What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 133 Stack Exchange communities.

I searched duplicates, and my impression was that requests may be acceptable, or at least tolerated, after questioner has indicated the answer solved his problem, and with the request for points via a comment. For example, this discussion: Do you feel dirty if you nudge new users to accept your answer when they indicate you've answered their question?

However, my question is slightly different. Is it OK to include the request for points within the initial answer?

"Don't forget to tip your waiter by clicking on the checkmark next to my answer if this is useful. :o)"

Source

In that example, the request wasn't demanding. It was humorous. Does that make a difference?

But since the request doesn't contribute to the usefulness of the answer, does it belong in the answer at all?

If it's not acceptable as part of the answer, would it be OK as a comment instead, and when submitted immediately after the answer?

share|improve this question
9  
In my opinion, such comments don't at all relate to asking or answering questions, so they are off topic. I remove them on sight. They also put undue pressure on the person asking. Sometimes it can be ok to instruct the asker how to vote or accept, but that is an entirely different thing. –  Andrew Barber Aug 20 '13 at 23:31
3  
+1 In light of this discussion, I disagree with your premise that answers should contain requests for upvotes or checkmarks. However, this is a well written way of starting that discussion. –  Travis J Aug 20 '13 at 23:45
    
@TravisJ Thanks for that link. My question got a quick initial downvote which puzzled me when I referenced the downvote criteria in the tooltip. I thought I demonstrated research effort and presented the question clearly. So that left me wondering why it was not useful. But seems the downvote may have been disagreement with my premise. I didn't realize meta works that way. BTW, I'm not proposing requests for points within answers be considered acceptable. –  HansUp Aug 21 '13 at 0:36
    
Sweet Jesus, why do I have so many stalkers on this site?? I mean, I'm honored that you feel threatened by me, but enough is enough. –  Johnny Bones Aug 21 '13 at 15:30

5 Answers 5

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Not in the answer. The answer is reserved for... answering the question. Any other content in an answer is just noise, and is subject to removal.

If you must, put your humorous request for unicorn dollars in a comment below the answer. I suspect, however, that such requests may actually have the opposite effect of that intended.

share|improve this answer
8  
+1 for "unicorn dollars". –  michaelb958 Aug 20 '13 at 23:43
    
Thank you, RH. I noticed edit to source, too. Maybe I coulda/shoulda just done that, but wanted to get a better feel for community standards first. –  HansUp Aug 20 '13 at 23:45
    
I thought unicorns have no power at StackOverflow. Aren't they only magical here at Meta? –  Adi Inbar Aug 21 '13 at 3:53
2  
@AdiInbar: blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/09/… –  Robert Harvey Aug 21 '13 at 4:05

In my experience, new users tend to have a hard time to discover the checkmark by themselves. Not sure what the problem might be, whether that's too much of a Western symbol or whether it doesn't contrast enough with the rest of the page. I suspect the latter.

So following up with a comment like "Please close your question by clicking the checkmark to the left of the answer that helped you most" is a public service message in my book. Strictly a comment.

share|improve this answer
2  
I like that the focus is on marking the question resolved instead of gimmee points. –  HansUp Aug 21 '13 at 0:12
    
+1 I was looking this one i like the comment Please close your question by clicking the checkmark to the left of the answer that helped you most –  user3110424 Jan 23 at 9:16

In practice I try not to nudge the OP unless I get a "thanks" comment from a new user and even then I try to keep my response informative...

The exchange usually goes a bit like this:

Received comment:

Thanks works great! Thanks so much!

Check to see if user has ever asked questions/accepted answers before. If they have leave it be. If it's their first question or they haven't accepted any answers yet:

Glad to help, if this answer solved your problem please mark it as accepted by clicking the check mark next to the answer. see: How does accepting an answer work? for more information

share|improve this answer
    
That seems reasonable to me. When it's someone else being thanked for an answer, I can say "You can also thank him by ..." accept and/or upvote as appropriate. –  HansUp Aug 21 '13 at 1:28
1  
@HansUp I think that would be acceptable, it's generally good to link to the related Meta post or help center page as well –  apaul34208 Aug 21 '13 at 1:52

The answer should be able to help other users solve a similar issue, as well as the OP. Including something which alludes to requesting upvotes or check marks does not add anything useful to the answer and should be avoided.

If the user is very new and has no accepted answers then just be patient. Usually they will eventually figure it out and come back. If they post a comment on your answer indicating it was the correct answer, then it is appropriate to reply with a reminder that they can accept your answer by clicking the checkmark if it was the correct answer.

Moreover, new users sometimes are not used to the speed at which questions are answered here. Personally I think it is awesome that questions get answered with the speed they do. Back on point, sometimes the user has posted the question and left with the intent of returning later to review it.

All in all, there are a lot of reasons for users not immediately tending to your correct answer and I think the best advice would be to be patient. If you are answering questions with high quality answers then the upvotes and checkmarks will come.

share|improve this answer
    
True enough. No need to ask for points if everyone can be patient or view points as unicorn dollars. I dunno how to make that happen. But I believe SO would be a better place if it did. –  HansUp Aug 21 '13 at 0:16
    
@HansUp - I would be interested in creating unicorn dollars as well. The patience is the "easy" part. Based on your rep on SO it seems that you do not have much difficulty gaining upvotes or acceptance marks :) Keep in mind too, that it is summer right now which tends to have lower traffic. –  Travis J Aug 21 '13 at 0:46
    
Yeah, points aren't much of an issue for me, TJ. I don't know how to spend unicorn dollars. See what you think about this one. He asked me to how he could give me points for my effort ... and I just couldn't do it. I suppose I'm just weird, but anything remotely like asking for points makes me feel like a sleazy beggar. :-) –  HansUp Aug 21 '13 at 0:51
    
@HansUp - Looks like you are good at helping people :) Situations like those, where a user who is still getting used to the SO format, can be a little disjointed. I think he was just trying to thank you. –  Travis J Aug 21 '13 at 1:02
    
Yes, and I actually would like to politely tell him about SO voting --- the purpose and how to do it --- give him a link ... just not when I'm the beneficiary. That's sleazy, dammit! :-) But I'll tell another time when someone else directly benefits. Cheers. –  HansUp Aug 21 '13 at 1:07

I think it's reasonable to inform new users of how to acknowledge answers by upvoting those that are helpful and accepting the one that was used or best resolved the issue. Many new users simply don't know that that's how things work. Sometimes they'll post comments like "Thank you so very much!! That worked great, you're a lifesaver" without accepting the answer, because they don't know better. That's not only frustrating for the answerer, it leaves many questions with an unanswered status after they've been resolved, which isn't good for the site.

It doesn't always work very well to wait until they've posted a "thank you" comment to educate them on how to acknowledge answers, because many (probably most) first-time posters don't become regular visitors. They'll post the comment, then not come back to the site for a long time, since they have no reason to come after their problem has been solved. If you wait for the "thank you" comment before informing them, they might never see your explanation. Or they might try a proposed answer, see that it works, and not even come back to leave a comment. This isn't necessarily out of rudeness. It's often more a case of "out of sight, out of mind" for people leading busy lives.

I've often informed new users of how to accept or upvote answers, but I propose following these guidelines when doing so:

  • Always use comments. It's no more appropriate for inclusion in an answer than any other explanations of how to use the site.
  • Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, you can keep the comment brief and provide a link to the help section that explains what to do when your question is answered (http://meta.stackoverflow.com/help/someone-answers). This has the added benefit that once they've been directed to the help pages, they might read other sections.
  • Check their profile to see whether they have never accepted an answer before. If they've accepted answers in the past, then they obviously know the drill, and "informing" them of what they already know is unnecessary and smacks of lobbying.
  • Never lobby for your own answer. That's pushy and gauche, especially if there are other answers. Even if there are no other answers, the asker shouldn't be prodded to accept an answer if they haven't indicated that the answer provided a solution. Explain to the user how to accept an answer, and be careful to avoid even the appearance of advocating for your own answer.
  • Make it clear that you're not specifically asking them to accept your answer and that you're not pushing them to accept an answer unless the issue was resolved by posting the comment under the original question rather than under your answer, and using comments like "if your issue has been resolved, please mark the answer that best resolved it as accepted".
  • If the user has specifically indicated that a particular answer resolved the issue, then it's okay to post the comment under that answer and imply that they should accept the answer. It's still in better form to start with the word "if" rather than just telling them they should accept the answer.
  • If you post these kinds of comments when you've answered a question, consider doing this for answers other than your own if you see a user who has never accepted or upvoted an answer before acknowledge a solution by means of a comment. Remember, it's not about you, it's about teaching newcomers how things work at this site.

Coincidentally, just last night I was thinking about suggesting a feature that pops up a message explaining the proper way to acknowledge answers any time a user who has never accepted or upvoted an answer posts a comment containing the words "thank you" or "thanks" in response to an answer to their own question. That would eliminate the need for the last two bullet points.

share|improve this answer
    
Your suggestion would instruct or remind them in a non-threatening way. I like that. If it could be done, it should also teach/remind them about upvotes once the hit the threshold. My impression is since they can't vote until 15 rep, it doesn't even reappear on their radars after they get enough points to vote. –  HansUp Aug 21 '13 at 1:22
1  
@HansUp Yes - which is why I think the tip should be display if either condition is true, rather than only if both are true. –  Adi Inbar Aug 21 '13 at 1:41
    
Cool! I look forward to your feature request. –  HansUp Aug 21 '13 at 1:46

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .