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Is it ok to tell the OP to accept an upvoted answer?

New users already have a reminder to accept an answer on their question. So I don't see the need in general for this post-answer badgering, even if it is intended to be genuine constructive help (which it almost always isn't). To me it seems like little more than rep greed, especially on a site like StackOverflow where such a reminder comes within 10-20 minutes of posting the answer, and when the comment is clearly intended for the OP to accept the commenter's answer. To me it feels like pressuring the OP to accept their answer before a better answer has a chance to come along (or, as others have put it, rep-whoring).

I know we've talked in the past about how users should decide when and how to provide such comments, but that deals with the behavior itself. I'm asking about how we should treat the comments after they've come - I'm not sure whether I should send the commenter to the meta question I just linked, flag the comment, or ignore it. Ignoring it doesn't feel right, but saying something in the open might not seem genuine in cases where I have a competing answer.

EDIT I'd like to add something to consider here: the case where a user makes it seem like further discussion or clarification of an answer hinges on an up-vote/accept first. A couple of examples I culled recently, but I don't want to call out the user here (they're both from the same user, on different posts, in response to questions trying to clarify their answer):

consider up-voting my answer if you found it useful first.

up-vote my answer if you found it helpful first.

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marked as duplicate by Toon Krijthe, Al E., Daniel DiPaolo, razlebe, Rory Aug 13 '12 at 23:48

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.

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If the request is rude, flag it, otherwise I would ignore and move on. –  JimmyPena Aug 8 '12 at 19:32
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I've seen users say things like, "Thanks, I didn't even know that I could accept an answer!" Clearly the reminders have their place. –  David Robinson Aug 8 '12 at 21:47
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I would reprimand you for your non-green accept rate, but 71 is a prime number, and I like that, so I'll let you off... –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Aug 9 '12 at 0:35

2 Answers 2

Well the built-in reminders clearly aren't working, since there are plenty of new users who don't accept answers. And badgering users to accept answers is never acceptable.

But I think there's an important middle ground here. For brand new users who have never accepted an answer, and who say that the given answer "worked perfectly!", I think it's helpful to give a polite reminder to accept the best answer. So to answer your question, I'd let tasteful comments along these lines stand. If the comments are more of the badgering sort, then by all means flag away.


And let's not forget another aspect of this: if user's don't accept any answers and wind up with the dreaded 0% accept rate, the community will treat them rather...poorly

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Well I guess my argument goes back to a couple of things: (1) accepting an answer is optional and voluntary and (2) someone who suggests that their answer is the best answer 8 minutes after the question has been posted is clearly not allowing for the fact that someone might have a better answer. This seems to be rep by convenience. –  Aaron Bertrand Aug 8 '12 at 18:12
    
I have a 0% accept rate on the Workplace, no one ever mentioned it. And a 60% on Programmers, but I guess people see the diamond there and bite their tongue ;P –  Yannis Aug 8 '12 at 18:14
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I'm feeling more and more that the accept rate shouldn't be shown on the usercard in a question. If someone really wants to know the accept rate, they can go investigate the user. It's disappointing that questions and their askers are openly shunned because of a low accept rate, and I suspect in a lot of cases it's just a number and not inspected (I'm sure there are cases where users have asked several good questions and not yet received satisfactory answers, especially in niche tags). –  Aaron Bertrand Aug 8 '12 at 18:17
    
@AaronBertrand Agreed, showing the accept rate is pointless and it generates a lot of noise. Couple of months ago I happened upon an incident where a relatively new user was aggressively pestering a SE 2.0 mod to improve their accept rate and the "discussion" turned outright rude in less than 5 minutes (from the new user's side). It would be funny if it wasn't so sad, never understood how people could fixate on a silly number. –  Yannis Aug 8 '12 at 18:22
    
I guess the part I'd stress is that mentioning that OP should accept the best (ie not your own) answer is only acceptable when the OP goes out of his way to say that your answer solved his problem, and he has never accepted before. I would tend to think that that would be appropriate, even helpful given how the community reacts to the 0% thing. And maybe hiding accept rate would be a good idea. I think you should open a new meta thread on that specifically (but don't forget to accept the best answer here first...) –  Adam Rackis Aug 8 '12 at 18:22
    
@AdamRackis Aaron already linked to the request to hide the accept rate. Up vote it ;) –  Yannis Aug 8 '12 at 18:23
    
@Yannis - I've never ever fixated on it. I think the thinking is that users who ask a lot of simple questions, and never accept any of them aren't holding to their part of the bargain. As I understand it, and I could be wrong, accepting an answer IS expected if any of the answers suitably answer your question –  Adam Rackis Aug 8 '12 at 18:24
    
@YAnnis - got it, and upvoted. Thanks. –  Adam Rackis Aug 8 '12 at 18:25
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@AdamRackis You are not wrong, and I never implied you fixated on it. Just saying that in my experience showing the accept rate has failed its purpose, new users still don't accept answers and we have a ton of borderline rude comments flying around. –  Yannis Aug 8 '12 at 18:25

Anytime the OP comments "thanks so much it works!" or similar (implying my answer solved his problem) yet doesn't accept my answer, I always reply with accept request and instructions on how to do it and it has worked well so far.

I actually haven't seen accept requests in any other context and if I did, I would probably comment or flag them, if you have any references where this happens I'd like to see them.

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I sometimes do the same thing -- but I'm very careful not to suggest accepting or upvoting my answer (even if it's the only one). –  Keith Thompson Aug 8 '12 at 20:22

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