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I guess this might have been already covered somewhere on the Meta, but I have no idea on how to search for it - if so, please point me to that question.


My problem is that I've noticed that since several weeks I get very often upset about answers, that are really great, but are not marked as accepted. In case the user has 1 rep, and it seems that he'd have never touched the site again after he had asked the question, I can excuse them. But if the user who asked has ~100 or even ~600 rep points, and he actually comments that this answer worked/helped him perfectly, but does not mark the answer as accepted, I find that a bit worrying.

  • The first reason is that AU would be somehow easier to maintain if the questions that are answered and solved were actually marked as such. This also negatively affects the statistics :)
  • Another thing is that very often these answers are written by users of 50-300 rep points, and in their case the +15 points they would get if the answer was accepted really matters, and is also a factor that encourages them to contribute to AU further. (I feel like writing obvious things, but I have a strange need to explain my idea clearly ;-) )
  • And of course, in case of users that have 500+ rep points, such cases lower their accept rate, and they definitely do not want so, but probably do not know about that.

Some quick examples: one, another, one more.

I guess that the cause may be that they are either not aware of the possibility to accept answers, or are not aware of why this is important (It's not that they are ignoring it completely, because very often they sort of accept it by writing a comment of praise, relief, or express thankfulness). Usually I write a comment, encouraging to use the grey/green button left to their favorite answer, with a short as possible explanation of why it is good to do so - it helps, but only occasionally.

Yet I am not sure if my approach is right, and would like to consult how to deal with such cases. Should I even care? And if yes, is there any effective way of encouraging such users to accept the answer they like?

  • 1
    Just drop them a comment showing them how to accept answers - Point them to this - meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5234/… – jokerdino Mar 30 '12 at 23:50
  • @jokerdino: Will they really want to spend time reading all this? – Rafał Cieślak Mar 31 '12 at 9:38
  • Well, if you really want them to know why it is important to accept answers, then I would say yes. – jokerdino Mar 31 '12 at 9:44
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I often comment before answering that a 0% accept rate will not inspire user help...or that a <%33 accept rate will keep most power-users out. Most of the time, this is sufficient.

The real question is are we talking about one question users that eventually become this or are we talking about several questions where we wind up solving or saying it can't be done...because it's a bug report veiled as a question or not really a question anyway and gets closed.

  • That works only in case of experienced users, who ask more than few questions, and would want to keep a good accept rate. – Rafał Cieślak Mar 31 '12 at 9:39
  • Agreed that it requires more than 1 question...but I frequently run across users that have asked 5 questions, gotten 5 valid answers, and not accepted any in the space of a week. I don't think the one question users are the ones the question is really about, if we want to be realistic. – RobotHumans Mar 31 '12 at 9:48
  • One question folks eventually become this: meta.askubuntu.com/questions/2852/… – RobotHumans Mar 31 '12 at 9:53
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Users don't have to understand the site to use it. Way more people just use the site than participate in it.

If answers to questions have enough votes they don't show up on the unanswered list, so it doesn't affect our answer rate if a question is marked accepted or not. The root of the issue is people aren't voting enough, which has always been a problem: Is the importance of voting understated on Ask Ubuntu?

We have enough higher reputation/experienced people on the site that we shouldn't have to worry about if unaccepted answers are bad for the site.

Anyway, on your example questions, the first one makes some claims with no backing evidence, so that one wouldn't even get an upvote from me, let alone a checkmark. The 2nd one is a post on a duplicate that should be removed so the autoforwarding works, and the last one has a bunch of uncompleted half-answers with no references to anything, no pointers on where to find the tools they reference, no screenshots, and generally not something I would consider completed answers to begin with.

Anyway the site does remind people to accept answers if they have a low accept rate and are still new, but I don't think it's a real big problem if people aren't accepting answers, the community should be recognizing good content and voting on it to begin with and the extra 15 isn't that big a deal. You can probably earn more reputation by just fixing your older answers and making them more detailed and easier to understand than by chasing down people who didn't check the check.

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