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It seems that many questions have answers, but those answers are not accepted. This is problematic for two reasons: First, when an answer has been provided, when searching for unanswered questions to contribute to, many already have acceptable answers. I, of course, up-vote those answers, but it's still annoying.

Second, it gives the impression that the answer provided is not authoritative or correct. In many cases the question is politically motivated—especially those about international security—and the person who asked the question may not like the answer they got. In other cases, the person asking the question may only be a casual visitor and either not know to mark the question answered, or not return to see the question is answered.

I am unclear on exactly who, other than the person who asks the question, might be able to accept an answer. I have been on the board for a while, but only answer intermittently, so my rep is not particularly high, and consequently there may be tools available to mods to resolve this issue. Also, this may be something that we may want to encourage in other ways.

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I am unclear on exactly who, other than the person who asks the question, might be able to accept an answer.

No one. Accepting is the one tool only available to askers. It's how they say that the question is answered to their satisfaction. Overriding their judgment with that of someone else would fly in the face of how the site is supposed to work.

First, when an answer has been provided, when searching for unanswered questions to contribute to, many already have acceptable answers.

A question will stop showing as unanswered if an answer is upvoted enough. I think the threshold is +2.

A lot of this is simply that the site is relatively undeveloped. As more people spend more time here, they will ask more questions. Questions from repeat askers (who accept, upvote, etc.) will outnumber questions from first-time askers who never come back to the site.

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TLDR: Don't worry about it. The accepted answer isn't that important.

Currently, only the author of a particular question is allowed to accept an answer.

This paradigm makes a lot of sense for Stack Overflow, which gets more than 30 times the traffic of the second largest SE, Super User(for which the paradigm also makes sense.)

The reason this makes sense on Stack Overflow is because the OP usually has a task to complete, and they have the means to test whether an answer fulfills the task, and the accepted answer represents the real solution to a real problem.


Politics, however, is different. Question askers usually don't have a specific task to complete, and they usually don't have the unique means to test the answer. Because of this, the accepted answer doesn't have as much significance. Even if mods could mark an answer as accepted, it still wouldn't be very meaningful because mods don't have the unique means to verify the correctness of an answer either.

Instead, users should determine which answer is correct based on how well that answer supports itself.

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