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I've had a couple of answers today where the OP indicated via a comment that I solved their problem, but the question wasn't upvoted or accepted. In both cases the person probably wasn't able to upvote since they were new, but they could have accepted my answer. I felt a little guilty asking them to accept the answer, but since it solved their problem I felt that it would help others who stumbled on the question trying to solve their own problem to know that my solution really was the answer.

Is asking the OP to accept your answer when they've said that it solved their problem a reasonable thing to do or does it smack of reputation whoring?

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@EBGreen -- I do feel better now. –  tvanfosson Aug 17 '09 at 20:23
    
I'm not that clever... –  tvanfosson Aug 18 '09 at 12:21
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'Reputation whore' badge - asked 5 times for acceptance by issuing a comment. –  LukLed Feb 14 '10 at 22:16
    
Nobody should waste time saying "PIK MzzEE best answers!" Go forth and answer more questions instead!~ –  Adel Feb 15 '12 at 17:22
    
Acquaint them with the ethos! Indeed. I am an avid Consumer of SO answers and I enjoy the extra comfort of a green check on an answer because... Well, because. –  Gayot Fow Aug 13 '13 at 15:53
    
Worth reminding people - new users can't up-vote until they hit 15 rep. Of course, this doesn't affect acceptance of answers, but worth remembering! –  Duncan Aug 12 at 11:01

12 Answers 12

up vote 117 down vote accepted

I think that's acceptable. If you were encouraging them to accept an incomplete or unhelpful answer, that would be rep-whoring. Encouraging them to accept a good answer (even your own) is just teaching them the right way to use the system.

Look at it this way, if you saw a comment on someone else's answer that led you to believe it was the right answer, would you leave a comment encouraging the questioner to accept it? You probably would, so you shouldn't feel guilty if you do the same on your own answers.

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Absolutely agreed. I've even had a new user ask in a comment once, "How can I give you points?" So, I don't see any harm in teaching somebody how to use the site, so long as your answer is actually the correct answer. –  Eric Aug 17 '09 at 20:27
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+1 for actually being marked as correct answer. –  kb. Feb 15 '10 at 7:37
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Heh - I had one guy offer to buy me something! –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Sep 19 '10 at 22:14
    
whoa, whoa, whoa... wait... is there any question?! of course encourage the poster to accept the best (assuming, of course, that it is also correct...) answer! "if [I] saw a comment on someone else's answer that led [me] to believe it was the right answer"? clearly this indicates that the answer is almost perfect: I just take it, polish it up, add a few good references, some witty zingers, post my work, and ✷POOF✷ new best answer. and definitely, encourage it to be accepted as such. ;) –  shelleybutterfly Jul 31 at 21:38
    
note: generally be sure that the question was not posted four years ago before investing the time in something unlikely to get much attention, in such a case. ;) –  shelleybutterfly Jul 31 at 21:44

noobs must be trained

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+1 Short and simple. –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Sep 19 '10 at 22:15

For the most part I don't try to nudge new users into accepting my own answers. But if I see a new user who has made a comment on another person's post basically stating that he solved the problem, I don't have any problem leaving a comment for the user to think about accepting that particular answer.

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How can I get my comment notifications to go to you instead of me? :-) –  tvanfosson Aug 17 '09 at 20:05
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For the most part, they probably didn't ask about ponies ;-p –  Marc Gravell Aug 17 '09 at 20:58

I always feel like I'm repwhoring when I do it, too. I try to assuage my guilt by telling myself that I am helping a newbie learn how to use the site. You could give that a try, but be warned: most people lack my mastery of self-delusion rationalization.

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No.

If they have said that my answer solved their question, I go ahead and tell them:

If my answer solved your problem, click the big checkbox to accept it as the answer.

It is very clear in what happens (you are marking my answer as the accepted answer). If there are a lot of answers, I'll comment on the top question saying

If someone's answer solved your problem, you might want to accept it as the answer using the big checkbox.

I don't really try to single my answer as the one to pick unless the OP stated something in the comments of my answer that makes me think that my answer solved his problem.

I think is a better to have as many questions as possible have accepted answers because then it is easier for me to browse the Unanswered page. And of course, I like rep.

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Nope.

Many new users don't realize you can accept an answer.

I've even run into a situation where a new user wrote back that they wanted to accept my answer, but they didn't know how. They just hadn't seen the accept answer check mark outline next to the answers.

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...and therefore you shouldn't tell them how to do it? –  SLaks May 19 '11 at 16:07
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@Slaks: I think the Nope is for "Do you feel dirty", not for "do you nudge users". –  Paŭlo Ebermann Aug 1 '11 at 18:12

It happens all the time. Personally I can't be bothered to chase them or worry about it, life is too short. If you're motivated enough, more power to you.

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I don't go searching for them. I only knew about these because the OP left a specific comment that lit up my notification icon. –  tvanfosson Aug 17 '09 at 20:05
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Oh well in that case my argument is that life is too short to worry about worrying about it :) –  bananakata Aug 17 '09 at 20:06

There's no reason to feel guilty. Because:

Reason 1:

Think of yourself as being a friendly guide to a hapless exchange student (pun semi-intended). They're unfamiliar with the culture. Even if their rep isn't that low, they could still be unfamiliar with the system (their rep could've gotten artificial boosts by registering for multiple SE sites). Some of them will probably even thank you for the reminder. Which leads us until reason 2...

Reason 2:

You are actually helping the OP and the community by encouraging good habits. I think the site would be a lot worse off if no answerer ever reminded posters to accept. Reminding posters can actually be done quite unselfishly. A non-accepter is actually harmed because potential answerers may avoid posters with low accept rates.

Reason 3:

Accepting costs nothing (except a negligible amount of time) and is the way posters should show gratitude. If they can type "thanks" they can click a check mark - uninformed users should be instructed that the two actions are synonymous. If they've already thanked you for the answer, you have good reason to believe they would immediately oblige upon being reminded of the proper etiquette.

Reason 4:

You're hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet, dummy!

Tip:

Watch your tone (don't call people dummy). Say it like you're trying to help said hapless exchange student (it helps if that's at least part of your motive, which hopefully it is). I usually say "please" and inform that accepting encourages others to increase the quality of their answers (the implication being that people like to be rewarded). Saying things like, "hey, where's my accept? I thought you said my solution worked for you! I'm never going to answer your questions again." ... is probably not going to help. I would venture to guess that answerers with the nasty latter attitude don't have much reputation to show for it.

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Well, to a degree, it is a little bit of being a rep whore. It is a good thing for the most part though. The new user learns how to use the site. The question now has a defined answer so other people can find it quickly and not have to decide which answer would work the best. I accepted answer brings some agreement on the question being solved. Things that do not have an accepted answer take the impression that it hasn't been solved. So, it is more good than looked down upon.

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I feel guilty NOT accepting an answer if the information is useful. I'm a fairly new user and Stack has been an amazing wealth of knowledge for me. I think its only fair to give the rep points to the person who took the time to help. Also, I wouldn't be offended or felt "pushed" if I got a comment suggesting an answer check. The only problem is when you have very low rep like i did a month or two ago you have to wait a while if you comment to check the answer mark. I still would wait and select the answer but maybe that feature should be tailored a bit to make it easier.

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Greedy people exist and you can't change their thoughts on SO unless you accept their question like the hyphenated site, which is quite a bad move.

But to answer your question, do you answer their questions to gain rep? I believe we're here at SO, SF and SU for learning and letting others learn from what we mastered so far.

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Don't really understand parts of your answer here. For example, what does the first sentence even mean? –  Old Checkmark Aug 13 '13 at 15:31

If you go on another person's SO profile and read their answer to understand if s/he is a qualified developer and good team worker, and you see that they have been asking and in some cases begging the OP (people do that even if the OP is not a new user) to accept their answer, would that sound nice? I don't think so, you can do it, but what's the point? And I'd add: it all depends on how you consider your reputation and why. Do you consider that something that you need or something you deserve? Why you think that? Or maybe could be all about giving the right answer and helping people, and not about the reputation? I guess it's different for each one of us. I think if you "feel dirty", there must be a reason. Everything does have a reason.

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The new part is total mess grammar wise. I didn't downvote and see your points, but they're lost in a wall of text. –  Shadow Wizard Aug 13 '13 at 11:36
    
I apologise English is obviously not my mother tongue. I have tried to correct a little. –  Alex Garulli Aug 13 '13 at 11:43
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The critical distinction here is begging and berating someone to accept your answer, versus reminding or gently nudging someone towards accepting your answer. The first is bad and should make you feel "dirty". The second is completely reasonable, a way of teaching new users how to use the site. –  Cody Gray Aug 13 '13 at 15:32

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