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Will there be any negative consequences?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com May 8 '10 at 19:34

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

3  
Belongs on meta.stackoverflow.com –  Pëkka May 8 '10 at 19:32
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You won't get answers anymore in the long run. (People don't like to answer if their effort is not "acknowledged"). –  Felix May 8 '10 at 19:33
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The real question here is why someone would regularly choose to not accept any answers. –  Pops May 8 '10 at 19:45

3 Answers 3

  1. Your questions will show a low accept rate.

  2. Some people will notice the somewhat low accept rate and start leaving snarky comments.

  3. Some people will notice the very low accept rate and feel disinclined to answer your questions (especially if they're not very well-written).

  4. Some people will notice the extremely low accept rate, look through your profile, and see that you have a history of asking poor questions and not communicating with answerers/clarifying your question in order to help them resolve your issues "iteratively."

Note: The above does not apply on Meta.

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1  
I think 2, 3, and 4 should all say some people. I really think it's a vocal minority that pays any attention to accept rate. –  Bill the Lizard May 8 '10 at 22:14
    
@Bill: Yes, I assumed that people implied some people. I'm not sure if it's a minority but it's certainly not everyone, nor is it black and white; I, for example, don't tend to care about a 30% accept rate but do tend to take notice when it's 0%, especially if the question looks poorly-written. –  Aarobot May 8 '10 at 22:28
    
It's worse on meta –  jmfsg May 8 '10 at 23:32
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I tend to take notice when someone has 5,000 rep, very poorly phrases a question and has an acceptance rate <40%. Usually when I click through to their profile I'm astonished at how someone could actually write 800 questions in about 6 months and only give 6 answers. (based on a true story) –  Earlz May 8 '10 at 23:48
    
@Downvoter, I think that complaints about low accept rates are just about the only thing I haven't seen on meta... –  Aarobot May 9 '10 at 13:34

Ultimately, while the other posters are correct about the consequences of what will happen from the concerned or more attentive users, the fact is that you will likely still get answers to your questions.

On StackOverflow, the people are offering their own free time to help you. The only thing that they are asking in return is the opportunity to get the respect of their peers, and the opportunity to be marked as correct. Only one of those things is in your control, so the most generous and respectful thing to do would be to return the favour they have given you (their time) and return the only thing you have (the power to mark as 'accepted). That is just basic common decency, these people are doing something nice to you so you should recognize that.

But if you are intent on not recognizing their contributions, there are also negative consequences for you, although they are not direct. StackOverflow will not punish you for not accepting answers. However, the quality of the answers you get will go down. It publicizes your accept rate directly below your reputation, so everyone who reads the question will see the very low number there. (I think it highlights in red). This will cause some of the regulars to simply not answer your questions at all.

But there are lots of people who ignore the accept rate, so you'll probably get answers that are just as good. Hopefully.

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People will notice and tend not to answer your questions.

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