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In this question the user who asked has it's account deleted or removed or another possibility.

The result is that the post won't have an accepted answer since there's no user to accept it.

In these cases, can't the community provide a mechanism to accept an answer so future viewers can look for it?

I'm not asking for a new feature, just sharing my thoughts.

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  • 1
    Relating, on the main Meta: meta.stackexchange.com/q/3669/410681. It doesn't specifically deal with deleted/removed user accounts, but IMO the main reasoning would still stand: the community "acceptance" happens by means of the voting process.
    – fra-san
    Sep 24 at 17:14
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    Why do you feel that would be helpful? Questions with at least one answer with a positive score are counted as answered. The accept is largely irrelevant and simply indicates the personal preference of the OP. I don't really see any need at all for an accepted answer (personally, I would love to remove the feature entirely since it usually only leads to drama), can you explain why you think this would be beneficial?
    – terdon Mod
    Sep 24 at 17:29
  • @terdon When I search for answers in stack sites (stackoverflow, unix, superuser...) I tend to look for the accepted answer first, which usually would be (that is accepted) an indicator that is the "best" solution. Then I look for the most upvoted (which usually is the accepted one). I don't know if this is just me. The green check has also a visual impact that makes the search for an answer more fluid, Sep 24 at 18:09
  • Specially if you are the programmer type that opens multiple tabs and scan for solutions very fast. This question was inspired from a comment by the way, issued in the post I linked. Sep 24 at 18:14
  • Ah, that's a pretty serious misconception though. The accepted answer is not always (or even all that often) the best one. The most upvoted one is often (but again, not always) the best, but the accepted is just the one that the OP liked. That doesn't mean it is good or even safe, let alone correct. This is precisely why SE are now thinking of unpinning the accepted answer from the top of the post: too many people think the accepted one is the best.
    – terdon Mod
    Sep 24 at 18:21
  • @terdon Oh agreed, that's why in my previous comment I tried to not imply those things. Now that I think how I surf for solutions in stack's, I think I tend to discard posts with no accepted answer, as if they were not "good enough". But I do this things automatically, not giving much thought about them, just my "technique" of searching. Sep 24 at 18:34
  • @terdon So it may be that this is too personal experience, but well... you don't know until you ask :-) Sep 24 at 18:36
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    @terdon, there's also the thing that question lists (both the site front page and search results) also highlight Qs with accepted answers, with the big green filled box vs. an unfilled border. Which kinda draws attention to having or not having an accepted answer, regardless of if it's useful in practice.
    – ilkkachu
    Sep 25 at 8:00
  • I think the help center on What does it mean when an answer is "accepted"? needs wider recognition to reduce the misconception about accepted answers.
    – Andrew T.
    Sep 25 at 9:07
  • @terdon Questions with at least one answer with a positive score are counted as answered By somethings, maybe, but I see many years old non-accepted-answer questions bumped to the front page by Community all over SE.
    – Ricky
    Oct 24 at 10:19
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Unfortunately, many people misconstrue the meaning of the accepted answer and think it is some sort of indication of quality. It isn't. The accepted answer is just and only the answer that the OP decided worked best for them. However, the OP is very often not an expert and can end up choosing a poor answer to accept. This is a well known issue that has been a problem on SE for many years.

And, in fact, we are finally getting a change that will improve that:

Unpinning the accepted answer from the top of the list of answers

SO has already stopped pinning the accepted answer to the top, and other sites are following suit (here's the relevant post for us: Would you like to have the accepted answer pinned or unpinned on UNIX & Linux?).

All this is to say that there is no benefit in having the community add a fake "Accept" mark. We already have a way for the community to mark the answer they consider best: upvotes. So instead of looking for the accepted answer, just look for the one with the most upvotes. This is, of course, also not guaranteed to be the "best" answer, but it is slightly more likely than just relying on one person's (the OP's) opinion which is all that accepted answers are.

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