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Is it appropriate to comment on people's accept rate?
Comment regarding accept rate removed

SUMMARY, in response to a comment by @Arjan, to make my point clearer...

Please can I have clarification on whether I should make a comments on questions regarding the low acceptance rate of the OP?

I have done so in the past (always politely - I believe - and with linked references), but have had some of them deleted - however, I have also seen the same style comments made by a moderator, which has confused me as to the "rules" regarding such comments.


ORIGINAL

(Updated due to "abuse of code tags" - sorry @Arjan!)

I entered something like the following comment against this question yesterday (I don't have the original, for reasons I will explain)...

Also you could do with sorting out your acceptance rate (33% at the time of writing). People are more likely to respond if they think they are likely to get something in return (i.e. reputation)

It was deleted within a matter of minutes without any warning or explanation. I had a look in meta, and found this post which says:

Accept rate dunning is not considered appropriate. Some of us routinely flag all such comments, and if enough of us do so, they get removed.

I don't believe my comment was rude or inappropriate - although I fully accept that the tone of the written word is exceedingly difficult to "read", so other might see it that way.

However, the following comment has just been placed by a moderator (ThiefMaster) on this post...

Please improve your accept rate by accepting answers to your questions. See meta.stackoverflow.com/a/5235/147015 for further information.

While I've been writing this, the comment has now been deleted (I presume by ThiefMaster) as the original acceptance rate of 17% has now gone up to 67%. I can only presume as a result of the comment by Thiefmaster.

So can I please ask what the "rules" are on pointing out the acceptance rate?

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Accept rate comments are bombed with one comment flag if the server find "accept" and "rate" in the comment. In general, you won't get any notification when your comment is deleted. –  nhahtdh Jul 23 '12 at 9:28
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So you're saying, @nhahtdh, that any mention of acceptance rate is automatically a bad thing? Even though trying to point it out could (potentially) increase the chances that the OP will get more/better replies? –  freefaller Jul 23 '12 at 9:33
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Could the downvoter please state why? –  freefaller Jul 23 '12 at 9:35
    
See the faq; votes on MSO are different from the regular Stack Exchange websites. –  Martijn Pieters Jul 23 '12 at 9:37
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@MartijnPieters: What's to disagree with this question? –  Rik Poggi Jul 23 '12 at 9:38
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Thiefmaster's comment is gone now too, probably flagged into oblivion too. You'll find plenty of examples on SO that flaunt SO rules; it's a big place and we cannot find every misstep ever committed. Moreover, SO culture changes over time, so what is now considered bad form was perhaps once accepted. :-) –  Martijn Pieters Jul 23 '12 at 9:38
    
Thanks @Martijn - the number of times I've pointed people to FAQ's on SO, I now feel suitably embarrassed for not reading them here! –  freefaller Jul 23 '12 at 9:38
    
I'm at most describing what the system offers in the previous comment. I'm also wondering what the consensus is. I have been nuking all such comments, regardless of the tone, since I think such comments are not related to the problem. –  nhahtdh Jul 23 '12 at 9:39
    
@RikPoggi: No idea, I didn't downvote. Merely pointing out that downvotes on MSO carry a different meaning. –  Martijn Pieters Jul 23 '12 at 9:39
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@nhahtdh, since I broke the heady heights of 2000 reputation on SO (yes, I know seriously impressive ;-) ), I have not been so bothered by whether I get anything from my answers. But I know that one of the first things I used to check was the acceptance rate... if it was low I quite often didn't even bother reading the question, as I didn't think it would be worth my time. –  freefaller Jul 23 '12 at 9:43
    
@freefaller: I care about it at first for a short while, but I later care more about whether I can answer the question or not rather than the accept rate. I don't mind answering a good question from 0% accept rate, but such user usually has terribly written question. –  nhahtdh Jul 23 '12 at 9:48
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Fair comment @nhahtdh. Although it's disappointing that my question (for clarification on any "rules") has not actually been answered directly. Ah well, life goes on :-) –  freefaller Jul 23 '12 at 9:51
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(The downvote wasn't mine either, but I was close to voting to close. I just got to your bolded "however" in time to realize what you'd been seeing. The first 4 paragraphs just made me think it was a discussion like many others. I'm still tempted to downvote for abusing `code` for quotes, but well...) –  Arjan Jul 23 '12 at 10:12
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marked as duplicate by kiamlaluno, jadarnel27, Pops, jonsca, Bart Aug 1 '12 at 9:20

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

From the same meta-question you linked:

Comments are expected to relate to the post itself in some way. If you're gonna comment on the author, be respectful... But be aware that other users may still find them irritating and flag for removal.

Showing the accept rate of a user will inevitably bring to complaints from other users if such rate is too low, but those comments are not strictly related to the question.

The aim of SO is to provide answers to questions and one concernt is to make such quest as much "straight" as possible.

This means that meta-related comments are probably going to be removed, because even if found pertinent in the moment they're may be not in the big picture.

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Thanks @Rik, that pretty much sums it up. (Although in my defence I normally put the actual % value at the time of the comment, so it wasn't confusing if they did take on board what I was saying). I will see if anybody else wants to add anything to the conversation before marking. –  freefaller Jul 23 '12 at 10:12
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There are two situations where I'll comment about accepting answers and in both of those I'll link to the Meta FAQ on how accepting works, which you'll notice ThiefMaster did, the point being to educate rather than berate the OP.

The first situation I'll mention accept rate is if I come across a post where the OP has been the victim of a drive by "Fix your accept rate" comment and has posted a response suggesting that they're confused / don't understand. I'll usually flag the original comment, give a brief summary of accepting to the OP and point them at the FAQ for more information.

The second (and most likely) situation that I'll mention accepting (rather than accept rate), is if I come across an answer where the OP (usually a low rep one) has put a comment on the answer along the lines of "That's great, it worked!". I'll again, give a brief summary of the benefit to the community of know what worked for them and that there was an answer to their problem and refer them to the FAQ for more information. I'll do this, because the answer is unlikely to ask them to accept (it feels a bit like begging) and because low rep users often don't know how the site works and whilst it would be nice, I just can't seem them all reading the FAQ from cover to cover. For me, this is also a bit less of a meta comment since it's referring to the answer that I will post it against while suggesting that the OP accepts it.

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Both may be 'meta', but are good times and methods of commenting about accept rate. –  Andrew's a Unitato Jul 30 '12 at 14:05
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