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I once asked for some reasoning. I got a single answer but I hoped for more answers, possibly objecting the view of the single answer as this was what I had suspected to be right anyway. However, I also suspected that there might be special cases where a different answer would have been reasonable.

Nothing happened so I accepted this answer after some days. Even much more later no other answer appeared.

Did I discourage other answers by accepting too early? Generally, does accepting an answer discourage later answers?

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I don't think you discouraged other answers by accepting the existing answer too early, nor did anything else wrong. Most answers will be provided within the first day or two. After that, the question has usually dropped off the main page and will get much less attention. If you want to keep it in the limelight a while longer, you can add a bounty, but otherwise you're OK. Additional answers do trickle in from time to time, even if there is already an existing answer.

As for myself, I usually wait a couple of days to accept, even if there are good answers already, just to see if any more will come in (I do upvote immediately), but after a couple of days it's good to accept an answer. That sounds like what you did, so I would have done the same.

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    $\begingroup$ +1. Additionally, if a really greater answer comes up, one can just change the accept checkmark. This is not considered a bad practice (source). $\endgroup$ – Andre Silva Jul 23 '14 at 13:56
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    $\begingroup$ Now, my personal opinion is that for changing the accepted answer the other one should be outstanding in comparison with the former. If one day I do that I will try to compensate the rep lost by reading other useful answers from that unaccepted user and would provide one or two upvotes. This is not necessary, but I'd do anyway (just to not break the chain of paying it forward). $\endgroup$ – Andre Silva Jul 23 '14 at 14:00
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    $\begingroup$ Those are good points, @AndreSilva. I can say that I have added answers to threads that already had an accepted answer several times. I always took it as given that my answer wouldn't be accepted & never thought twice about it. It would be fine w/ me if my answer weren't subsequently accepted even if people thought mine were better. $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Jul 23 '14 at 14:12
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    $\begingroup$ +1, but I do not yet accept this answer. ;) $\endgroup$ – Horst Grünbusch Jul 23 '14 at 14:31
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You say you waited a few days, so I doubt it's an issue that you accepted. On the other hand, if it's not really what you're after, you should think carefully about whether you really want to accept it.

People that answer after longish delays might reasonably expect an answer to have been accepted, and can still post.

I've seen people accept answers as soon as they are able to, which I think does discourage better answers.

I'd also suggest that if you're thinking of promoting your post via a bounty, you should not accept an answer before the bounty starts - and probably not until the bounty period is up or nearly up (unless a near-perfect answer arrives earlier in which case you might accept it).

My practice so far has tended to be (over only a few questions that I've asked) to try to upvote any reasonable contribution immediately (I might hold off for a day if I'm waiting for clarifications), but to wait at least a few days to accept an answer, unless something great comes along much sooner.

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    $\begingroup$ Just don't miss the deadline for awarding the bounty, or else half of the bounty will be awarded automatically and the other half will be lost! $\endgroup$ – Nick Stauner Jul 24 '14 at 7:48
  • $\begingroup$ @nick I should have been clearer; I was originally trying to emphasize not awarding it before offering the bounty, but my point sort of drifted... $\endgroup$ – Glen_b -Reinstate Monica Jul 24 '14 at 9:29

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