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If a response (answer) is flagged as answering an OPs question ("accepted") and that decision is subsequently reversed, how does this happen? Who has the authority to reverse an answer? What are the typical reasons for these reversals? How often does this occur? Is a record of this change kept somewhere?

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    $\begingroup$ You can find out most of these things by accepting an answer to one of your own questions and exploring the options that entail. $\endgroup$ – whuber Nov 4 '16 at 19:05
  • $\begingroup$ @whuber I accepted an answer to a question I asked and no additional options appeared. Would it be possible for you to be more specific as to what these options are and how they address this question? $\endgroup$ – Mike Hunter Nov 4 '16 at 19:25
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    $\begingroup$ Simply click on the same acceptance tick again. $\endgroup$ – amoeba Nov 4 '16 at 19:29
  • $\begingroup$ @amoeba Apologies for being a pest but "simply clicking" on the acceptance tick generates a pop-up label which says, more or less, "click again to undo" the acceptance. It must be the case that, as a moderator, your pop-ups are more informative than mine as my pop-up addresses none of my questions. $\endgroup$ – Mike Hunter Nov 4 '16 at 19:34
  • $\begingroup$ No problem in asking (I am not a moderator, by the way). Pop-up label should appear if you mouse over the acceptance tick. If you click on it, it will undo the acceptance, exactly as it says in the pop-up label. Does it not work for you? You click and click and nothing happens? $\endgroup$ – amoeba Nov 4 '16 at 19:40
  • $\begingroup$ @amoeba Sure, it undoes the acceptance but does this address my questions? Unless with this demonstration, you're suggesting that the OP retains total control over the acceptance of a response and no one else can exercise this option? $\endgroup$ – Mike Hunter Nov 4 '16 at 19:49
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    $\begingroup$ Your question is formulated such that I was under impression that you do not know how to undo the acceptance. Now you say "sure it undoes the acceptance". I guess I have misunderstood your question. As to your last question in the comment: clearly as only OP can accept an answer, only OP can undo the acceptance (and yes, it can be done any time and any number of times). $\endgroup$ – amoeba Nov 4 '16 at 19:52
  • $\begingroup$ @amoeba Ah! Now it's clear. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – Mike Hunter Nov 4 '16 at 19:54
  • $\begingroup$ @amoeba After some thought, I'm still confused insofar as I've seen my questions accepted by people other than myself. How is it, then, that "only" the OP can accept and/or undo an answer if people other than myself have accepted an answer to a question I posed? $\endgroup$ – Mike Hunter Nov 4 '16 at 20:27
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    $\begingroup$ This is not possible. You cannot have seen it. $\endgroup$ – amoeba Nov 4 '16 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ @amoeba Ok...if you say so. I don't have a specific example in support of this observation but will try to keep this issue in mind going forward in the extremely unlikely event, assuming you are correct, that it happens again. $\endgroup$ – Mike Hunter Nov 4 '16 at 20:37
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    $\begingroup$ Well - everything can happen - but if you do encounter it, it's a bug, so certainly do report it as such. $\endgroup$ – amoeba Nov 4 '16 at 20:43
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    $\begingroup$ Even moderators cannot accept questions on behalf of others. I am curious what you might be referring to, since you have asked few questions and (until today) accepted none of them--could you be talking about experiences on other sites? Maybe they weren't SE sites? $\endgroup$ – whuber Nov 4 '16 at 23:14
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    $\begingroup$ A green check is only supposed to appear next to an answer if the asker clicks to accept it. Nobody else normally has any way to do it other than the asker (well, the site admins could literally alter the database, but they won't, at least not for this). It's not supposed to happen and I've never seen it happen. I will hold some doubt about the accuracy of your recollection, since the most likely explanation is that you're mistaken in some fashion (whether seeing the grey tick as green or seeing an upvote as a tick or seeing some other tick on another question and confusing the two, ...ctd $\endgroup$ – Glen_b Nov 5 '16 at 1:10
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    $\begingroup$ ctd.. or in some other manner). If it had ever been accepted prior to 5 hours ago, it should show on the timeline. It doesn't. The timeline is the nearest thing we have to a complete, accurate record of what actually happened, and the most likely explanation is that what the timeline shows is what happened (i.e. that it was not previously accepted until you recently did it). There are other possibilities (such as some previously unencountered bug) but they're relatively unlikely in this instance. $\endgroup$ – Glen_b Nov 5 '16 at 1:13
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I suspect this is a confusion. Here are some screenshots:

  1. This is what I see on a question from someone other than me who hasn't accepted the answer:

    enter image description here

  2. Here is what it looks like when there are two answers to a question from someone other than me, when the OP has accepted one:

    enter image description here

  3. These two are what I see when I am the author of the question, and I have accepted an answer:

    enter image description here
    enter image description here

So the point here is that when you are the OP, you will always see the check mark, whether you have accepted that answer or not, or even if you have accepted another answer. Only the OP can accept an answer / click the check mark. (The SE developers could of course, but no one else can—including the moderators.) Moreover, the OP can always switch to accepting a different answer, by clicking the check mark for a different answer, or can simply un-accept an answer by clicking the check mark again. The only thing you can see differently (when you are the OP), is the color of the check mark, which may not be very salient.

My guess is that you missaw or misremember the check mark as having been green before, even though it wasn't. Another possibility is that there was a weird and isolated bug that caused only that question to be displayed incorrectly for just you. I have no way of ruling that out, but from a Bayesian perspective, my prior is very low.

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  • $\begingroup$ +1. You chose an interesting example for your exhibit #2. $\endgroup$ – amoeba Nov 5 '16 at 22:48
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, a little unusual I suppose, @amoeba. I just searched for questions w/ 2 answers & an accepted one. This is just the first one that met my needs. $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Nov 6 '16 at 0:23
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting. I am the OP on this thread and just checked an existing checkmark to your response. The checkmark immediately went from grey to green on my screen. However, based on your comments, I don't see an explanation as to why a checkmark appeared next to your answer at all and, specifically, in the absence of any activity from me, the OP. In other words, how does a checkmark appear when an OP hasn't indicated, one way or the other, that a response represents the answer? $\endgroup$ – Mike Hunter Nov 6 '16 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ @DJohnson, only the OP can ever see the gray check mark. Others will see nothing (when the check mark is gray for the OP), or a green check (when the OP clicks it). No check mark should be visible to others until the OP has accepted an answer. $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Nov 6 '16 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ @gung Ok...why is there ever a checkmark of any color prior to an OP accepting a response? How does this happen? $\endgroup$ – Mike Hunter Nov 6 '16 at 18:49
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    $\begingroup$ @DJohnson, for those who are not the OP, there should never be a check mark visible until the OP accepted an answer. For the OP, the gray check mark is there as an option you can select (even if you've already accepted an answer, because you can always switch). $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Nov 6 '16 at 19:30
  • $\begingroup$ @gung Ah! So, it's automatically added. Why? The logic behind this fails me, particularly when there are multiple responses. $\endgroup$ – Mike Hunter Nov 6 '16 at 19:42
  • $\begingroup$ @DJohnson, I'm really not following these questions. I don't know what you mean by "added". The check mark becomes visible to others after the OP clicks it. Otherwise it's invisible except to the OP. I don't know what "multiple responses" you are referring to. $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Nov 6 '16 at 20:01
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    $\begingroup$ Gung, I think @DJohnson is asking why there is a grey checkmark visible to OP near every answer (i.e. why it is "automatically added" to "multiple" answers). The reply to this is that this is the user interface of StackExchange; grey check mark shows to the OP that it can potentially be clicked and turned into a green check mark. I never thought that it can be confusing, but apparently it can. $\endgroup$ – amoeba Nov 6 '16 at 20:04
  • $\begingroup$ @gung Sorry, I thought these questions were clear. Suppose a question receives a single answer. If I'm understanding you correctly, a "check" is placed next to this answer that is visible only to the OP. If (and only if) the OP checks this single response as the "correct" response, this turns a grey check to green. As amoeba notes, this is now clear to me. My followup question (above) concerns the situation where a question receives multiple answers. Does each of these responses get a grey checkmark visible to the OP, pending the OPs selection of the "correct" response? $\endgroup$ – Mike Hunter Nov 6 '16 at 20:08
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    $\begingroup$ @DJohnson, I see. (FWIW, I don't think of someone "placing" the check marks beside answers--the checks are just there automatically as part of the site design.) If there are multiple answers, there will be multiple [gray] checks next to them, just as there are multiple vote totals w/ up- & downvote normal pdfs even if no one has voted on any of the answers yet. $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Nov 6 '16 at 20:15
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    $\begingroup$ @DJohnson It is simply this: The grey check marks are "buttons" for the asker to click on, so that the asker has a means to accept an answer. They must be visible to the asker so they know where to click to accept this answer. Every answer you get on a question comes with a grey check mark so you can accept that answer. The check marks remain after you have accepted one so you can change your mind (grey check marks are still "buttons" you can click on). .... [the word check in this context is not idiomatic for my version of English but I used it for consistency with the foregoing] $\endgroup$ – Glen_b Nov 14 '16 at 22:15
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    $\begingroup$ @Glen_b, you don't call that thing a "check mark"? What do you call it? $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Nov 14 '16 at 22:17
  • $\begingroup$ @gung A tick ( Also see here -- item 5). And here. $\endgroup$ – Glen_b Nov 14 '16 at 23:14
  • $\begingroup$ Hmmm, how odd. I would use the phrase "tick marks" to mean what Wikipedia evidently calls tally marks (far left), @Glen_b. $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Nov 14 '16 at 23:27

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