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What do I do with these questions? Accepting an answer to these questions would be actually lying, as no answer solved the problem at hand.

Also sometimes comments are more useful than the actual answer they were posted under. Why can't I accept them?

The reason I ask is because people mentioned my quite low accept rate, which is reasonable and as I see that telling someone to look into his/her accept rate can never be said without sounding like an accusation.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 16 down vote accepted

You never have to accept an answer. If there are no helpful answers, ignore them, vote them up or down (if deserved) but simply do not mark any of them accepted.

If anyone complains about your accept rate, just ignore those comments. You can flag such comments as "not constructive / off-topic" if you wish, comments with certain 'acceptance rate' keywords are auto-deleted on the first such flag.

If there are comments that are helpful to you, you can ask the commenter to make it an answer so it can be voted on and marked as an accepted answer (if you so wish).

If the commenter doesn't create an answer for you after a few days time, create an answer yourself, mark it as community wiki (so you won't be accused of 'stealing' reputation) and mark that as the accepted answer.

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More information as an edit in the question. I also see the very same problem here: As you are clearly telling me the right thing it doesn't answer the underlying problem: Having people actually mention your accept rate to rate you as a person or rate your question. Also comments including your accept rate make you go unreasonably hype that you got an answer, only to read an unuseful comment. –  salbeira Nov 15 '12 at 14:34
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Well, if accept rate is the issue, flag those nagging comments and they'll disappear. –  slhck Nov 15 '12 at 14:36
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Well that is a usefull thing to know. Though as I love going into the thick of things: The information that you can flag them is not useful. The information that they are auto-deleted if they contain the keyword "accept rate" is actually realy realy helpful. –  salbeira Nov 15 '12 at 14:38
    
The comment flagging code lowers the required-flag-count-until-auto-deleted for certain keywords, and for acceptance rate pestering that count is reduced to one. We don't like acceptance rate badgering here on SE. :-) –  Martijn Pieters Nov 15 '12 at 14:40
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@salbeira: Should I nag you now about marking the most helpful answer here now? :-P –  Martijn Pieters Nov 15 '12 at 15:31

It's OK to not accept an answer. If you're a well-adjusted programmer, hopefully you won't have too many "obscure" questions of this nature, and riding on a ~70% accept rate is perfectly fine. On the other hand, if all your questions are unanswered/unanswerable, I would suggest that perhaps you're not well-enough prepared yet to tackle the problems you're attempting.

If you really need help with very unusual or specific problems, then the StackOverflow solution is to become part of the community and be helpful to others elsewhere and thus build up some reputation. Once you have that, you can throw a generous bounty at your questions, which can work wonders on people's willingness to conduct research to help you.

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If your question doesn't have any answers with a positive score then that question isn't considered when calculating your accept rate. A low accept rate comes with questions having answers, but those answers not solving the OP's problem. –  Servy Nov 15 '12 at 15:35
    
Also, asking questions that are difficult enough that very few SOers can answer them is in no way bad. In fact, it's good. If the problems that were hard enough that you couldn't solve them also couldn't be solved by others, then it means it was just a hard problem. If a problem was so hard you couldn't solve it, but dozens of others could do it in minutes, then you likely just didn't spend the time needed to solve your own problem. –  Servy Nov 15 '12 at 15:35
    
@Servy: There's a difference between conceptually difficult questions (e.g. "How does ADL interact with variadic templates in a SFINAE context?"), and just, say, "tedious" questions (like "how to rotate this OpenGL widget according to XML data read from a network socket"). I'm sure you'll find plenty of people eager to dig into the difficult-but-interesting question, while a "tedious" question (although much more realistic in a work-place environment) is just generally much less interesting and fun for anyone to deal with. –  Kerrek SB Nov 15 '12 at 15:40

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