Today there was a question on irrational and rational numbers. An answer was proposed that the author of the question clearly rejected both in a comment explicitly saying 'I can't accept this answer' in addition to not marking the proposed answer as the answer.

The non-accepted answer still gets upvotes, which means the author gets more reputation with each upvote.

Does it make sense that a person who thinks they answered is, rejected by the poster, should still get reputation from others? The only justification for this practice would necessarily rely on an appeal to ignorance, and an appeal to authority.

"The OP obviously doesn't understand the answer, and the answer is obviously the answer because people are upvoting it."

We need an option for authors of questions to reject an answer, stopping any votes. If the post is possibly salvaged, it would have to still rely on the same principles as the original posted answer. This means that a rejection by the OP should nullify future edits from salvaging posts. It would require a new answer be posted. If the new answer is barely different from the now banned answer, it should be flagged as a duplicate, rejected answer.

This is a systemic flaw in both reputation gains, and listening to the people who asks the questions.

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    $\begingroup$ In case anyone is interested, this rant was apparently inspired by this thread. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Dec 4 '16 at 15:54
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    $\begingroup$ Oh no! Don't link a thread that proves my point! What will I ever do if people see my answer was down voted? Yeah, no. The point of your linked thread is that the upvoted answer was rejected by the OP. $\endgroup$ – user304051 Dec 5 '16 at 2:14
  • $\begingroup$ @JyrkiLahtonen Thank you though, you've now added the fallacy of "poisoning the well" to the two I included in this feature request. Well done. $\endgroup$ – user304051 Dec 5 '16 at 2:16
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    $\begingroup$ IMHO it was kinda of obvious that you are extrapolating from that single case. That is not how induction works. For the record, I added my upvote to the answer you criticized. It proves the existence of an example with low level technology alone - something a freshman can follow. If there were a simple explicit example, rest assured, that would get more upvotes, but none has been found. Anyway, users here are free to vote the way they see fit (that applies to you as well!), and adding artificial technological barriers to that does not work well in a democracy. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Dec 5 '16 at 9:34
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    $\begingroup$ We have a lot of good content as a consequence of knowledgable users freely riffing the theme suggested by a question. Many good answers showing how a somewhat delicate question can be settled with very primitive tools, many good answers that put a simple question to a deeper context and swat a fly with a cannonball. This is what makes the site attractive IMNSHO. Only catering for the needs of the asker leaves little room for artistry and makes for a dull site. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Dec 5 '16 at 9:41
  • $\begingroup$ I highly disagree, the purpose of this site is to provide answers to questions that can arguably be an expert level answer. In order for any answer to exist, there has to be a question. The power of this "democracy" disproportionately favors those who answer. Even in the only response to this question it's stated that the actual answer relevant to the question is a "nice side effect." My exposition comes from years of being a member under various aliases, and taking note of the communities' activities and predilections. Also, "poisoning the well" doesn't necessitate an induction. $\endgroup$ – user304051 Dec 5 '16 at 19:39

The goal of stackexchange is to build a timeless database of high quality questions and answers for the benefit of the internet at large. Helping the specific person who asked the question is nice side effect.

This is why, for example, questions that are extremely similar to another question are closed as a duplicate.

When one views it this way, the opinion of the question asker is not much more important than the opinion of anyone else. The author should certainly not have veto power over answers that other people find useful.

This is, of course, different from how it is handled at many other websites, so some confusion from new users is to be expected.

  • $\begingroup$ So the person who asks a question, and getting an answer to that question, is not as important as a bunch of people agreeing someone's idea makes sense to them but not the OP..? For this site to even work, there has to be questions. People asks questions because they want an answer, but even though the site needs questions the person who asks apparently doesn't really matter. Got it. $\endgroup$ – user304051 Dec 4 '16 at 0:32
  • $\begingroup$ You should reference this, because my post focuses on the question, and the link is to a post focusing on the answers. Both my post and theirs have the exact same flaw. meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/9923/… $\endgroup$ – user304051 Dec 4 '16 at 0:36
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    $\begingroup$ This is the fundamental design philosophy of the website. You can say it is good or bad, but that is what it is. $\endgroup$ – Nick Alger Dec 4 '16 at 0:37
  • $\begingroup$ Because you can't change business models (read: pivot) to ensure a higher quality product? That can't be a serious response. $\endgroup$ – user304051 Dec 4 '16 at 0:40
  • $\begingroup$ Let me put it this way. If a question is flagged and put on hold, and eventually removed but the same person posts a negligibly different form of the same question it is marked as duplicate, put on hold, and removed. Why can't the same be done to answers, and if it already is, why do users who answer have more power than a user who asks? $\endgroup$ – user304051 Dec 4 '16 at 0:48
  • $\begingroup$ Just to conclude this thread, the phrase "It is what it is" is a form of tautology, which itself adds no level of information other than what it contains. His phrase may as well be, "This is our business model, red is red." Cheers. $\endgroup$ – user304051 Dec 5 '16 at 5:27
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    $\begingroup$ -1: "build a timeless database of high quality questions and answers" is orthogonal with the prevalent "what have you tried" from Math.SE. Also, "the opinion of the question asker is not much more important than the opinion of anyone else"; if that were the case, then the site wouldn't list first the accepted answer, even when it has way less votes than other answers. $\endgroup$ – Martin Argerami Dec 8 '16 at 2:51

I don't understand what the issue is. The asker is free to accept the answer or not as she sees fit, and other people are free to upvote if they think that the answer is good or helpful. If we only cared about the opinion of the person who asked the question, why bother allowing other people to vote at all?


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