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I've been a member of the group for a week or so (lurking a bit before that) and have been looking at some of the meta chats about getting more participation. I've started to add a few questions and have received some good answers.

From the current site trends, does accepting an answer to a question with 1 answer deter people from adding another answer?

I want to credit people with an accepted answer for their replies (I've been up voting their answers so far), but I also don't want to deter other people from contributing (which will in turn help push up the stats).

  • Fun question! There are interesting social-psychology factors and emergent behavior in any group or medium. I find this kind of thinking fascinating. – hoc_age Feb 11 '16 at 16:53
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Personally, I don't think it has significant-enough benefit one way or another to warrant "purposefully holding back" accepting a response. In sum: if you got an answer that fully or sufficiently answers your question, accept it. If you are in some way not satisfied, don't accept; in that case, add a comment or edit the question to say what's missing, or even ask a new question! If there's nothing qualitatively missing, then I think you've got your answer. :)

I looked around on Meta to see if this question has been asked before, and I didn't immediately find one. Here's a few with related topics:

Extremes on both ends (immediately accepting first response, or never accepting a response) probably have impacts. I am guilty of "not accepting" sometimes, though I am usually good about up-voting any/all answers to a question of mine that have value.

Accepting is the right thing to do if you have received an answer that answers your question. It gives you some extra points, the answer-er some extra points, and it helps draw other people to the answer that you (the asker) found most helpful.

Other considerations:

  • You can always change your mind! If a new answer comes in that better answers your question, you can accept a different answer.
  • Questions without an accepted answer will show up in the "unanswered questions" list, even those that have (one or more) answers. I wish there were another list of "questions that don't have any answers" to them.
  • Disclaimer: this is my opinion only. I hope someone else can also find some previous Meta articles that provide other opinions... – hoc_age Feb 11 '16 at 16:52
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    Cool, that pretty much covers what I wanted to know. But if there is more posts, I would def like to have a look. Thanks. – Consume Coffee Feb 11 '16 at 17:16
  • I'm no expert on the API and wouldn't have a hope at doing it myself but would it be possible to query stack exchange posts to see the proportion of questions with early-accepted answers that received answers later on? Then we could get some hard data on the matter. – Nick Udell Feb 11 '16 at 22:28
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In my humble, completely unbiased opinion, accepting one answer deters future answers to some extent.

Generally speaking, as I scroll through the questions I skip over most of the ones with an accepted answer unless they have specific appeal to me. (To be honest, sometimes I skip over questions with unaccepted answers too.) However, in some cases the first answer is obviously inadequate, or as the case is with this one, I see that the question could have many more than one good answer.

I find myself avoiding answered questions primarily due to the notion that I'll offend someone with my response by insinuating the incompleteness or inaccuracy of his answer. Therefore, the wording of the question itself and it's apparent openness to conflicting or slightly differing viewpoints will probably impact future responses more than actually accepting an answer.

This is an excellent question, and I'm always glad to see someone ask something that I've been thinking about so I don't have to.

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A few days ago I have answered a question and it was accepted. Suddenly, it is unaccepted when a better answer appeared. The person who asked the question fairly unchecked my answer and checked the better answer. The answer was indeed better, so I voted for it, too. Do not take anything personal, we are trying to share and learn together here.

Lessons learned: One may have a better answer. And the accepted answer can be unaccepted anytime. So, you shouldn't worry about that, I think.

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I think this is true (Accepted Answers discourage further efforts) of some sites, particularly high traffic ones, and possibly for some members even on low traffic sites, but Coffee.SE is a fun site for many members, at least in comparison with the seriousness of StackOverflow and Math.SE.

While there are some Answers here that are more useful and/or better written than others, the craft of coffee brewing and roasting lends itself to varied viewpoints and tastes. Seeing an Answer already posted here (on Main), even an Accepted one, probably has less effect on members' motivation to respond than on most SE sites.

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