Triggered by Andy's answer here:

I dislike the lack of accepted answers. I am guilty of not accepting answers too, though. I don't feel comfortable accepting a hardware recommendation until I can test the hardware. Unfortunately, testing hardware isn't nearly as simple as testing a chunk of code or a new piece of software.

Hardware is much harder to test than knowledge (like almost all other SE sites deal in) or software. When should we accept answers?

  • I've been wondering about this too for this site. I've not really accepted any answers to my questions and none of my answers have been accepted.
    – enderland
    Commented Sep 23, 2015 at 14:29

5 Answers 5


Everyone can choose to accept an answer or not, none of this is compulsory. However, I would suggest this rough guideline:

If an answer is well-written (has enough detail), and looks like it might work, it's okay to accept it. Once you can get your hands on the hardware, or another piece of hardware mentioned in a different answer, move the checkmark as appropriate.


  • 1
    My issue is with the "move the checkmark as appropriate". Without a lot of "Did you ever get this hardware? Did it work?" or "OP, can you follow up and tell us how this worked out?" comments, how do we encourage someone to return to a question for a second look after they've accepted an answer? I don't disagree with your suggestion though, since it seems to be the unofficial way some questions across SE are accepted (eh...looks good, I try it later...maybe).
    – Andy
    Commented Sep 22, 2015 at 19:48
  • That's going to be hard, I hadn't thought of that @Andy. Those kinds of comments aren't constructive and would be deleted (I would, at least). Although, are the kinds of users that pay attention to an acceptance policy the kind that would just disappear? Interesting question.
    – user1
    Commented Sep 22, 2015 at 19:50
  • 3
    I've been acting on this policy. If I purchase a piece of hardware based on a recommendation and I find that it's crappy, I'll undo the accept and downvote, if possible. But if the recommendation seems to meet all (or most of) my criteria, I'll accept it before purchasing, because I may not immediately buy some items that I'm asking about.
    – HDE 226868
    Commented Sep 22, 2015 at 22:51

Accepting answers on recommendation sites would be a bit late, as this is the flow which is usually followed:

  • Ask recommendations about a hardware with the desired set of specs.
  • Get answers
  • Wait for some more answers, just in case there might be some which can be better than the existing answers. The waiting period depends completely on the OP, and his/her urgency for the product. (I am still willing to wait for a month for an e-reader)
  • If the OP finds some nice products which he/she finds would make a nice fit, it can also be added as a self-answer (I have found Nook GlowLight really good. So, I've included an answer). It would help people with similar needs in the future, when they're going through the site.
  • Finally, after the waiting period is over, and the OP buys one of the recommended products, the answer which helped the most can be marked as accepted (and upvoted too, maybe).

Even though the answer contains the product which the OP has bought, if it isn't neatly and clearly explained (check @Undo's answer for what it means), the answer might not be accepted, as it really didn't help the OP.

Providing a retailer link wouldn't be called "helpful".

  • 1
    I agree with all of this, but I'm not fond of the idea that the OP should accept an answer only after the hardware is bought. Personally, I'll accept a recommendation that fits my exact needs, has good reviews, etc. within the same week I ask the question.
    – Adam
    Commented Sep 23, 2015 at 6:01
  • 1
    I wouldn't have a problem accepting a really nicely written and a convincing answer. Having said that, I would prefer upvoting them, rather than accepting them, before the purchase is done.
    – Dawny33
    Commented Sep 23, 2015 at 6:31

To add to the already-excellent answers here, it's important to point out that accepts still fall within the OP's purview. While we can - and perhaps should - lay down some guidelines, it's not completely up to us which answer gets accepted when.

That said, some general thoughts:

  • If you've tested the hardware suggested in an answer and it's worked for you, that's a definite accept.
  • If you decide not to test the hardware suggested in any answer, that's also fine - but it's still good to accept an answer. In this case I'd pick the one that seems to have gathered the most positive feedback.

I think that accepting an answer can be seen as a stamp of approval indicating that the OP has tested that the recommended hardware does in fact fulfill the stated requirements.

If I receive an answer that sounds promising enough for me to consider buying the recommended hardware, I would upvote that answer. But until I have tested the hardware I would not want to accept the answer, because I am concerned that by doing so, I may prompt other users to buy said hardware on an incorrect basis.

Users should never feel obliged to accept an answer. However if none of the answers can be accepted I am sure those who answered would like some feedback on why none of the answers were accepted yet.


I think answers shouldn't be accepted within the same week, maybe even two.

As you and Andy have said so far, hardware is much different from basically everything else on SE. Answers shouldn't be accepted the day they're provided because the questioner won't have a ton of recommendations to work with in that time. Since hardware isn't just knowledge you can state immediately, answers will flow in over time.

So I guess this can't be a rule set in stone for this site, but we should strongly urge everyone to wait a while (again, maybe a week or two) before accepting an answer.

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