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scenario: I ask a question, get several answers, wait several days, accept the best one. Later I see someone made an even better answer, maybe by combining several good answers into one great answer. If I 'switch' my accepted answer to the new answer, will the person who had the previous best answer 'lose' their rep points they got when I orinially accepted?

Upvotes are worth more than acceptance, and they additive. If it does occur, it's not big loss (just one upvote alone outweighs acceptance). I can't find it explicitly mentioned so I think that means either (1) I haven't found the right place to look or (2) there is no loss of rep. I'd appreciate if someone could confirm my assumption that there are no losses involved when I switch the answer.

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From How does "Reputation" work?

You lose reputation when:

  • one of your accepted answers loses accepted status: -15
  • you unaccept an answer written by someone else to one of your own questions: -2

So it looks like the rep they got on your initial choice gets taken back and you lose your little bonus for "completion".

There seems to be lots of discussion on meta for other SE sites about the advantage of leaving questions open because readers tend to stay away from green. It is argued that by removing the tick, visitor flow will increase and if the answer gets two more up-votes, the poster is better off (2 X 10 - 15) than sitting in a question that looks complete.

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  • +1 - Good point on getting more upvotes based on views.
    – jmort253
    Oct 19 '12 at 18:03
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    Generally a good policy is not to accept an answer until at least 3 answers are given. Even if the first is.good, you may get some very good alternative answers.
    – lkessler
    Oct 20 '12 at 0:09
  • Also, not accepting early encourages more answers. One of the things the SE team will eventually look at in order for us to graduate is the APQ stat. They will want to see at least two or three answers on most questions. Oct 24 '12 at 21:46

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