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In the help center, there's a fact about accepting an answer.

Accepting an answer is not meant to be a definitive and final statement indicating that the question has now been answered perfectly. It simply means that the author received an answer that worked for him or her personally, but not every user comes back to accept an answer, and of those who do, they may not change the accepted answer if a newer, better answer comes along later.

In the context of woodworking, I'm wondering when I should accept an answer.

For example, I asked about how to improve dust collection of my sliding miter saw here. One of the answers gave me an idea. I want to test it out, but it will take time before I try it. After-all, I have to plan, buy stuff, build it and test it; it's not just a copy+paste and re-build. :D

Should I accept the answer after I tried it and it worked for me or just accept an answer because I got an idea out of it?

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It's completely up to you if or when to accept an answer. Sometimes I want to put something to practice before accepting an answer, so I don't accept an answer right away.

(Disclaimer: I wrote one of the answers to the sliding miter saw dust collection question.)

Keep in mind that you can always change your accepted answer and/or add another answer of your own and accept that if it turns out you needed to do something else, but it's pretty rare for people to remember to review their old questions and change the accepted answers.

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    I don't need to answer, yours pretty much summed up what I was going to say! – bowlturner Apr 8 '15 at 11:05
  • Same here with focus on you can always change your accepted answer. If a better answer shows up over time you can check it later. – Matt Apr 8 '15 at 18:32
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This is somewhat up to opinion, but I always accept as soon as there is an answer that satisfies my needs, I can always change my accepted answer if a better one comes along.

I do wonder if this discourages further answers from being submitted though, perhaps it's best to wait a day or so, but then I'm likely to forget to accept one altogether.

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The answers that are currently here cover both extremes.

  • Mark as accepted to discourage other potentially fluff/useless answers
  • Don't to encourage others to answer.

My answer to this is influenced be the following

  • Sometimes the SE voting system might seem foreign to new users.
  • Users coming from a voting system like SO might have skewed view (I know I did).
  • Especially here in WW there can be many different answers. Even conflicting ones backed up with credible sources.

The way I see it is. These questions are asked by you but long term are for the communities benifit. I would give it a least a couple of days, before you mark, to let users know that you are still willing to entertain other answers. Some users might not put in an answer if they think that someone else already has. It is a shame but that is just how some people think.

After a few days hopefully you get some extra eyes and other answers with different points of view. Mark the one that you think helps you.

Now the voting system can come into play. The community will, as a whole, decide which of those answers is, in theory, superior with voting. An answer can outshine an accepted one.

In the end you get what you want and the community can get what it wants. Also, there is always the bounty system.

Hopefully this makes sense.

  • "Users coming from a voting system like SO might have skewed view (I know I did)." In what way? I first found out about the SE community via SO, and it was quite a while before I realized the rest of SE was here. Once I discovered the other sites, I didn't feel any difficulty or see a need to adapt. (I did loose some productivity, however :). Not a criticism, just curious... – FreeMan Apr 20 '15 at 19:24
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    @FreeMan I am lucky to get one upvote on my SO answers. There was a blog I was reading (which like always, I cant find) that talked about people would see questions and answer with single vote and think that: one is enough. Same goes for answers... perhaps one is enough or someone is already working on it Why should i bother – Matt Apr 20 '15 at 19:39
  • ah, gotcha. That is very true. – FreeMan Apr 20 '15 at 19:40
  • Then I see all the new betas like WB and they are WAY more than that. I upvote much more now while still having credibility for those votes. – Matt Apr 20 '15 at 19:42
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I've always considered the single-answer system broken-by-design, for what that's worth. It fails to recognize that the solution is often a synthesis of multiple answers, or that an answer may generate the additional discussion that leads to a solution. I know it's tied into the stated goals of SE, but I don't think it is serving us very well in its current form.

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