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On April 12 I answered a question (about the usage of "awhile") which was, a bit to my surprise, accepted by the asker (Brandon Boone). Ten days later the asker decided that he preferred another answer to the question, which had been given on the same day as mine.

I've read the answer given to ADVS89 for the question "Changing accepted answer" (27 March 2011), so I've learnt that this shift can be done at any time and the reputation points are taken and given accordingly.

As I don't think this is completely fair, I would suggest introducing a kind of "protection" for the originally accepted reply (and for the reputation of the person who supplied it) by not taking away the points after a period of, say, one month acceptance, or at least leave part of the points (for example, take away 10 out of 15 points).

I'd like to hear what you think about it. Thank you for your time.

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  • I don't think you can change an acceptance arbitrarily. The accept gets locked in (like any vote) after a short period of time. But if the text is modified then a vote or accept can be changed to something else. I think that the voting mechanism is enough extra 'machinery' than the minimal 'allow any change at anytime'. If the latter were the case, then your suggestion might be viable, but I think it is consistent with the SE system to allow voting changes after content changes. – Mitch May 14 '12 at 12:43
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    @Mitch. Thank you for sharing your point of view. There actually was a change in one of the answers, but the edit was performed on the answer which was accepted later, whereas mine remained the way I had posted it. From your wording I thought you meant one could change their votes if the answer was altered, but it seems that Monica's interpretation below is the correct one. – Paola May 14 '12 at 20:13
  • Oh...hmm...I must ahave been mistaken all this time, I thought the answer had to be modified before an 'accept' could be changed. Anyway, I can only be sympathetic that you've lost rep that you thought you had, but I think that's just the way it should be (not that you feel bad, but that the rep goes with which was accepted. Can you give a reasoned argument why rep should somehow stay with an answer that is no longer considered right? It's not a negative (though it surely feels that way), it's just lack of the positive that you thought you had. – Mitch May 14 '12 at 20:19
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    @Mitch. It's probably just a bit of a soft spot, perhaps because the loss came when my reputation was still rather low and every point mattered. In principle, I understand the concept, so I think I'll have to make do with a rule I don't like. – Paola May 14 '12 at 20:29
  • @kiamlaluno. Just out of curiosity, what is it that you edited in my question? It doesn't seem to have been altered... – Paola May 17 '12 at 19:22
  • I edited the tags. – kiamlaluno May 17 '12 at 20:36
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The accepted answer should be the best currently-available answer, which may arrive after the originally-accepted one. So "unaccepting" answers in light of newer information should be possible forever.

As for the rep, I sympathize: your answer was good enough to be accepted, so shouldn't that carry some lasting merit? But that's not how rep currently works on Stack Exchange; you can get rep from good answers and then the question gets deleted and you lose that rep too. (Somebody went on a cleaning spree and I lost 200 rep in one day, which is how I came to learn about this.) So, so long as your rep represents the current state of your accumulated posts, it seems perfectly reasonable that removing the "accepted" status from an answer would also remove the rep that it brought.

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    Thank you for your reply, which is in line with the one I read before writing my post. Reading through other questions I learnt about the reputation realignment which took place some time ago, and I'm sorry to learn that you suffered from it too. I see your point about the best current answer deserving to be given credit, but I still feel that some recognition should be retained by whoever got accepted before. Is there any chance that the reputation system might be revised in this direction? ;-) – Paola May 14 '12 at 19:58
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    @Paola: You might get sympathy here but if you really want to attempt some action, I would try at meta.stackexchange.com which is more about the entire SE system (because your suggestion is appropriate for all sites). – Mitch May 14 '12 at 20:21
  • @Mitch. Thanks for your tip. I became aware of the existence of a different Meta "site" only yesterday, so I'll try to understand how to work my way there. – Paola May 14 '12 at 20:23
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    @Paola: Continuous rep recalculation cuts both ways. For example, you lose points by downvoting other people's answers, but you might regain those points later if the downvoted answers are subsequently deleted. On the other hand, I've got a few poor-quality answers of my own that I'd like to delete (because I no longer endorse them, and/or I'm losing rep through downvotes). It can be quite irritating that you can't delete your own answer once it's been accepted - sometimes by a visitor who never returns to ELU after asking and accepting, and will thus never switch his vote. Grrr! – FumbleFingers May 15 '12 at 17:14

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