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I've received a number of answers to my question here:

Rearranging a formula, transpose for A2 - I'm lost

two of them have the same number of votes. It appears that both answers (although different) might be equivalent to the answer from the text book even though they don't look the same. A someone who commented on my original question has helped me resolve the issue I had. How should I accept the correct answer? I'm thinking of the following options:

  • Answer myself based on what I've learned from the comments on my original post.
  • Try work out which of the equivalent functions can me most easily manipulated to the book answer and pick that.

Are there other options I haven't considered? Is it bad form for me to answer myself if the two highest rated answers are equivalent to the book answer?

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    $\begingroup$ One the answers among the ones with upvotes is using equivalence incorrectly and now has lower vote count than the other. $\endgroup$ – Aryabhata Mar 30 '12 at 9:24
  • $\begingroup$ OK to post your own answer. But I think it would more correct to accept one of the other answers if yours is not better. $\endgroup$ – Cantlog Nov 8 '13 at 21:03
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There is nothing wrong with writing, and accepting, your own answer. If your answer looks a lot like one (or more) of the answers others have posted, it might look a little strange for you to post your own and accept it, but if you arrived at your answer independently of theirs and you don't mind looking a little strange, go ahead and do it. Do write some nice comments on the other answers, though, to thank people for their efforts to help you.

If you are going to choose among the answers already posted, the number of votes each one has should be irrelevant. That number shows what other people think of the answers, but your acceptance shows which answer you found the most helpful, and there is no reason why those must be the same.

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    $\begingroup$ +1: For votes are irrelevant when choosing the answer that helped you the most. $\endgroup$ – Aryabhata Mar 30 '12 at 14:49
  • $\begingroup$ I take your points, my inexperience with maths in general make me worry that where the answer I write and accept might look completely different to me, as more seasoned mathematician might think they're obviously exactly the same :-D $\endgroup$ – bot_bot Mar 30 '12 at 18:09
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I think @GerryMyerson made a very persuasive argument, but I'd like to suggest another course of action in similar cases to the one the OP described.

I see the practice of accepting answers as having two main motivations:

  1. To help others in the future identify the most helpful answer, from the point of view of someone asking the question in the first place. This is mainly important due to how common it now is that a question you encounter during your work/research (which isn't directly related to your area of expertise) already has been asked and answered on some SE site.

  2. To encourage quality answers; having those is what makes SE tick.

Keeping that in mind, and provided that a comment some user posted was what prompted you to comprehend a solution to the problem, you might consider asking him to expand his comment into an answer. This helps on both levels:

  1. Answers (and accepted answers in particular) are much more accesible to anyone viewing the question. If that comment is what ultimately helped you, it really should be made as readable as possible for future members/Googlers.

  2. The practice of answering questions in comments is detrimental--in my view--to the purpose of M.SE., and a request by the poster of the question--coupled with an expressed desire to accept that answer--could well encourage a knowledgeable member (who is nonetheless on a clock) to put in the effort.

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