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I'm aware of this question, but that one is about a flag for answers instead of for comments.

I've seen some answers from newbies that get answered, and then instead of marking the answers as Accepted, they post a

Thanks that worked!

comment under the answer.

I always post a comment:

@somenewbie If this answer solved your question, please click the checkmark next to it.

then, but they never react.

Why this is a problem:

  • It is unfair for the answerer, because he/she doesn't get his/her 15 reputation and eventually a badge
  • It makes it more difficult for future visitors to find a solution
  • It's just generally confusing. Someone not reading the comments could attempt to help again while the question is already solved
  • They stay in the Unaswered section
  • In beta sites, the answered rate unjustly lowers
  • etc.

So, I think it's a good idea to add a "Should be an Accept" flag for comments, that can be used for comments where it's totally obvious that these should be an accept instead of a comment (and thus that if the asker knew how SE worked he/she would have accepted the answer).

Then, if the flag is valid, a moderator can delete the comment and make the answer marked as accepted.

share|improve this question
10  
And what if the newb posted that on more than one of the answers? –  Martijn Pieters Jun 23 '13 at 10:12
    
@MartijnPieters Hm. But I have never seen that yet –  Jop Vernooij Jun 23 '13 at 10:14
    
@Martijn Then see which of them has a higher score, or which one he/she left that comment first. –  Antony Jun 23 '13 at 10:15
1  
I have; two posts, roughly the same answer, both with 'Thanks!' comments. No accept. –  Martijn Pieters Jun 23 '13 at 10:15
3  
@Antony: That tells us nothing. We cannot know which one the OP would have picked from that. –  Martijn Pieters Jun 23 '13 at 10:16
1  
Having flagged the comment what is going to happen afterwards? Are moderators going to manually accept the answer for the OP? –  ben is uǝq backwards Jun 23 '13 at 10:16
8  
This isn't going to happen (only the asker can select the answer that worked best for them, no one else). In the extremely unlikely chance it happens, I'll decline each and every "accept flag" I happen to see on Programmers. –  Yannis Jun 23 '13 at 10:17
1  
I've seen quite a few questions where the OP has gone through upvoting everyone and writing "thanks, it helped!" (or similar). There's on way of telling whether it actually helped, let alone solved their problem in that situation (save experience). –  ben is uǝq backwards Jun 23 '13 at 10:17
    
@Martijn Well, that's a flag. It doesn't have to be acted on every time it is raised. –  Antony Jun 23 '13 at 10:17
3  
It's not about not having to be acted on every time. It's that we can't do anything about it in the first place. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Jun 23 '13 at 10:37
    
I sometimes leave a comment below the question when I get the impression that the OP is just not aware of accepting answers. My rule is: never with questions that I answered. This way, I'm sure it's just about increasing visibility of helpful answers, not rep. –  Gert Arnold Jun 23 '13 at 11:40
    
Please be informed that the Unanswered section contains only questions with no upvoted cq. accepted answers; whether or not there is an accept does not matter once at least one answer has a strictly positive vote score. –  Lord_Farin Jun 23 '13 at 13:19
    
@benisuǝqbackwards Yes. –  Jop Vernooij Jun 23 '13 at 13:23
    
+1 for a good idea. However, I think this problem cannot be solved... :( –  qben Jun 23 '13 at 13:57
    
Ok most people hate my suggestion for some reason (No idea why) but how are we then going to fix this? –  Jop Vernooij Jun 23 '13 at 20:05

2 Answers 2

Would this feature really improve the site? No.

This is only about the 15 reputation points you "lose" from your answer not being accepted. Let it go. Most new users get used to the site and accept some answer in their questions at some later point. It happens to me a lot.

share|improve this answer
    
If the 15 reputation totally isn't important then why is it there anyway? –  Jop Vernooij Jun 23 '13 at 11:46
1  
@com.BOY, the 15 rep is meant to encourage certain behaviours, not enforce that behaviour. In the grand scheme of things, no, it isn't that important, since it really doesn't that all that much serious interaction with the site before those 15 rep points become less than 1% of your accumulated rep anyway. –  RivieraKid Jun 23 '13 at 12:20
10  
This week I got an accept on an answer from three years ago. I have no idea what inspired the OP to come back and accept the answer. Long delays do happen and they're just part of how the site works. I want my accepts to be coming from the person I helped, not from an algorithm that thinks it knows I helped them enough –  Kate Gregory Jun 23 '13 at 12:40
    
They are usually one-time users who never come back anyway. –  Jeffrey Lin Jun 23 '13 at 12:46
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@juergend I strongly disagree with this answer. It's not only about the rep points; the OP mentions half a dozen reasons that are at least as valid as the rep one. –  Mr Lister Jun 23 '13 at 14:04
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@MrLister: The OP edited that reasons in after I answered. But the arguments are actually not that strong IMO. The vote score cleary indicates the best answer even if not accepted. Actually sometimes the accepted answer pushes the best answer to the second place which is bad. Losing 15 rep is not the end of the world. And if someone wants to help and does not read the comments - well that is not a great way to help. The beta site rating won't keep the side from being launched. So no real harm done. And 1 point I give you: It is still in the unanswered section. Ok. –  juergen d Jun 24 '13 at 12:28

The quality of an answer does not change whether it is accepted as the correct answer or not. Now, to address several of your concerns

It is unfair for the asker of the question, because he/she doesn't get his/her 15 reputation and eventually a badge

Do you mean the answerer? Because the question asker only gets +2 for accepting an answer. Given this assumption, if your answer is good, you'll get up-votes which is +10 each – 2 upvotes gives you more rep than having your answer accepted. And like RivieraKid's said in his comment, in the grand scheme of things, if you actively participate in the site, the 15 rep is not that significant.

About the badges, unless that is the only question you're going to answer, don't worry about it.

It makes it more difficult for future visitors to find a solution

I think it is reasonable to assume that visitors tend to look at the highest voted answer. So not having an accepted "correct answer" doesn't really make it hard to find solutions.

It's just generally confusing. Someone not reading the comments could attempt to help again while the question is already solved

Just because a question already has an accepted answer, it doesn't mean "Stop! We are not accepting any more answers for this question". No. Even if there is an accepted answer, as long as you have a good answer that isn't covered by any of the existing answers, feel free to post it!

They stay in the Unaswered section

I don't see how this affects most people.


The way I see it, acceptance of an answer is somewhat like a formality and gives a sense of closure to a question. It is there for the asker to say, "This answer helped me the most", the +15 rep is a tiny cherry on top. If an answer is useful, it is useful whether it is accepted as "correct answer" or not, and its best indicator (most of the time anyway) is the number of up-votes it gets.

I say, don't obsess over it. Ask the OP politely to select the answer that helped him (just like what you're currently doing), then move on.

share|improve this answer
    
"I think it is reasonable to assume that visitors tend to look at the highest voted answer. So not having an accepted "correct answer" doesn't really make it hard to find solutions." - Quite frankly, accepted questions with higher-score-than-the-accepted answers are much more confusing to new users than unaccepted questions. –  user98085 Jun 23 '13 at 13:03
    
OOPS yes I meant the answerer. Fixed now. But again: If the 15 reputation is totally unimportant, then why is it there anyway? About asking the OP: Yes but they never react. –  Jop Vernooij Jun 23 '13 at 13:13
    
Regarding “If the 15 reputation is totally unimportant, then why is it there anyway?”, because it's nice to have a 15 reputation bonus when your answer gets accepted. But it's not that important that you should lose sleep over not getting that bonus. –  Old Checkmark Jun 23 '13 at 14:47

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