Meta questions are the community's way of gathering consensus on issues and discussions. Often though, a meta question might have a highly up-voted answer, but no accepted ones.

Obviously, accepting a question means that the OP is happy with the answer, but as a community, do we go with what is accepted or what is up-voted / most up-voted? even if there are no accepted answers?

  • 3
    Related: How is consensus determined on Meta sites? on Meta.se.
    – alexwlchan
    Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 23:22
  • 4
    There are times that the accepted answer is not only the exact opposite of all of the other answers and comments, but has received massive amounts of downvotes. The deleted question about adult subject matter immediately springs to mind. The OP vehemently opposed adult subjects and self-accepted their own answer which had a very negative net-score instead of one of the numerous positive scored answers.
    – phantom42
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 5:27
  • 1
    To be truly Meta you should post a contradictory answer, and accept it :) Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 16:48
  • @DVK I'm just waiting for Richard to post something so everyone can down-vote it. Now that's truly meta!
    – Möoz
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 22:22

2 Answers 2


No. Accepted only means the op liked the answer best. The community consensus is the most voted answer, although that isn't always certain.


Only the person who asked the question can accept the answer, so it would be impossible for the accepted answer to stand as the consensus unless it is also the most highly voted answer. It would effectively give the asker the power to stand as consensus. It would also imply that there is no consensus if the asker never accepts an answer.

Using the most highly upvoted answer as the consensus makes much more sense because everyone can vote, but only once. More generally, the highest upvoted answer (or question) can signify consensus or the most downvoted answer (or question) can signify consensus that the post is a bad idea and that we should do the opposite.

The asker's acceptance can be considered an upvote just like any other. This would give the asker an "extra" vote, but that can be counteracted by the fact that everyone else can vote on the question itself and get an "extra" vote that way. If the question is in the form "should we do...?" then there is consensus that it is a good idea if it has a high score and consensus that it is a bad idea if it has a very negative score.

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