# How ethical is accepting an answer and then accepting another one later for the same question?

I am asking this question because I noticed how someone accepted an answer of mine and then "de-accepted" it and accepted another user's answer to the same question. My question is- is it OK to do so?

• Similar question (perhaps a duplicate): Is it rude to change which answer you accept? The OP of the other questions is "an asker" whereas here the OP is "an answerer", but I am not sure whether this makes too much of a distinction. – Martin Sleziak Mar 14 '13 at 7:14
• In general I see no problem with this. There may surface an answer that the OP likes better for some reason. But sometimes you do get a little annoyed. I know I did. – mrf Mar 14 '13 at 7:36
• Yes! ${}{}{}{}{}$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Mar 14 '13 at 7:55
• Arguably the real question here is: is it a good idea to accept an answer 17 minutes after asking the question and 2 minutes after receiving the first answer? – Martin Mar 14 '13 at 8:19
• It is 100% ethical. It is also within the rules of the system. You don't have to like it, but you do have to live with it. – MJD Mar 14 '13 at 15:16
• It has happened to me plenty, but the system is set up that way and I am kind of glad for it. – Ron Gordon Mar 14 '13 at 17:24

I would imagine that if it were not okay/ethical the system would have been set up to not allow it.

Sometimes users make mistakes when accepting answers; sometimes users are too hasty in accepting the first answer. I'm sure everyone who has answered more than a few questions has had the occasion to witness the de-acceptance of an answer; I know it's happened to me more than a few times that I've noticed.

While it is annoying and a bit of a hit to the ol' self-esteem, my advice is to let it slide, relax, don't resent the bastard questioner who de-accepted your answer. And most importantly continue answering questions!

• +1 And generally, it's on average better to be safe than sorry. That is, it is better to wait a bit before accepting an answer instead of changing the accepted answer all the time. – Michael Greinecker Mar 14 '13 at 8:32
• In fact, when someone accepts an answer of mine really quickly, I sometimes recommend to them to wait a bit if I feel that someone else might have something valuable to add. – Tara B Mar 14 '13 at 10:56
• Why is it better to wait instead of changing acceptances whenever you like? – GEdgar Mar 14 '13 at 14:09
• Because accepting an answer sharply decreases the chance that other people will post more answers. – MJD Mar 14 '13 at 15:57

I have posted many requests to OPs to un-accept my answers when they clicked the checkmark too quickly.
Usually the request is stated in words like "if you unaccept it is likelier that experts will see the question".

The OPs usually take this advice, and often the hoped for expert answers or complete analyses do materialize.