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Isn’t the “accepted answer” feature overly visible?
Will the “Accept rate” score encourage unwanted behavior?

A reason this feature is bad is because it encourages people to be rude to those with bad rates. For instance, i've seen a couple questions where people are saying something along the lines of "Geez man. Accept some answers!" (perhaps not quite as nice, i can't remember the specific words) to someone with a "low accept rate", and it doesn't seem to contribute. If we want to be nice to the "noobs", then this feature doesnt help. The whole thing smacks of letting users not post answers to "high-risk" questioners because they "won't get their rep".

If the goal is to alert people to low-accept-rate users, than add some "low accept rate" text under really low accept rate users (25% or less or something) or maybe a moderator notification, but please don't punish people that may not realize why they are getting rude comments and less replies (whether it's simply because they don't speak good english or they are new).

And then there's the other side: The other day i went back through all my questions and accepted answers solely to boost my accept rate (it was 70 or 80-something percent). I didn't really get the "green text" which supposedly should have indicated to me my accept rate was good. Some of my questions simply didn't have good answers, but i accepted them anyway to bump it up.

What's next, accepted answer rate so we can penalize bad answerers? </sarcasm>

I do realize you don't want people who ask questions and don't accept answers, so is it possible to replace this "feature" with something that does not encourage (as much) negative behavior?

Edit: at a minimum, can something be added to the FAQ to indicate what good acceptance rate is for answers, since people clearly don't understand the what the rates mean?

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marked as duplicate by random, Shog9, jmfsg, Troggy, Ladybug Killer Dec 16 '09 at 8:07

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.

    
Other bad ideas: add an average votes field to the userbox so that people know whether to upvote/downvote users. –  RCIX Dec 16 '09 at 1:19
    
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So you just accepted a bunch of answers to increase your rate despite there not being any good answers? That's as wrong/discouraged. –  random Dec 16 '09 at 1:25
    
Thus the problem with the feature! –  RCIX Dec 16 '09 at 1:32
    
And why am i getting shamed(? i think that works) for doing something i didn't even realize was bad? –  RCIX Dec 16 '09 at 1:53
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@RCIX: you should really read the responses to the questions I linked to earlier. 70-80% isn't bad - the feature was implemented because some users were hovering around 0%, spamming the site with questions without bothering to respond (at all!) to those who'd taken the time to answer their previous questions. You're obsessing over a number that, frankly, only matters when it's low (and doesn't always matter then - i generally take look at a user's past questions though when it drops below 40%) –  Shog9 Dec 16 '09 at 2:16
    
My point was that at the time i didn't know that. All of a sudden the number just popped up, and i was trying to fix it when i thought it was bad. –  RCIX Dec 16 '09 at 4:13

3 Answers 3

Don't worry about it. If the comments bother you, then flag them. If you're accepting answers you don't like just to get your rate up, then you're being dishonest, foolish and irresponsible.

What's next, accepted answer rate so we can penalize bad answerers?

I already penalize them. What's your hang-up?

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You're just proving my point. I just saw this acceptance rate listed one day and after a while saw it what looked like low to me, so i said "i gotta accept some answers!". how is that not encouraging bad behavior? –  RCIX Dec 16 '09 at 1:33
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And by that line, i mean people that provide bad answers in general but the specific answer may be good. –  RCIX Dec 16 '09 at 1:33
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Whether you're accepting bad answers or down-voting good ones, the problem lies with you. –  Shog9 Dec 16 '09 at 1:35
    
The problem lies with me for trying to boost what i thought was a mediocre score and not realizing that that was a bad way to do it? And who said anything about downvoting good answers? i don't do that! –  RCIX Dec 16 '09 at 1:40
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You knew better than to accept the answers before there was a score... right? Why does a score change that? My point is, you should judge each answer on its actual merit - both for accepting and voting. –  Shog9 Dec 16 '09 at 2:02
    
Because the accept rate skewed my judgement (i thought i should get that as high as i could, regardless of whether that's correct). This is my whole point! that accept rate skews people into accepting more answers, even if they shouldnt. –  RCIX Dec 16 '09 at 3:55
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meta.stackexchange.com/questions/16712/… Ultimately, it's your choice what you accept. If an answer meets your needs and you mark it, then so be it. If the rate number encourages you to do this, that's fine too... But if you're more concerned about a little number under your name than you are about getting good answers, I don't know what to say; it's gonna be a problem no matter how you skew that number. –  Shog9 Dec 16 '09 at 4:03
    
I'm not more concerned about the number though, but it did skew my judgement (the two are not mutually exclusive)... Oorang had a good idea! –  RCIX Dec 16 '09 at 4:09
    
@RCIX: I hear what you are saying, but if your accept rate is that low then this is what I think (respectfully): (1) Your questions are too niche for SO, (2) Your questions are not well written and need to be edited, (3) Maybe your question is too detailed and needs to be cleaned up... Definately don't accept answers just because you are concerned about your accept rate –  staticx Dec 16 '09 at 4:11
    
So that's why i'm saying a "low accept rate" text would help as it wouldn't alarm those who might mistakenly think that they have a "low" accept rate. –  RCIX Dec 16 '09 at 4:25
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Maybe. I donno... It might just raise more questions. A % is reasonably easy to figure out - once you know the exceptions (unanswered questions, CW questions) you can figure it out yourself. A "low rate" flag would need to be explained... –  Shog9 Dec 16 '09 at 4:39
    
Not any more than the number, from the evidence of all the people accepting when they shouldnt... –  RCIX Dec 16 '09 at 8:39
    
@RCIX: Are you concerned about the "low accept rate" being seen by the user or potential answerer? The user page already recommends you put in a bounty for unanswered questions. Your accept rate isn't low unless you accepted questions that shouldn't of been accepted. The community will upvote questions they deem worthy.. accepting is just way of telling someone else this solution worked for you. If you fraudently mark a question as accepted, someone may come along a few years later wondering why the solution you accepted does not work for them and waste them more time –  staticx Dec 16 '09 at 14:04

I don't think it should go away, but it could be tweaked. I think the main behavior we want to encourage is good answers. And while accepting answers is a step in this direction there could be improvement.

To my way of thinking the important behavior is not accepting answers and much as it is acknowledging answers (and providing feedback). To fully embraced this concept a user would need to be able to not just accept and answer, but to decline one as well. If a user decline an answer, selecting a predetermine category and giving an explanation, this is an acknowledgment.

In this way you encourage feedback from the questioner (thereby allowing the answerer a chance to improve their answer) and you can also put the statistic of "Accepted Answers" in context. If you have a 60% accept rate, but a 100% acknowledge rate, that says something different than a 60% accept rate alone. (You could even broaden this a little to embrace "partial credit".)

Of course all of this adds complexity, and half of the charm of SO is it's simplicity, so I leave it to you gentle reader to decide if you'd like to have your cake, or to eat it:)

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Ok, this is a good idea, you should post it as a feature request! –  RCIX Dec 16 '09 at 4:03
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Ah... but I'm not the one who cares;) –  Oorang Dec 16 '09 at 4:43

Accepting answers is the "good behavior." Calling users out because they habitually fail to do so is not "bad behavior." However, being abusive or overtly rude about it is. Those instances can be flagged for moderator attention.

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Then why not just some "low accept rate" text for low accept rate users? –  RCIX Dec 16 '09 at 1:22
    
For the same reasons users should not be able to hide their accept rate (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/20701/…). –  Robert Cartaino Dec 16 '09 at 1:27
    
That question doesnt seem to apply. My suggestion would make it just as easy to see/show people that need help with the feature without others getting yelled at for boosting what they thought was a mediocre or worse acceptance rate. –  RCIX Dec 16 '09 at 1:43
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I think keeping the accept rate is like judging sellers on eBay.. if they have a low percentage then I may not by from them - caveat emptor.. same thing goes for SO. –  staticx Dec 16 '09 at 4:12

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