When a user receives a good answer to their question, that user has the option to "accept" an answer. Acceptance is indicated by a colored checkmark next to the answer that has been accepted by the original author of the question.
Accepting an answer is not meant to be a definitive and final statement indicating that the question has now been answered perfectly. It simply means that the author received an answer that worked for them personally. Not every user comes back to accept an answer, and of those who do, they might not change the accepted answer even if a newer, better answer comes along later.
Often, accepting an answer corresponds to reputation gains.
If you accept:
- someone else's answer: You gain +2 reputation and the author of the accepted answer earns +15 reputation.
- your own answer: No reputation is awarded, and the answer does not float to the top of the list. You must wait 48 hours to accept your own answer.
- a community-wiki answer: No reputation is awarded.