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How does accept rate work?

I normally post questions on stackoverflow relating to my programming work, but sometimes the nature of the problem does not make for a speedy solution.

In most cases, if I can't get an answer right away on stackoverflow, I'll come up with a solution or work around to the problem on my own some time after posting the question. This means that I no longer need answers and cannot actually accept any answers as having solved the problem because none did. When this happens I generally delete the question.

Is this a bad thing? (I believe I saw something about someone getting their account deleted for doing this). Does this improve my accept rate?

Mathematically, I believe the accept rate is calculated based on total questions vs accepted answers. So as I figure it, if I have one less unanswered question on one side of that scale, surely the accept percentage should increase...

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marked as duplicate by kiamlaluno, Toon Krijthe, Pops, jonsca, Al E. Aug 28 '12 at 14:03

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.

10  
Stop worrying about accept rate. If you've accepted all you can accept, you are just fine. Start improving unanswered questions to have them answered. Don't delete them. That might factor in to a question ban if done frequently. If you answered them yourself, add the answer. –  Bart Aug 27 '12 at 13:32
    
What Bart said. Also note that questions without any answers do not count against your accept rate. –  Andrew Barber Aug 27 '12 at 13:34
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Answer your own questions and accept your answer when you're able to. –  Paulpro Aug 27 '12 at 13:35
    
Thanks all! Much appreciated :) –  Ortund Aug 27 '12 at 13:37
    
@Bart - if people answering were less extremist about these accept rates, maybe the ones asking questions would worry less. I have seen so much open aggression towards people with a low acceptance rate that it's disturbing. Instead of just ignoring someone with a low accept rate and go to another question, you have aggression, and guilt trips. –  Gnoupi Aug 27 '12 at 13:54
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@Gnoupi Which is mostly why I proposed to stop displaying the accept rate altogether. And why I aggressively flag and edit snarky or non-constructive accept rate comments. –  Bart Aug 27 '12 at 14:05
    
@Bart - indeed, good proposition. Let's move that higher in the request list with a little bounty –  Gnoupi Aug 27 '12 at 14:35
    
@Gnoupi Thanks for that. :) –  Bart Aug 27 '12 at 14:35
    
I agreed with the existing votes to close this as a duplicate of the accept rate FAQ, because that does cover the question as asked. However, I also agree that you shouldn't feel bullied by the "accept rate police." In fact, a single flag is all it takes to remove any comment containing the phrase "accept rate." Really, the only people who should be talked to are those with 0% accept rate, and then only to (gently) introduce them to how the site works. –  Pops Aug 27 '12 at 19:47

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

No, it won't help your accept rate, unanswered questions are not counted there.

When you come up with the answer to a question yourself, just post that answer and accept it. All future visitors that come to your question will benefit from the solution. Nobody benefits if you delete the questions.

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Unfortunately, it seems my deletes have resulted in an auto ban on my account :( –  Ortund Aug 29 '12 at 10:29
    
@Ortlund: Then probably the best action is to flag one of your posts for moderator attention, explain the problem and ask them to undelete those questions for you. –  sth Aug 29 '12 at 12:41

Accept rate is not really something you should worry about. It's a flawed metric at best. Did you accept answers for all the questions where that answer was helpful or correct? Great. You've done just fine. Even if that would (theoretically) mean that your accept rate is 10%. Of course, if most of your questions go unanswered, perhaps your questions can be improved. But that's besides the point.

If you've managed to answer your own question, good for you. Well done. Go ahead and answer your own question. You are explicitly encouraged to do so. The questions you ask here are ideally not only for your own benefit, but for that of others as well. As a result, adding an answer is a good thing as well.

Whatever you do, don't delete your questions. Or, at the very least don't do so with great frequency. That only signals that you ask bad questions to begin with. And while the exact details are not know to us, this does seem to factor in to a possible automatic question ban. That is certainly something you would want to avoid.

All that being said, unanswered questions don't factor in to the accept rate. So in that sense deleting them does not help your rate along anyway.

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