The user already has a +2 incentive when he or she accepts an answer. And this additional incentive is only an incentive as long as the question actually gets upvoted. On the other hand, the user could ask the most interesting question in the world. Everybody far and wide agrees, and the user earns the most upvotes the site has ever seen. Should that user not earn the reputation simply because despite the question's popularity, nobody has been able to give a sufficiently correct answer?
Not to go off an a rant here, but the continual focus on acceptance rates continues to be disturbing and it is counterproductive. The green checkmark is but one metric that determines an answer's usefulness, there are also votes. So while the judge on whether or not an answer exists that solves the user's problem is up to the user, and the user is free to exercise or not exercise that option, the rest of the community is free to vote up the answers they feel are correct. Therefore, the absence of a green checkmark for an answer otherwise voted up to +8 or +12 is inconsequential. The users that find the question via google are not looking for the check, they are looking for solutions. It's in that user's interests that we disgregard the asker's acceptance rate. It's in our own interests, as well, as the rep we gain offsets whatever +15 we are worried about not getting.
If you want to encourage people to accept answers, make it systematic. We have prompts for everything. We get prompted when we haven't voted on questions in a while. We get notified when we get a new badge. A user with a low accept rate doesn't to be told by everybody that their accept rate is low. Readers of that user's questions that find it via google do not care that the user's accept rate is low. I would hide the dern statistic from the average user entirely, let it be a metric strictly between the specific user and the website, and let the website be the one to notify the user that their participation with the community (via the acceptance mechanism) could use some work. Leave the rest of us (and reputation point incentive) out of it.
It's just frustrating seeing good questions become neglected because
someone has a poor accept rating. Instead of people answering the
question (maybe not even for the sake of the asker as much as future
visitors/reference) you see habitual "work on accepting answers" and
people move on. All i'm looking for is a way to avoid it, while also
upping the incentive to accept answers. So splitting isn't an
acceptable method, any other thoughts on motivating users?
This underscores my point. The problem isn't the acceptance rate, it's certain members of the community reacting to it. Hide it. Get rid of it. It's unimportant to 99.9999% of the viewers of the question. A good acceptance rate is never noticed, and a "bad" one only performs a disservice to virtually everyone. Let it be between the website and the user. Prompt them however often seems appropriate.