One we keep seeing is users want to be notified when someone un-accepts an answer, so a few questions that follow are how often should these notifications be seen, under what conditions, and how should they be presented?

Using myself as a high activity user (~6,300 answers), we see the following over the course of a year:

  • 4,110 total accepted answers
  • 520 total unaccepted answers
  • 201 still unaccepted answers (answers that weren't later re-accepted)

So that means approximately every other day (201/365) I'd get a notification of an unaccepted answer. Now, compared to a more closer-to-average activity-volume user, we'll use Sam (836 answers):

  • 267 total accepted answers
  • 22 total unaccepted answers
  • 10 still unaccepted answers

Granted this is over a period about twice a long, so we'll say Sam would get a notice about once every 1-2 months.

Compare these counts to yours and you can get a rough idea of the counts you'd see personally,
would this volume of notifications be helpful, or noise?

Too much? What if we reduced the volume? For example we could skip notification in some circumstances:

  • Question owner changes the accepted answer to one of their own.
  • Answer is subsequently re-accepted.
  • You deleted your accepted answer.
  • other cases?

Also, how should these notifications be presented in the UI?

  • The reputation report
  • A message bar (appears at the top of the page, like the site welcome message)
  • An inbox notification
  • A new tab on your profile only visible to you?
  • other ideas?
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I don't see any reason to make it behave any differently than downvotes, personally, but I haven't thought about it enough to back that up with any sort of justification. –  Tim Stone Sep 7 '11 at 1:36
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@Tim - IMO the down vote parallel is the correct one (putting them on the reputation tab, that is). It's almost an accident that they aren't show that way now, just an implementation detail really. –  Kevin Montrose Sep 7 '11 at 1:45
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While you are at it, can we also get notified of rep lost for delete posts? –  NullUserException อ_อ Sep 7 '11 at 4:24
    
What about the answers points and upvotes that vanish when a user is deleted? –  VonC Sep 7 '11 at 10:49
    
This notifies you of the removal of acceptance but it doesn't appear to leave the original acceptance, so it leads to weird results. –  Grace Note Sep 22 '11 at 13:47
    
I don't understand why you're counting that you'd get 201 notifications rather than 520. Surely the software won't wait around to see whether the answer will be re-accepted before notifying you. Or if it will, how long shall it wait? (I'm assuming the inbox-notification method, or similar.) –  msh210 Sep 25 '11 at 15:55
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4 Answers

up vote 49 down vote accepted

Something like this would be simple and not noise:

Unaccept Mockup

Note: My humble apologies; the answer above is in reality accepted. :)

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Perfect. (7 ch) –  Matthew Read Sep 7 '11 at 1:50
    
But the loss wouldn't be on the day it occurred, but the day the answer was accepted, right? So you'd still not have an easy way to tell, for example, if this moved you below 200 total rep for a day? –  agf Sep 7 '11 at 2:13
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@agf: Sounds like a nice tooltip for unaccept: "answer was unaccepted, accepted on 2011-09-02" –  Rick Sladkey Sep 7 '11 at 3:13
    
@Rick Great. I request you add it to your answer :) –  agf Sep 7 '11 at 3:19
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If the whole line had a different format (in brackets, italic, ??) then it would be clearer that it didn't affect today's total. –  ChrisF Sep 7 '11 at 8:37
    
my issues here are: 1. how can I get a list of all the "old" unaccepted answers I have? 2. many people never visit the rep report, how are they going to find out? –  waffles Sep 8 '11 at 0:58
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@waffles - I disagree these are issues because you have none of this functionality with every other vote type. Also, unless you visit the rep report or rep pages in the profile...how would you access any other rep history? Also, we could make these shown in the profile dropdown/popup...which makes since given it does affect those net deltas we display. –  Nick Craver Sep 8 '11 at 1:21
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Starting with the next build, we'll represent unaccepts exactly like this...only if there was a delta though, for example quickly accepting and unaccepting won't show. However, unaccepting, accepting, then unaccepting again would show, as there was a net -15 change for the day. –  Nick Craver Sep 22 '11 at 2:24
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would this volume of notifications be helpful, or noise?

Helpful. I don't have an answer history on a single site in the thousands, yet, but I assume it's pretty rare that very old answers get unaccepted. And people who answer that much undoubtedly get comments much more often than they would get unaccepts, so annoyance due to frequency shouldn't be a problem.

we could skip notification in some circumstances:

  • Question owner changes the accepted answer to one of their own.

  • Answer is subsequently re-accepted.

  • You deleted your accepted answer.

Hiding the latter two would be great for reducing pure noise. The first case isn't noise though; personally, I wouldn't want that hidden.

Also, how should these notifications be presented in the UI?

  • The reputation report
  • A message bar (appears at the top of the page, like the site welcome message)
  • An inbox notification
  • A new tab on your profile only visible to you?

I think the reputation report would be best. A message bar would probably be awful and I could see a lot of people complaining about the inbox, even though I wouldn't mind it myself. (Honestly I'd prefer badges in the inbox rather than the message bar.)

This feature is for the people who care about unaccepts, and those people probably care about their rep report and check it as well. Seems perfect to me.

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Sure, the unacceptation should be recorded in the reputation summary in some way. I don't care about that, but I know many users do.

I would like a notification of some kind, at least something to the level of favorite changes if not an inbox notification. If I answered the question and had my answer accepted then unaccepted, it presumably means that someone else posted a better answer. I'd very much like to read it: I could learn something from it!

What I'd like is: if my answer A is unaccepted in favor of some answer B, then notify me through the global inbox. If answer B is later unaccepted back for mine, remove the notification. If answer B is later unaccepted for yet another answer C, notify me again. Don't notify me if the asker goes back and forth, but do notify me if B goes back to accepted after B has been edited.

Since this is all very complicated, and probably still not quite right, I'd be content with a notification when my answer is unaccepted, and to be notified only once ever per answer (just to avoid repeated notifications if the asker flips several times).

A lower-profile alternative would be to automatically add the question to my favorite list if my answer is unaccepted. I'm not sure how invasive that would be, I might actually dislike it. A separate profile tab similar to the favorites might be more convenient, but it feels like too much UI for a relatively rare subcase.

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One word: Feedback. It's ever so important to receive timely feedback so you can learn something. –  GUI Junkie Sep 7 '11 at 23:11
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I would have it register in the dropdown list as a (-15), with the parentheses showing that the rep doesn't apply to today's total. Then show on the reputation page with some similar distinct scheme maybe as per Rick's answer.

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