Here is the post for context: Is "today is Presidents' Day" a proposition, propositional function, or neither?

Both the answers are really great and thorough, and they basically say the same thing but in different words. I feel bad accepting one answer over the other because they both deserve to be accepted. How do I pick which answer to accept?

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    $\begingroup$ I thought about giving it to the person who has less reputation since they need the reputation points more, but I'm not entirely sure that's a fair way to go about this. $\endgroup$ Mar 29 at 19:12
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    $\begingroup$ There is no algorithm for which answer to accept. Usually we encourage an asker to accept the answer that helped them most; word choice may resonate, or not. It might come down to flipping a coin, if all else is equal. So my first sentence here is the main take away. Given your rep, you can certainly upvote each, and you can acknowledge the answer you didn't accept as having been helpful. Also, I appreciate your question here! $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Mar 29 at 19:24
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    $\begingroup$ I like the idea of equity of reputation points being the basis of which answer gets accepted $\endgroup$ Mar 30 at 2:36
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    $\begingroup$ I would personally accept the one that was posted first, but that's just my opinion. $\endgroup$
    – David Lui
    Mar 30 at 6:27
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    $\begingroup$ For this question, the two users have high rep, so it's not really a concern - but generally speaking I like the idea of helping newbies, if the answers really are near identical and posted nearly at the same time. I don't accept many answers, but when I upvote, I usually upvote all useful answers, even similar ones if they are posted roughly at the same time. Otherwise, if someone comes much later (hours, sometimes years) to post something that's already here, I'll likely downvote instead: there is no need to repeat. However, a new answer with a new idea, will of course get an upvote. $\endgroup$ Mar 30 at 10:24
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    $\begingroup$ The person who answered first $\endgroup$
    – Mike
    Mar 30 at 17:46
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    $\begingroup$ I would thank both users effusively and then accept whichever I want with no pressure. But I think thanking people effusively is frowned upon nowadays, so what do I know. $\endgroup$
    – Asinomás
    Mar 30 at 17:48
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    $\begingroup$ @DavidLui Personally, I would give the green check to the person who posted last, rather than the fastest gun in the west. Or the person with the least XP. :P $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Mar 30 at 18:39
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    $\begingroup$ When I read the premise, I thought the suggestion of awarding the checkmark to the user with lower reputation was a decent one. I did not expect, when clicking through, to find that it was a 90K rep user against a 111K rep user. $\endgroup$ Mar 30 at 18:52
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    $\begingroup$ Bounty it, and challenge someone to write an answer better than the existing answers. Help bring the best out of MSE! $\endgroup$ Mar 31 at 8:59
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    $\begingroup$ I upvote both answers, then give the check to either the first answer or the person with lower rep if they are really close. The upvote still grants 10 rep to the other person $\endgroup$
    – Alan
    Mar 31 at 15:37
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    $\begingroup$ Since multiple users care whose answer was first, I'll mention the difference was 7-8 seconds. $\endgroup$
    – J.G.
    Mar 31 at 16:34
  • $\begingroup$ @J.G. Indeed. My concern was not who answered first (not a reliable marker of "best answers"). But meta should not be used to solicit opinions, when the decision is ultimately up to the OP asking, when in the end, the OP did what they thought in the very first comment below their post. But I admire your sportsmanship, none-the-less! $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Mar 31 at 22:36

4 Answers 4


Various people have given various suggested criteria in the comments -- including accepting the first answer, the one posted by the lower-rep user, and other ideas. If both answers are truly "equally good", it doesn't matter -- pick any of these criteria, or choose your own, or even flip a coin!

Regardless of which answer you choose, you should definitely upvote both answers in this situation, and I would also suggest accepting one of them (not neither, IMO), as the software likes to see that an answer has been accepted, to designate the question as resolved.

And thank you for your question here on meta! :)


In reference to the particular answers you cite, I agree that they are both good. However, I would accept the first because it is shorter.

In general, when there is little to choose between answers as to content, base your acceptance on secondary criteria—in particular, style. Thus, consider brevity and clarity along with precision of expression. For example, in the second answer, we read " . . . in the kinds of domains where we typically apply logic, i.e. math, . . . ". First, the plural of kind of domain is kinds of domain. However, it would be better here to use simply domains rather than the kinds of domain(s). Second, it is preferable to avoid the abbreviation i.e. in sentences (OK in parentheses, though); namely is better. However, namely would be wrong here. I think that the poster meant to write e.g. (i.e. for example); even so, I would prefer in particular in this context.

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    $\begingroup$ This answer goes well beyond the other, and well beyond rephrasing others' comments. Nice job! $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Apr 1 at 23:28

I propose to upvote both answers and thank both users for their answers. Then flip a coin upvote according to the result. But in your case I see additional criteria that can be used to decide which answer I would upvote.

  • I agree with John Bentin that one could use style to judge the post quality. But English is not my mother tongue and so I am not able to see the subtleties of language that John sees. But what I can easily see is that one answer contains a technical terminus (" indexical") and a reference to the "Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy". I thinks this terminus and this reference is not only an additional effort that the author made but it brings additional value to the post, it shows you a way to get further information about this topic. Such an additional effort by a user may be a reason why it took longer to post an answer. and this is one reason why it seems ridiculous to accept the answer of the fastest user in such a situation.

  • Another possibility to decide which author's answer you should accept if you find no way to distinguish between the qualities of the answers is to honor the voluntary effort the user put in the community. Such an voluntary effort is the edit of posts of other users. The number of edits of posts not owned b the user is tracked on the users "Activity" tab. I would not compare take the absolute number of edits of the users but compare the number of edits to the activity on this side that he does to gain upvotes. For the latter I would take the number of posts. For one user the proportion of edits to posts is 200/4000=1/20, for the other it is 1300/4900=1/3. So from this point of view I would accept the answer of the latter user.

But finally I want again emphasize that I think one should give both users the feedback that one appreciates the answers, one should upvote the answers finally accept one of the answers and I would not waste much time into the decision.

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    $\begingroup$ voluntary effort is not limited to editing; it also consists in helping in chatrooms, and regularly visiting the review queues. That you devoted a paragraph and one of two bullet points to elaborate about editing only, I this could have been an okay post. Write now you could summarize "see who volunteers their time on this site, editing, reviewing questions, answers, etc." would be a better comment. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Apr 3 at 21:41
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy How do you compare these two users' helping in chatrooms and visiting the review queues? $\endgroup$
    – miracle173
    Apr 4 at 7:30
  • $\begingroup$ miracle: when you keep editing your answer, you keep bumping this post, asked six days ago, to the top of the list of active posts on meta. I agree with the spirit of your post, whether you object to my comment or not. But your edit did little in the way changing your point. (Stats, btw, for review queues, in terms of participation? Check the "stats" tab in each and every of the review queues. Not any more difficult than checking users' number of edits.) $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Apr 4 at 14:54
  • $\begingroup$ But again, I commend your thinking outside of the box, and adding that it might be helpful to consider overall contributions, editing, or any other extra-curricular support for the site that doesn't yield the notoriety that rep yields. I did not mean to nit-pic, just mainly to expand it. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Apr 4 at 21:19

As I cannot yet comment I shall add to the answer proposed by @John Bentin.

Occam's Razor (OR) is a well known and arguably well established philosophical principle. Essentially, OR states that if both answers are equal in content (as you OP {original poster} have mentioned), the shorter answer or more concise answer is higher in value!

Judging the value of answers are often quite difficult, when they are correct.


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