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After seeing a question by user dtgee, I clicked on a link to his or her profile and noticed that (s)he had asked 28 questions, but had accepted 0 answers.

So if accepting answers is to be encouraged, shouldn't there be consequences for accepting, say, less than X % of all your questions, if having asked more than a threshold amount of Y questions since signing up?

Like a pop-up with: "In order to ask another question, you need to first accept an answer to one or more of the questions you previously asked on Stack Overflow."

Alternative ideas welcome.

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marked as duplicate by gnat, hims056, Hugo Dozois, Lucifer, animuson Jun 6 '13 at 17:43

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.

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No, not really. Accepting is entirely up to the user's discretion. And I don't want users accepting answers just because they would otherwise not be able to ask another question. –  Bart Jun 6 '13 at 8:54
    
The problem is: What if there was no "good enough" answers to his questions. –  HamZa Jun 6 '13 at 8:54
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But consider the probability of disapproving answers 28 times in row. That to me, seems like someone who doesn't respect the time and effort answerers put into creating a good response. Of course, you can never be 100% sure with just statistics, but I think you should be able to draw a line. If you can't muster accepting at least one answer in 10 questions, you need to rethink the way you ask your questions IMHO. –  Will Jun 6 '13 at 8:58
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There's a difference between encouragement and putting up a wall. Sometimes, it might be absolutely necessary to build a wall (e.g. question bans), however this isn't one of them. Forcing people to do something that isn't absolutely essential to the Q&A process sounds more like a recipe for disaster than anything else. –  Yannis Jun 6 '13 at 8:59
    
Granted, forcing users to accept answers may not be the best solution. But that's why I'm open to other measures and tagged this question as discussion. –  Will Jun 6 '13 at 9:02
    
@WillBuddha Also, on a personal note, I avoid accepting answers. I'm philosophically against the concept, and I prefer to let the community vet the answers and decide which one makes it to the top. I'll add my own (up/down) votes, but if the answer isn't demonstrably the definitive one, I simply won't accept it (and if you force me to, I'll probably leave). However, I should note that I don't really hang around on SO, I prefer the more subjective sites of the network, where objective and definitive answers aren't as common. –  Yannis Jun 6 '13 at 9:02
    
It is the kind of problem that solves itself. Experts in a particular tag will pay less attention to known users that categorically reject answers unless the question is interesting enough to justify the time. Hard to keep that up, asking a good question isn't that easy. They won't get good answers anymore and just stop posting. –  Uphill Luge Jun 6 '13 at 11:47

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

No, there shouldn't. In fact, we used to show the accept rate for users, but it was finally removed because commenters kept antagonizing users with low accept rates.

It's OK if you give a polite reminder to the OP that they can accept the answer that they find best. However, it's no big deal if the user doesn't accept answers -- sorting still goes on by votes (a more useful metric that acceptance IMO). The decision to accept an answer is up to the user, and there are many situations where a user may legitimately not want to accept (the most common one being that they don't get any answers that they deem sufficiently detailed). With this in mind, it's best not to force the user to accept anything.

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Accept rate was introduced for a reason, back in the day. Now again without it the old problems will be back and again most new users will not accept anything ever. –  sth Jun 6 '13 at 11:51
    
@sth: Except that the "old problems" are much smaller than the problems that get caused with accept rate. The old problems were just that we didn't get accepted answers (trivial matter: the SE model works perfectly well with votes, and the +15 rep isn't that much a loss to the economy). The "new" problems were that users were using accept rate as a weapon to be condescending and ending up scaring off newbies. –  Manishearth Jun 6 '13 at 12:00
    
But still that doesn't mean that the "old problems" now aren't there anymore just because the attempted solution didn't work out. The old problems were severe enough that a whole new feature was implemented. Now the old problems will come back and we should think about a new solution to them. –  sth Jun 6 '13 at 12:30
    
@sth: I don't think those problems are severe at all. You need to be clearer why you think they are severe. "A feature was implemented to solve them" isn't enough. Also, see the citizenship level thing mentioned in a comment above. –  Manishearth Jun 6 '13 at 12:37
    
It annoys people if a large percentage of new users (which are traditionally the majority of question askers) never accept anything. Many people never did realize "accept" existed until somebody told them. The problems were seen as severe enough that the whole accept rate feature was invented and there was even a blog post about it. –  sth Jun 6 '13 at 18:50
    
@sth: Why does it annoy people? Because they lose the 15 rep? We don't care much about that. The reasons matter, not that it annoys people. If it annoys people for the wrong reasons, then that's not the issue. Frankly, the acceptance tick could be done away with and not much problems would be caused. –  Manishearth Jun 6 '13 at 18:52
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The accept is intended to indicate if the original problem got solved, and what answer did so. It gives closure to the open question, it indicates that a satisfying solution was found. That utility is lost if all the new people don't realize it's there. Also there's accomplishment, rep and badges in it for the answerer. Generally a working "accept" feature is good for the site. It gives gratification for good answers, it gives indication which questions still need answers, it gives indication which answer actually solved a problem. –  sth Jun 6 '13 at 19:24
    
@sth: Many answers can solve a problem. Upvoted manage this job much more efficiently. I agree that it's a useful feature. If the problems caused by no accept rate are as large as you describe, then IMO the feature isn't so useful that it shouldn't be removed. –  Manishearth Jun 6 '13 at 19:28

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