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I've noticed that since Atwood & Co. introduced the new Acceptance Rate tracking, people have been in a mad dash to try and raise up their acceptance rate. This has been especially noticable for me on Meta because my high volume of answers has led to me receiving over 20 check marks recently all of a sudden.

I am not saying that I deserve or don't deserve them, but it has led to believe that perhaps this Acceptance Rate feature might be spurring users to go and accept answers on older posts just to boost their number, and therefore reduces the "value" to a future user of seeing a post with a check mark on it.

If people start going and checking everything just to keep their rate up, are we really doing right by future users who come to this site looking for answers to their problems?

See Also: Will the "Accept rate" score encourage unwanted behavior?

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I think everyone sees that percentage and imediately associates negative with anything below 80% and panics. –  Troggy Aug 24 '09 at 15:28
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Wasn't this asked yesterday, DUPLICATE post, close immediately before he gets anymore upvotes, he has enough rep! –  Breadtruck Aug 24 '09 at 15:29
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REP WHORE! BUUUURRRRN HIM!! –  Shog9 Aug 24 '09 at 15:31
    
@breadtruck, post the link here and if its a dup, it will get closed –  Timothy Carter Aug 24 '09 at 15:31
    
@yshuditelu: I would, but I was really kidding and don't care to be honest. –  Breadtruck Aug 24 '09 at 15:34
    
For your reading pleasure , meta.stackexchange.com/questions/16712 –  Breadtruck Aug 24 '09 at 15:36
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I seem to spend all but a couple hours every day at the rep limit, so rest assured, I am not gaining rep for this :). I didn't catch that question in my searching previously. I'll give it a link up above. –  TheTXI Aug 24 '09 at 15:45
    
Btw, could you insert a link to blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/08/new-question-asker-features somewhere near the first sentence? Just to make it more accessible for future readers who haven't been following closely. Thanks –  Jonik Aug 24 '09 at 18:14
    
@TheTXI: Well, it looks like this accepting race was exactly what you needed to finally surpass Jeff once and for all... –  balpha Aug 24 '09 at 18:33
    
Very good remark. I agree the acceptance rate is too visible. Cf: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/18054/… –  Dimitri C. Sep 11 '09 at 9:28

9 Answers 9

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I haven't noticed a thing on SO-proper; there, my highly-accurate answers tend to get accepted fairly quickly regardless.

But yes, on MSO it's been crazy - my wild guesses and transient opinions are being respected like never before!

Frankly, i doubt it's a problem. MSO is a bit... different. I suspect acceptance rates were unusually low prior to the change, no doubt because a lot of what's posted here can't actually be considered "answered" unless someone from the SO Team steps up and responds. Now we're seeing all the somewhat-obsessive process wonks jumping to improve their scores... it'll blow over.

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I find this interesting, my highest rate of acceptance was on this site as opposed to SO which is at 33%. –  Breadtruck Aug 24 '09 at 15:39
    
I have over 800 answers on meta and now I have 115 accepted answers. That's a ridiculous ratio for a volume of answers that high. –  TheTXI Aug 24 '09 at 15:43
    
Assuming that they ever institute a answer/accept rate for answerer's you won't get a 100% because I will not accept your answer on this question meta.stackexchange.com/questions/16032, ha ha ha ha! –  Breadtruck Aug 24 '09 at 15:54
    
@TheTXI: ridiculous low or ridiculous high? –  Shog9 Aug 24 '09 at 15:57
    
Ridiculous high. When you have a ratio of 1 accepted for every 8 answers with that high volume, that's pretty crazy. Or I just have very low standards. –  TheTXI Aug 24 '09 at 16:52

Absolutely, I've accepted a few to raise my rate, though only marginal ones. I would never accept an answer I thought was completely wrong/innapropriate/didn't answer the question.

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I even posted a couple of answers of my own saying something along the lines of "This doesn't seem to be possible" and accepting that. I feel it's counter-productive. –  romkyns Oct 7 '09 at 21:36

I'm not suprised at the leap in accepted answer activity, I would be a pretty average forum user I join and participate but not too much, neither too little. Here is a short description of what went on in my head. I imagine it's fairly typical:

Suddenly I have my signature sporting 50% acceptance rate after some breif disorientation and indignation a check of the blog explains things. Although JA said anything over 50% was cool, I couldn't help but feel this wasn't good enough and clearly so did many others. Also I have only 12 questions and I certainly had more than 6 accepted answers so I was sure the calc was bogus too. The result being a high motivation to go and revisit some questions and accept answers. After calming down a little though I didn't want to skew things by accepting answers for accepting answers sake, but equally there was no way I was sticking with 50% !!

My questions with unaccepted answers were mostly because I either answered them myself or two items where no answer was really forthcoming. So the majority of cases was easy enough just accept my own answers. In the final two cases I created my own answer describing how I abandoned the problem or solved it some other way, or accepted the best of a bad lot, as I can always return and accept a different answer should it be forthcoming. But, truth be known I suspect these questions will languish in the darkest corners of the DB only to be seen by the occasionally challenged googling dev only to have it's tab closed immmediately when it's obvious there's no helpful solution. In the meantime technology will march on at the insane speed it does and the question becomes obsolete anyway and quietly dies unnoticed, no loss there then really.

So I now have 92% accept rate, much better, and I haven't left SO questions sporting bogus accepted answers.

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Yes the "accept rate" feature has personally caused me to accept meh or so-so answers. My 39% rate didn't look good so I decided to give it a bump. Since I tend to ask difficult questions or I am seeking for specific answers, my rate stands low.

This "accept rate" feature is a double sword. It's doing both good and harm.

However I am not going to give the accept rate too much attention. I am not going to sabotage the quality of the way I accept answers just to boost some figure.

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And I'm seeing it do more harm than good at the moment, which is a shame :( –  Zhaph - Ben Duguid Nov 4 '09 at 22:32

I do think either way it is important to have this feature because there are way to many questions with valid answers where the poster has not bothered to go back and mark what is clearly the answer. I bet in the end most people will be honest about marking answers, or at least I would like to give us the benefit of the doubt!

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This is mostly in keeping with "encourage good behavior."

I found myself searching for unaccepted answers because the system makes me "look bad." That is by design.

But I couldn't bring myself to accepting any old answer arbitrarily because giving my "mark of approval" on something that didn't deserve it also makes me "look bad."

So it all works out as designed... for the most part.

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I don't see any bad effect of the acceptance rate. It really doesn't matter at all to me since on all the sites I've probably asked like 10 questions total, so I have 100% acceptance. Which with such a low number of questions is really sort of meaningless.

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Yes, but without doing any research, no one knows you "only" have 10 questions, so it does carry weight - equally, a user might have a low acceptance, but with a high level of interaction with the answers (updating the question, responding with comments, etc) but not actually resolving their question - people are starting to just fly in, see the low acceptance and leave a "increase your acceptance" - I feel I shall have to start flagging those comments :( –  Zhaph - Ben Duguid Nov 4 '09 at 22:35

Good remark. So far, I refused to use the "accept rate" feature as I think this favors the point of view of the original poster over that of all other users. However, I often get remarks on my low accept rate, so I am considering to accept every answer, even if I like some of the other answers too, or if I know I am not 100% sure it is The Right Answer.

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I have observed several people commenting on a valid question something along the line "You don't accept, so I don't answer, although I know the answer. Neener, neener."

This is very counterproductive, but seems to be the intended behaviour.

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