Is there any set way to handle users, that answer a question. See the answer, and not do anything about it? Never come back?

Example 1:
User joins. Asks a question at 8pm. The answer is given at 8.05pm. User sees this, does as told in said answer. Doesn't accept answer, upvote or in any way gives feedback to said question.

How is this handled?

  • 4
    Related (but not a duplicate, the focus is different): What to do with questions whose OP hasn't visited the site for a long time? Apr 1 '13 at 23:52
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    You're going to hate this, but I do too: I flatly ignore any question by a new user. If the picture is one of those generated, geometric patterns, I don't even read the title. Why? I have been conditioned to avoid these questions. Every time an answer that I've put effort into goes unacknowledged, it makes me feel unhappy. And I avoid things that make me feel unhappy. This phenomenon represents a systematic flaw in the Stack Exchange model, and is particularly harmful to communities such as ours for which it is essential to be welcoming to newcomers.
    – ændrük
    Apr 5 '13 at 2:36
  • e new user on THIS site might not be a new user to any of the stack exchange. Whether the op acknowledges the time and effort or not is irrelevant to me. Anyone searching the internet for answers has the opportunity to avail themselves of answers posted here. I suppose that I have a larger view of this!
    – pfeiffep
    Apr 6 '13 at 17:15
  • Can the mods not accept the answer for you?
    – don.joey
    Apr 29 '13 at 10:03

It isn't handled.

If the user leaves a comment saying

Thanks so much! It works!

Then you could leave a comment along the lines of

If the answer solved your problem, please accept it so others know your problem was solved. Thanks!

Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't. But as a rule of thumb, it isn't a good idea to go bugging the user.

  • 1
    What I came to think about, was. The user was "last seen" the same day as the question was asked. No comment, and no response at all. Apr 1 '13 at 15:46
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    @FrederikSpang Then you just have to let it go.
    – Seth
    Apr 1 '13 at 16:01

I agree, this site does seem to have a lot of that. At least, it seems like it happens here more than on some of the other StackExchange sites. Users come on in, ask a question, get their answer, and never come back.

But even though it isn't handled, that shouldn't change how/if our users provide an answer. Yes, getting reputation helps you, but providing a great answer helps everyone. So when answering questions from a new user, I try to keep two goals in-mind:

  1. Be polite and engage them so they come back. Post a comment asking for clarification. Even if the question is poorly formed, or if they did something stupid...don't be snarky in your answer. Also while the site might be in English, that's not the primary language of many people who come here, so be both courteous and patient.
  2. Your answer may help someone else who Googles the same problem. Good answers have longevity. Even if they don't accept or upvote, if your answer is good, someone else will upvote.

Please note that I'm not accusing anyone of anything, just putting forth some good guidelines.

  • Alright. I wouldn't know if this changes anything SEO-wise? If an answer is accepted or not? How well integrated is Google search? I know it says "x answers" on search page though. Apr 1 '13 at 16:46

So long as the answer is upvoted twice by other users, the question is marked as answered, so we need not worry about delinquent users. However, if you see such instances, as Seth mentioned, leave a comment telling them about the best practices for the site.

  • Only one upvote is required for this. (Anyone who doubts that should go to the Unanswered page and see that it says "questions with no upvoted answers" near the upper right.) I think it's good practice to solicit two upvotes on good answers when there's no conflict of interest for the person doing the soliciting, as +2 sends a more definitive message than +1. (Of course bad answers should never be upvoted at all.) But a score of +1 on any answer makes the question fall out of the unanswered list. Apr 1 '13 at 20:21

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