcqFI. I get that on EE.SE, but not on SO in what seem to be similar circumstances. $\endgroup$
    – Fizz
    Dec 31, 2014 at 11:58
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    $\begingroup$ Isn't there another major reason, namely so that the question doesn't stay on the unanswered list? I thought I read somewhere that not accepting any answer has a connotation of the question not yet answered satisfactorily. $\endgroup$
    – user21820
    Jan 1, 2015 at 10:24
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    $\begingroup$ @user21820: Questions with upvoted answers do not appear on the "Unanswered" list. Whether or not it means that the OP has received a satisfactory answer depends in part on the question, the OP, the answers, and more importantly by whoever is making that inference. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Jan 1, 2015 at 15:50
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila: Oh I didn't know that because the links on the right hand side are colour-coded according to accepted status. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – user21820
    Jan 2, 2015 at 10:11

Here is one option. You can accept one answer and give the other two users a bounty that way everyone is receiving some form of gratitude if that is what you are concerned about.

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    $\begingroup$ +1 because this is an awesome use of the bounty system, but I do realize that giving out bounties (whose minimal size is 50 rep) willy-nilly may not be an option for some users. $\endgroup$
    – apnorton
    Dec 29, 2014 at 15:35
  • $\begingroup$ Note that the second bounty is compelled to be substantially more than the first (at least if the same person is offering them). $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Jan 3, 2015 at 1:16
  • $\begingroup$ @hardmath so if a person offers two bounties, the second can't be 50 on the same post? $\endgroup$
    – dustin
    Jan 3, 2015 at 1:17
  • $\begingroup$ Correct. If you already offered a bounty worth $x$, next bounty on the same question must be at least $\min(2x,500)$. $\endgroup$
    – user147263
    Jan 3, 2015 at 1:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Behaviour I still stand by my suggestion, but why is it setup that way? $\endgroup$
    – dustin
    Jan 3, 2015 at 1:20
  • $\begingroup$ Because some people were doing this too much. $\endgroup$
    – user147263
    Jan 3, 2015 at 1:21

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