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Of the 26~ish questions that I have asked to date, the majority of these have been questions which aren't directly applicable to many situations. They are broad, and they are really only applicable to my direct problem. While I'm sure maybe six or seven might be generally helpful to other people, in general, I would guess they aren't.

As a result of this, it means that the answers which I require need to be precise and on topic. It's not surpise or shock that a lot of people think that Stack Overflow is a type of game so when I receive answers, I often find that they are unsatisfactory and don't help me.

I used to not accept a lot of my questions. However, after I started asking more questions, then more questions, I noticed that I had an accept rate of 38% and people were telling me to work on my accept rate.

Now, I check Stack Overflow most days, I answer questions when I can, and I edit questions when I can. Working on my accept rate is misleading and completely counter productive. A vast majority of the questions which I accept DO NOT deserve to be accepted. However, due to not wanting to prejudice my future questions, I have had to accept answers where I might have only received a single response to prevent my acceptance rate bring so low.

I haven't asked that many questions, but if people land on one of my questions and see that I have accepted a question, when it clearly has not, I feel that it portrays badly on me, for the fact that I have accepted a clearly inadequate answer, yet if I don't then my acceptance score portrays badly on me.

The solution?... I'm going to sign up for a new Google account and ask all my questions from that account instead.

Is this a solution that Stack Exchange wants to hear?... I'd guess not, but accepting inadequate answers shouldn't be a solution either.

Edit

If this is a feature request ; How could this be implemented?

I think a simple way just to acknowledge that no answers manages to answer the question would be sufficient, which is then visualized in the "UserBit" at the bottom of the question.

Second Edit

I've just thought about this, but why is the accept rating even there in the first place? The only reason I can think of is that it is there to encourage people like me, who have this conundrum, to accept questions which don't quite live up to the expectation which we had hoped?

The solution?... don't have the acceptance rating, or at least filter it to only show for people who are below a certain rating. After 1000 >, you can clearly assume that people know how SO works, and showing their acceptance rating is completely redundant.

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If this is a feature request, could you give an example of how you would like Stack Overflow to solve your problem? –  Chris Frederick Aug 24 '11 at 22:54
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Why is the accept rating even there? If not to encourage vacant acceptances? –  Laykes Aug 24 '11 at 23:06
    
Accept rate hasn't been around for all that long. (Okay, it's been around for a while in SE time, but SE hasn't been around for all that long, so....) You can read its history right here on Meta. See this blog post and other questions tagged [accept-rate]. –  Pops Aug 25 '11 at 13:40
    
If you create a second account simply to ask questions that won't affect your existing account, you risk having them merged anyway and you'll be no better off (especially as you've just publicly said you would ;-) ) –  RivieraKid Aug 30 '11 at 9:01
    
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In other words, all your questions are "Too Localized" –  Rosinante Jan 23 '13 at 18:54

6 Answers 6

Please don't accept answers that do not help you solve your problem. If you're bothered by comments telling you to improve your accept rate, flag them and we'll delete them.

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I wouldn't say that it is that I am bothered about comments, it is that I might be losing out on potential answers because people think that I don't know how to accept answers. –  Laykes Aug 24 '11 at 22:30
    
@BillTheLizard - it certainly ought to be true that the majority of users understand the relative value of votes and accepted answers. Unfortunately even people with pretty high rep (1k+) add comments to questioners with low accept rates. –  APC Aug 24 '11 at 22:43
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@APC: I'll start commenting when I see high-rep users doing that instead of simply deleting, as I do now. –  Bill the Lizard Aug 24 '11 at 22:46
    
@BilltheLizard Now users can delete flags with "@¢¢€p† rate" in the text with a single flag. Just like I did your previous comment :D –  Lorem Ipsum Aug 24 '11 at 23:45
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@yoda: What manner of sorcery is this?!? –  Bill the Lizard Aug 25 '11 at 1:08

This probably goes without saying, but if you're concerned about your accept rate and you realize that you've already solved some of your old, unanswered questions yourself, don't be afraid to post your own answers and accept them. If you still haven't solved a question, though—as others have said here—don't feel compelled to accept an answer that does not help you solve it.

For a bit of background, see Jeff's blog entry about the accept rate—what he also refers to as a "batting average" (emphasis is mine).

Certain visual styles will be applied to the [accept rate] depending on how high or low it is. We show this number because it provides relevant information to anyone interested in that question:

  • If the stat doesn’t appear at all, it’s a new user, or someone who rarely asks questions.
  • If you see a low percentage, it’s a user who asks a lot of questions but accepts almost no answers.
  • If you see a high percentage, it’s an engaged user, someone who frequently goes back and interacts with their questions after asking.
  • If you see a middle of the road percentage, it’s an experienced user who understands what accepted answers are for.

It is considered good manners to accept answers on your questions, eventually, but accepting answers is not required. I personally consider anything at 70% or over quite good, meaning you accept answers on 7 out of 10 questions that you ask. There are certainly cases where you don’t get an answer you like, or the question is inherently unanswerable.

I think you see where this is going: the accept rate percentage is shown to encourage the behaviors we view as positive and compatible with our sites — and to implicitly discourage those behaviors that aren’t.

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You shouldn't accept inadequate answers.
You don't need to have 100% accept rate, just get it up to some decent level so people know that you're paying attention to your questions, and the answers they receive.

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and people were telling me to work on my accept rating.

Then tell those people to go screw themselves (or as @Bill points out, flag their comments for deletion).

I haven't looked at your activity, but from what you say, you seem to be asking specific questions, and putting a lot of energy in them. If they do not find an adequate answer, do not mark one as accepted.

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The main point of acceptance is to indicate that a particular answer resolves your predicament. This is as much for the benefit of other, future seekers, who find your thread through a Google (or SO) search. By accepting answers which don't actually solve your problem you are diluting the value of acceptance as a marker.

If you want to reward helpful but not definitively right responses then upvote them. But don't surrender to peer pressure from yahoos who don't really understand how SO works.

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Completelky agree, HOWEVER.... I feel that everyone is equal, just because one person has 50k and another has 1 Repuation, does not mean that their opinion is less valued. Yet, in the same breath, by not accepting answers, I might be lessoning the probably that someone with 100 reputation might answer. –  Laykes Aug 24 '11 at 23:06

Often a low accept rate might be an indicator of either:

  • you don't care (or don't know how) to accept answers, or
  • you post poor questions where it isn't possible to give a good answer, or
  • you are simply unlucky to not receive good answers.

From your question, I suppose it is not the first point. If it is the second one, you could try to improve the questions to get better answers. If it is the third one, you can't do much.

The problem is that the single "accept rate" metric can't really distinguish these three possibilities.

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