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It seems as of late that the overall amount of accepted questions has dramatically decreased.

It may be the tags I hang around in but am unsure.

I guess I'm curious if it seems that way to anyone else.

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Hard to tell after they removed that metric from everyone's profile. But this would be neat to know. –  BlackVegetable Apr 27 '13 at 18:54

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The accept rate was removed on the 22nd of January 2013. To steal my query from this question the accept rate on a quarter-by-quarter basis has definitely been dropping:

Year Quarter Accepted Not Accepted Accept Rate 
---- ------- -------- ------------ ----------- 
2008 3       14235    3636         79.65%      
2008 4       29138    10313        73.86%      
2009 1       40448    13526        74.94%      
2009 2       54915    20733        72.59%      
2009 3       71176    27276        72.3%       
2009 4       82231    30543        72.92%      
2010 1       103838   37853        73.28%      
2010 2       112158   44554        71.57%      
2010 3       130723   52494        71.35%      
2010 4       142305   58071        71.02%      
2011 1       182440   76891        70.35%      
2011 2       199785   86545        69.77%      
2011 3       206725   90639        69.52%      
2011 4       209429   89543        70.05%      
2012 1       244217   110679       68.81%      
2012 2       249610   120293       67.48%      
2012 3       250879   129567       65.94%      
2012 4       243888   136159       64.17%      
2013 1       251704   168344       59.92%      
2013 2       51163    45618        52.86%    

This pre-supposes that people don't go back and accept answers, which they definitely do. I would expect the later numbers to rise.

However, we've not yet got a complete quarter so it'd be better to look at the more recent, monthly, results:

Year Month Accepted Not Accepted Accept Rate 
---- ----- -------- ------------ ----------- 
2012 1     76557    33547        69.53%      
2012 2     81080    36696        68.84%      
2012 3     86580    40436        68.16%      
2012 4     82512    39198        67.79%      
2012 5     85058    40981        67.49%      
2012 6     82040    40114        67.16%      
2012 7     87293    44283        66.34%      
2012 8     86311    43929        66.27%      
2012 9     77275    41355        65.14%      
2012 10    85138    46253        64.8%       
2012 11    83439    46769        64.08%      
2012 12    75311    43137        63.58%      
2013 1     85316    52202        62.04%      
2013 2     79915    54079        59.64%      
2013 3     86473    62063        58.22%      
2013 4     51163    45618        52.86%   

Once again, the rate is dropping but we expect it to be lower as people haven't gone back over their older questions and accepted them yet. Equally, the number of answered questions in each month will continue to rise as time goes on.

I honestly doubt that there'll be significantly consequential evidence, from the data, of the effect of the removal of the accept rate for at least another year.

I would guess that the rate of acceptance will drop. This appeared to be happening, to a tiny degree, prior to the change and it'll be interesting to see what happens in the future. I don't believe that much can be read into these numbers at the moment.

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Interesting. Any idea how these figures measure up against community growth? –  Bart Apr 27 '13 at 19:07
2  
There's also the problem of causality. Perhaps we don't give acceptable answers to as large a percentage of questions as before. –  Emil Vikström Apr 27 '13 at 19:08
    
To steal from another answer @bart, pretty good until 2013. There has been a huge increase in the number of users asking questions and the accept rate barely seems to have slipped... –  ben is uǝq backwards Apr 27 '13 at 19:15
1  
only time can (definitively) tell on the last few months though. I guess to a very large extent it depends on the number of 1 rep users who post once and never accept. If this group increases as a percentage of the population then the incidence of acceptance will plummet precipitously. –  ben is uǝq backwards Apr 27 '13 at 19:16
    
I think it makes more sense to look at either questions where an answer is accepted in a relatively short period of time (say, a week) or to just look at the ratio of accept votes to questions answered (ignoring what time period those votes are targeted at). FWIW, the former has held fairly steady for a long time now, while the latter did drop off noticeably (although hardly catastrophically) in January. –  Shog9 Apr 27 '13 at 19:18
    
I'm not sure I see your point about the second @Shog. I would expect it to drop or are you saying you have the historical view of this ratio (not relative to time)? It is similar to my approach, though both do seem a bit roundabout. If you have better data than is available in the explorer then don't let me stop you answering! –  ben is uǝq backwards Apr 27 '13 at 19:22
    
Yeah, I'll post something in a bit; gotta finish packing first. –  Shog9 Apr 27 '13 at 19:29

Just did a little research, triggered by this remark in Ben's answer:

Equally, the number of answered questions in each month will continue to rise as time goes on.

I wondered how much effect this "late acceptance" would have on the overall trend. So I compared the given numbers with numbers from a fresh query. Here's the effect of late acceptance on accept rates:

Year  Quarter  2014 March  2013 April  Increase
----  ------   ----------  ----------  --------
2009                                   0,1%
2010                                   0,2%
2011                                   0,4%

2012  1        69,5%       68,8%       0,7%
2012  2        68,3%       67,5%       0,8%
2012  3        66,8%       65,9%       0,9%
2012  4        65,2%       64,2%       1,1%
2013  1        61,9%       59,9%       2,0%
2013  2        60,2%       52,9%       7,4%

As expected, the more recent answers show the greatest increase in accept rate.

How does this affect the observed trend of decreasing accept rate? Well, it's still there. Here are the results until the end of 2013, measured today:

enter image description here

As said before, this is just an observation. There can be any explanation for this trend. Maybe there are less acceptable answers, as Emil Vikström suggested.

One thing is clear: not displaying accept rate didn't cause the decline, nor did it affect it clearly. That's something I'm happy about, because I think it has removed a lot of noise from the site and, as is apparent now, without adverse effects.

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I assumed the graph is the result until the end of 2013, not 2014? :) –  Andrew T. Mar 19 at 10:50

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