What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 130 Stack Exchange communities.

As well all know there are a lot of questions which never get accepted answers. Some might be justified as no one has answered them yet, or the OP doesn't feel that the question has been answered to their satisfaction. But I’m sure there are thousands of questions out there that can become accepted, and for some reason or another they haven’t been yet.

I have an idea to try and address this.

Now for questions in your profile that have not been accepted for a certain length of time we get a message asking us to consider placing a bounty on that question to help us get the right answer, which is fine.

As accepting answers gives 2 rep points to the user, would it be worth us also showing them ‘potential rep’ so that they know how much they could gain if they where to accept answers in all of their remaining questions.

As an example, someone could have asked 20 questions and only 10 of them have been accepted. They could get a message saying:

“Your unaccepted questions equates to an additional 20 rep points…”

Of course I wouldn’t want it to make people accept just for the hell of it, more to make them remember that they get rep for the accepted answers so it’s worth revisiting old questions to see if any can be accepted.

Thoughts?

Edit


Thanks for the comments so far.

Certainly I don’t want people accepting an answer just for the sake of rep. I suppose I'm just thinking of how we can get people to go over their unaccepted questions again, just in case they've forgotten about some of them, and maybe realise that one or two of them can now become accepted. For example, if you have someone who’s asked a hell of a lot of questions and most have no accepted answer yet, surely there’s a chance that they might have forgotten about some of those questions.

share|improve this question

6 Answers 6

Pushing people to accept answers by showing the the rep points they are getting leads to the wrong direction. They should accept it, because they think it is the most helpful answer.
BTW: I doubt that this suggestion will help to increase the amount of accepted answers. Most users just don't come back.

share|improve this answer
    
That's why I started to hesitate answering questions for users with <50r rep. Because usually I don't get feedback after I answer and I cannot determine if my answer was helpful or not. –  Joraid Apr 5 at 16:16

There is no point trying to get people to do something while making it hard for them to do so!

Firstly let’s make it easy for someone to find questions they have not accepted an answer on.

This could easily be done with a new section on a user’s profile, or a new sort type on the questions tab within the user's profile.

share|improve this answer

My contribution. This question got the right answer, if you see the top voted, the author thanks the user, their words are very clear:

Thank you, that was very helpful.

So, I think the author can be suggested to accept that answer because it was already helpful for him.
I have two ideas to accomplish this:

  • Every time a user ask a question, the site sends a mail indicating in a very nice way how to accept an answer. The mail will be sent with every question being asked until the user accept one.
  • If the author writes "thanks" or something like that in a user comment, the information bar (in stackoverflow the orange bar that shows at the top to advice for new answers) will appear inviting the author to accept the answer if he thinks is the right question.
share|improve this answer
7  
The second idea might be a pain to implement accurately, but one thing that would be much simpler would be if an OP votes up an answer, they see a notice suggesting that they accept that answer as best. –  tnorthcutt Sep 4 '09 at 21:32

Why? I admit that some people are happy with the answer they get and then don't even up-vote, let alone accept. But if there is no accepted answer for a question, my first bet is that no answer was worth accepting until now.

If I look for something on Google and it directs me to stackoverflow, I must be sure that an accepted answer is a good answer to the question, not just something to boost the OP's reputation.

share|improve this answer

Encouraging someone to accept an answer just for the sake of accepting an answer goes against the very premise of what an accepted answer is. You were supposed to be accepting answers that solve your problems, not just the answer you like the best so that you can get a small rep boost.

  • If there is an answer that completely answers your question and assists you in your problem, accept it. If there are multiple, check the one that provides you (and hopefully future users) with the most information or the one that answers your question first (if there is no discernible difference between them).

  • If there is no answer(s) that successfully solve your problem or answer your question sufficiently, you should only really accept an answer (and it's debatable here too) once you feel as if you need to just abandon the question. Here you would just accept "the best available" answer, but if you don't it still isn't a big deal.

You should never consider yourself obligated to accept an answer on this system. We already give helpful reminders once questions go over certain time periods (even suggest making bounties to elicit more activity). If there is nothing that really helps you, do not feel as if you should have to accept something.

share|improve this answer
    
All true, but there are users who just don't understand that there is an accept answer function, or they don't think to do it. It's a UI issue, or ignorant user issue, depending which way you look at it. Of course users shouldn't accept answers for any reason other than it solved their problem. I agree there is a danger that persuading users to accept answers might encourage acceptance under the wrong conditions. –  Sean Mar 12 '12 at 9:00

The only problem I sometimes have is that the questions I left unanswered didn't have enough answers or upvotes to really choose which is the best solution. Then it becomes rather arbitrary to pick just the one that worked, if I didn't try out every solution.

But I think it's a good thing to at least have people check their old questions again to see if they should pick an answer, people bothered to answer it, so you can at least bother to see if you agree and reward if appropiate.

Resulting in the highly subjective discussion: when should I accept an answer?

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .