It happens frequently (at least to me) that I write answers to questions and the original asker not only doesn't mark my answer as answer (which is reasonable) but also doesn't comment at all, giving me the idea that his question was not so important and the time I used to answer is question was a waste of time.
Sometimes answering questions is an activity that takes time: I think this effort should be respected by the original asker, who at least should mark the answer as "read" to give the minimum satisfaction to the ones who answers.

A flag marking the answer as "read" without the need to comment further, at least to let the answerer know that what he did was read.

Thanks for your time to read this (I'll read all the answers :-) ).

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Why do you care? Is lowering someone else's reputation really going to make you feel better about your contribution? And consider that your answers might be helping other people besides the person who asked the original question. That's really the point here—to accumulate a database of high-quality programming-related questions and answers for future Internet searchers. I struggle to imagine why it even matters to you if the original asker ever reads your answers. –  Cody Gray Feb 20 '12 at 9:41
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This would only increase noise-to-signal ration. Sometimes there really isn't anything to comment (except implicit thanks, which I express with an upvote). –  Goran Jovic Feb 20 '12 at 9:43
    
@Cody I'm not interested in "punishing" the asker, but I'd like to have a system that gives the idea that the asker is interested in answers to his own question. It should also improve tha quality of the questions by showing that the effort to find a solution is going on... –  Andrea Antonangeli Feb 20 '12 at 9:45
    
Unless you've already provided a solution... Stack Overflow is not in the business of micro-managing askers. There's no mechanism for forcing users to upvote answers, to accept answers, or any other such thing. Yes, these behaviors are encouraged, but they're entirely optional, and that's entirely by design. Sorry you don't find this personally fulfilling. –  Cody Gray Feb 20 '12 at 9:47
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1 Answer

up vote 6 down vote accepted

You have to be aware of one very important design principle of Stack Exchange:

Ask and answer questions, keep noise away.

That does not only mean that Stack Exchange does have 65% more question per question, but it also tries to concentrate on the main goal of asking and answering questions. Comments are mainly considered noise on the main sites (metas are different), comments should not be necessary, neither should a 'read' flag be necessary.

The best 'read' flag I can think about is an upvote. Sure, there are users which are not coming back to their questions, or do not upvote answers...but why should you care? You wrote an answer, you contributed knowledge to a constantly growing pool of knowledge. It's the same as at Wikipedia, there are no upvotes over there, there are no 'thank yous' or 'I read that' over there...there are just people writing down their knowledge. To the same here, and if you receive upvotes and reputation for it, it's a nice side-effect.

There are enough users which value every single contribution, you'll receive upvotes, you'll receive attention in time. It does not come instantly, it does not come easy, but it will.

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This is a good answer to my question :-) –  Andrea Antonangeli Feb 20 '12 at 9:48
    
@AndreaAntonangeli: And yet you did not upvote it. ;) –  Time Traveling Bobby Feb 20 '12 at 9:52
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I need 15 reputation to do it :-) –  Andrea Antonangeli Feb 20 '12 at 9:53
    
@AndreaAntonangeli: Seriously? I didn't know that there's a limitation on answers on your own question in place...that smells odd. oO' I'm considering filing that as bug. –  Time Traveling Bobby Feb 20 '12 at 10:07
    
Seriously: I can't upvote your answer. –  Andrea Antonangeli Feb 20 '12 at 10:10
    
@AndreaAntonangeli: In that case I apologize for the snarky undertone despite the smiley and will do some research on that matter. Thanks. –  Time Traveling Bobby Feb 20 '12 at 10:26
    
no need to apologize. I really like the design of the various sites and I'm here to help improving them (for what i can). –  Andrea Antonangeli Feb 20 '12 at 10:50
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