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One of the strange things about literature is that one question can have equally valid answers. See, for example, the question What is Jack's crown?.

The thing about accepting an answer is it can be misinterpreted as saying that there is nothing to discuss. I know that the official documentation says that "accepting an answer is not meant to be a definitive and final statement indicating that the question has now been answered perfectly", but who reads the documentation? On a site like literature, where there are multiple ways to analyze the same text, it's important that people feel comfortable describing alternative viewpoints even if it's not the viewpoint the OP expects. I'm worried that accepting an answer may create the impression that there's nothing left to discuss, when that usually is far from true.

I have two questions that I would like to get some insight on:

  1. Does accepting an answer discourage people from writing new answers? Do people feel comfortable going through questions with accepted answers and finding new ways to approach the question?

  2. Is the accepted answer feature worth having on this site? Should it remain but in a modified form? Or should we leave the feature unchanged?

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    SE isn't going to disable accepting for us. Sorry, but that's unrealistic. There's really nothing we can do about it; accepting is solely the OPs choice and SE isn't changing that. – Mithical Mar 13 '17 at 20:19
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    @Mithrandir I still think this is a valuable conversation to have. At the very least, it would be good to know whether accepting answers discourages people from writing new answers (maybe someone could write a data query). – user111 Mar 13 '17 at 20:24
  • Agree with both. Not gonna change, but still worth discussion. – user80 Mar 13 '17 at 20:47
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    @Mithrandir There are other sites that would rather not have the accepted answer feature. The more sites discuss whether it's appropriate or not, the more likely SE might be at some point in the future to consider making it an optional site feature. – Martin Ender Mar 13 '17 at 21:09
  • @MartinEnder any chance you could post some links to relevant meta discussions from other sites? – user111 Mar 13 '17 at 21:50
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    @Mithrandir's comment basically sums it up. There are various sites on which the accepted answer feature doesn't work as well as on SO, but Stack Exchange the company mainly cares about SO. Also worth noting that it doesn't work perfectly anywhere (the OP could accept some wrong crap because they happen to like it - I've seen accepted answers with scores below -20), but every other site so far has managed to cope with it. I doubt Lit is more subjective than, say, Software Recommendations or Parenting. – Rand al'Thor Mar 13 '17 at 22:30
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    @Hamlet Code Golf. – Martin Ender Mar 13 '17 at 22:49
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You have lots of different questions here; I'll try to address each one. Disclaimer: This is mostly just what I do, and may not be representative of everyone.

  • Does accepting an answer discourage people from writing new answers?

    A little. If I feel like I have something that the answerer missed, I'll leave a comment and let them add it. If they don't, or if I feel like what I have to say adds enough, I'll add my own answer.

    If I'm just scanning the front page boredly, sometimes I will skip over questions with accepted answers; it depends what mood I'm in. If I feel like reading something, I'll look. If I feel like trying to answer something, I'll generally look for one completely unanswered.

  • Do people feel comfortable going through questions with accepted answers and finding new ways to approach the question?

    I don't mind, usually. Actually, see above - it's all what mood I'm in.

  • Is the accepted answer feature worth having on this site?

    Yes. It's an important part of the SE system. It provides an incentive, and marks questions as the OP being satisfied with the answers.

  • Should it remain but in a modified form?

    How would you modify it? The only changes I would like would be for two answers to be simultaneously accepted. Other than that...

  • Or should we leave the feature unchanged?

    Yes, that's what we should do.

    As I said in the comments, SE will probably not change this for us, whether we want them to or not. SE doesn't like making code changes for individual sites, and the accepted answer feature is, AFAIK, too deeply ingrained in the system to change it like this.

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  1. From my experience on SFF I can only say that accepted answers only encouraged me to look at questions. I was curious what people had written about a topic (provided the topic was interesting to me in the first place), and I had even written some new answers afterwards.

  2. Acceptance doesn't mean anything - that is, it means that the asker thinks he'd got the correct answer. You can prove them otherwise! To quote the Meta SE post on accepting answers,

    The bottom line is that you should accept the answer that you found to be the most helpful to you, personally.

    OP having accepted an answer should not hinder users from posting new answers (unless it's , in which case just leave it there). To mis-quote SE-wide policy, SE is about building a comprehensive collection of questions and answers.

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