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It seems that on SO there are people who monitor your acceptance rate when you dare to ask questions. I asked a couple of questions recently and I was told, in no uncertain terms that I have to improve my acceptance rate in order to get better answers.

My acceptance rate is 51%, is that still too low? If it is, then I can't expect any quality answers out of this question, because my meta acceptance rate is only slightly better here on Meta, at 53%.

Edit: Just to make things clear, I do contribute to the SO extensively (418 answers and counting), and when I ask question, I make sure that my question is of high quality one ( as can be proven from the number of upvotes I got per question). The answerers might not get accepted answers from me but they can get a lot of upvotes, which is a form of appropriate reward.

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related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/21590/… –  fretje Jan 8 '10 at 16:16
Meta Accept rate and Stack Overflow accept rate are apples and oranges. You can't compare the two. On Stack Overflow, I'd probably just avoid your questions, given your profile history and question history, and accept rate. –  George Stocker Jan 8 '10 at 16:16
Also related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/34922/… –  Ether Jan 8 '10 at 19:25
Don't be cruel to a heart that's true... –  Adam Davis Jan 8 '10 at 19:44
Maybe you dont have good questions and should delete them or answer your own question to increase your rate then you won't have to worry about it –  staticx Jan 8 '10 at 20:07
How do you know they aren't pity upvotes on your questions? –  random Jan 9 '10 at 13:29
If they were I won't be getting positive upvotes count for my question; pity votes are only for the questions that have been downvoted. –  Graviton Jan 9 '10 at 14:47

8 Answers 8

You can not compare the acceptance rate of Stack Overflow with the acceptance rate of Meta.

That said, it depends also on how many questions you asked. In your case, you asked 383 questions. So 51% acceptance rate means around 190 questions which have no accepted answer.

My first impression is that this is a high number of unaccepted answers, yes. Heck, it's even a high number of questions without even looking at how many have accepted answers.

Obviously, to be certain, one would have to check if there are a lot of maybe subjective/cw questions. Maybe questions without answers?

But we all know people go with their "first impressions", no?

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IIRC, CW questions don't count towards acceptance rate? –  Margaret Jan 8 '10 at 20:05

You've asked a number of subjective, almost "community-wiki" style questions. In one case you've got 24 answers with the top answer earning 81 up votes. It wouldn't hurt to reward that answer and increase your accept stats.

I think you could accept some answers without it being a pure excercise in raising your accept stats. My current view of your SO account is that you ask some good questions, often get a lot of good answers, but that you don't often reward people with the accept.

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How about flipping the CW bit on those questions as appropriate? (Then they don't count towards AR either.) –  Gnome Jan 9 '10 at 7:22

51% is a perfectly acceptable accept rate. But mine is 85%. Perhaps the quality of the questions you are asking is a bit low. Ask questions that can be answered with a single, correct answer, and it becomes easier to accept the correct answer.

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My accept rate is not great. But I asked some questions that just aren't answered satisfactorily, because they are that domain-specific and that domain doesn't have any experts in SO.


Unless you are unknown(OpenID Site), < 200 rep, I don't look at stats when answering questions.

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My acceptance rate is 51%, is it still too low?

Yes. If you feel that none of the answers solve your problem, then you should go back and answer it yourself with what you did to move past the problem, and then accept your own answer.

If someone came close to a solution, then accept their answer and edit it or comment on it with why it wasn't perfect, but how it helped resolve your issue.

If you are asking subjective questions (ie, you are looking for an "ideal" or "best" solution) that bring a lot of work arounds, but no answer is 'elegant enough' for you, then yes - people are justified in looking at your future questions and moving past them because they can see they have a low chance of meeting your needs.

But they are your questions, and your reasons for selecting or not selecting an answer are your own.

People will badger you to increase your accept rate because it's obvious that very few answers meet your standards, and your questions will be passed by more than those with a higher accept rate.

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I agree with this. On one of the questions I asked on SO I accepted the answer even though it wasn't 100% correct because it led me to the solution which I also posted as an answer. –  ChrisF Jan 8 '10 at 19:35

Personally, I view accept rate as a measure of how much attention the questioner is likely to pay to my answer. I'm in this for the pleasure of helping others, the pleasure of the sound of my own typing, rep and badges, and assorted other reasons, but let's look at my first reason.

If somebody frequently asks questions and rarely accepts answers, that suggests that either the questioner throws questions out to die and doesn't look at them again, or doesn't find them helpful. In either case, I don't get the feeling that I'm likely to be helpful, so I'm less likely to answer (and definitely less likely to do any work at all to give a good answer).

For me, an accept rate of 50% suggests somebody who does pay attention to answers, and is likely to be helped, who is skittish about accepting answers for whatever reason. That means I'm likely to answer a question if I think I can be helpful.

Other users will vary, of course.

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51% on 383 Questions is much too low in my opinion - it means that ~190 of your Questions do not have an accepted answer.

It's more about absolute Numbers here. If you have 10 or 20 questions, then <50% is still okay as it sometimes takes time to really test the answers or because there are simply no good answers. But more than 20 Questions without answers? That really seems a bit much.

I would recommend doing a search for "hasaccepted:0 wiki:0 closed:0 user:3834" and checking if there are questions that have a good answer (no, not randomly picking one just to bump the AR)

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Just to cherry pick an example. I looked at your most viewed question where you asked about uploading files, and it received some great answers. You even commented on one of them "Thanks! Seem to be exactly what I wanted". Then didn't accept it. Rather than worry about what % is correct, I'd suggest reviewing those asked questions and evaluating whether any answer is correct. Clearly, you didn't fulfill your responsibility with that question. Perhaps, there are more like that.

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As for that question, I actually accepted it, only to unaccept it when it was found wrong. –  Graviton Jan 14 '10 at 1:31

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