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If I find that an answer with less upvotes is more helpful, is it better to side with the community by accepting the highest upvoted one or not ?

For context, my question about the morning alarm when sharing a room. The widely accepted answer is the one about the electric shock wrist band, but I personally found the vibrating phone alarm/wrist band more helpful as it's more affordable and less abrupt than an electric shock.

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Yes, this is not an issue (afaik) and this happens with a lot of questions on this site. To quote the relevant page on the Help Centre:

It [Accepting an answer] simply means that the author received an answer that worked for him or her personally,

So the tick only means that the answer works for you and not that it is the most popular answer. (That's what the votes are already for)

  • @JoErNanO Are you sure of that? It does not seem to always be the case. – Relaxed Jun 16 '15 at 16:28
  • @Relaxed I am not sure of that. I seem to remember witnessing somewhere on SE sites but I can't recall where or when so it could indeed be a figment of my imagination. – JoErNanO Jun 16 '15 at 16:50
  • @JoErNanO I kind of remember that too but I just saw a counterexample so I suspect the ordering is more complex but I could not find anything definitive about it (does it make a difference if you answer your own question? or perhaps some hidden setting somewhere?) – Relaxed Jun 16 '15 at 16:52
  • @Relaxed I found several meta post (SE and SO) where people discuss answer ordering, but searching for a few posts always shows accepted answer above the highest-voted one. – JoErNanO Jun 16 '15 at 16:55
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    To quote from the Help Center: "Choose one answer that you believe is the best solution to your problem." – Michael Hampton Jun 18 '15 at 0:13
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    @Relaxed I'm not sure what the discussion with JoErNanO was about, but if it was about whether accepted answers are always on top (which context implies it was), the answer is that accepted answers are always on top unless the accepted answer was written by the asker. – cpast Jun 29 '15 at 1:00
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Deciding which answer should be accepted is entirely up to the asker. Historically, it's been treated as roughly analogous to "this is the answer that helped the OP the most." You're welcome to choose the highest-voted answer, but you should never feel like you have to... nor do you have to choose an accepted answer at all, if you don't feel like any of the answers were helpful enough to you, personally.

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    indeed. If you were supposed to choose the one with the most votes, the software could just do it for you. – Kate Gregory Jun 20 '15 at 18:53
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To add to drat's answer, you can take a look at the populist badge.

It says

        "Highest scoring answer that outscored an accepted answer
         with score of more than 10 by more than 2x. 
         This badge can be awarded multiple times.

Stack Exchange badges (they say) are intended to reinforce actions which they consider to be desirable. So SE officially encourages this behavior.

ie It may or may not be the most prefered options but it is explicitly an approved one.

  • This looks like a comment, to me, not an answer. – David Richerby Jun 20 '15 at 11:22
  • @martin I increased the amount of material on your answer but hopefully this is wholly in line with that you intended, – Russell McMahon Jun 21 '15 at 3:22
  • @Russell: that's perfect, thanks a lot. – Martin Argerami Jun 21 '15 at 4:26

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