When asking about tags, on-topic subjects and the like. Is it best not to accept an answer and let the votes float the answers?
Or do we accept an answer after one has [X] votes?
What is the protocol?
Accepted answers on Meta are only practically useful in the support tag, as you have the distinct possibility of the answer that helped someone the most being marked as such for future visitors.
For other areas, we have special moderator-only tags to indicate when something has been completed, implemented or fixed: status-completed, along with other tags that indicate that we won't implement a feature or tag synonym, aka status-declined. When your future moderators and Stack Exchange employees go through questions here on meta to make sure that everything needing our attention has received it, we utilize these tags extensively.
When it comes to discussions started to form a community consensus, it's up to the author to accept an answer. However, reader beware, the accepted answer might not represent said consensus, but merely the discussion starter's preferred view on it. At that point, votes should take more precedence for someone wanting to know how does this community feel about X?
The protocol is just accept answers when and if you feel it makes sense to do so, but don't fret too much about it. If you like an answer so much that you feel compelled to accept it, go for it - you can't do that incorrectly as acceptance is a very subjective thing to begin with. Nothing breaks if you do, or don't accept answers here on meta.
Let the votes flow, when there is an overwhelming agreement it becomes clear to the community. You might be raising the question but it is the community that makes the decision.
There is no harm in accepting, but there is little benefit other then highlighting you own opinion.
@JamesJenkins has described one aspect of it, but I will note that some activities we might vote upon here will have times associated with them. The "acceptance" mechanism is a way of indicating the timing was hit with a particular response at the highest level at that time.
Now, if over time, a different response bubbles higher, the community might be best served in revisiting the question.
On meta I find it's best to not accept answers until the problem is resolved. For example, a post asking for a tag synonym should have an acceptance when the synonym is created (or the community indicates, through votes, that it doesn't want the synonym). A bug report or support request should be similarly resolved when the issue is gone.
This leaves the vast majority (at least in this early stage) of "site philosophy" questions, which I think should stay open for a while yet, at least for a week or so into the public beta. We're the founders of the community and can set initial direction, but we don't own all the decisions once the doors open. Let's leave room for votes to come in; if a clear consensus emerges then that's the time to accept an answer.