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Is there ever a case where you would want to accept an answer, but not upvote it?

I can't think of a single situation where this would be the case.. So would it not make sense to have the "Accept" button upvote the question too?

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There are many new users on SO who accept questions but don't up-vote. It almost seems like this should be automatic... if the answer is the accepted answer, it must have also been helpful, no? I don't want to slap the wrist or explain to every new user who accepts my answer when the answer has 0 up-votes (and sometimes all answers have 0 up-votes). –  Aaron Bertrand Aug 4 '11 at 15:24
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I suppose some users think that accepting is enough and they don't need to be too generous, but I would guess that most just don't know the difference. If the up-vote is automatic then the ones who think accepting is enough could easily undo their up-vote (the up-vote shouldn't be done without telling them). –  Aaron Bertrand Aug 4 '11 at 15:25
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To upvote, you both need to meet a rep requirement and be registered. This is not a problem on SO, but on the other sites, not everyone wants to go through the hassle of signing up just to give an up-vote. –  Tim N Jun 5 '12 at 8:47
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I've had people comment that it solved their problem but they neither accepted nor upvoted. sob sob.. :'( –  Robin Maben Aug 6 '12 at 18:04
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Some OPs even copy the correct answer from an answerer. Then OP posts it as an answer by him/herself. But never upvotes or accept the correct answer in the first place though ;) had multiple of those.. –  bonCodigo Dec 21 '12 at 8:12

13 Answers 13

up vote 46 down vote accepted

Since it is simple enough to cast an upvote and accept the answer, I don't a see a reason to constrain the user in this manner. I agree, I've never had a situation where I wasn't upvoting along with accepting. But, everyone has a different reason/rationale for upvoting, so I don't think the system should force that upvote.

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For the people that don't know the difference, or couldn't be bothered to click twice, I think an automatic up-vote makes sense. For the people that know they don't want to both accept and up-vote, it is also simple enough to click the up-vote button again. Overall I think this experience is better than expecting every user to know the difference. –  Aaron Bertrand Aug 4 '11 at 15:23
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As someone who's relatively new to SO, it honestly didn't occur to me that I should upvote an answer that I've accepted. I assumed that accepting an answer that's useful to me was the proper way to express my sentiment of thanks. I'll do it from now on, but I can definitely see the rationale for having this be the default behavior. –  Tneuktippa Aug 16 '11 at 19:12
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I personally select and upvote only when the answer completely resolves the issue. For partial resolution I select as correct. For merely putting me on the right track I only upvote. –  fredsbend Feb 18 '13 at 20:35
    
@fredsbend I hope that when you receive such an answer and upvote it, that you also come back, write up a complete answer of your own (that you came up with after being put on the right track), and accept it, too. –  Joshua Taylor Sep 12 '13 at 16:29
    
@JoshuaTaylor I'm much more liberal now with voting. Pretty much everyone gets an upvote unless it looked like there was no effort or spreading of knowledge, or, of course, if it was completely wrong. I currently only have one question without an accepted answer (because it is unanswered). I actually prefer to comment on the post that helped and let them know, then they can edit. Like I did here. Optionally, I could edit the post myself and add those last few steps that I stumbled on. –  fredsbend Sep 12 '13 at 18:47

I must have more than 40 answers (July 2009), make that 150 answers, (December 2010), actually 260 answers (June 2012), rather 408 answers (July 2013) on non-wiki questions, accepted but not upvoted.

Real-time accepted, non upvoted answer (compared it with yours).

Those questions are often posted by "occasional" users with very few reputation points.
Most of them never accept an answer.
Some finally get the tick thingy, but completely misses the upvote ("I have accepted the answer, now, why would I be supposed to do something else?")

As I said in the meta question "What’s the single biggest barrier to entry on SO?", they simply do not know (and do not care).

Even the new (January 2013) about page helps only moderately (but it is certainly an improvement).

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Which is why the default should be an automatic upvote for accepts. Any user conscious about it could very easily cancel the up. –  ohadsc Oct 19 '10 at 13:47
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@ohadsc: see blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/10/vote-early-vote-often: you need to encourage them to vote, not vote for them ;) –  VonC Oct 19 '10 at 20:47
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@VonC Couldn't this be a step towards that encouragement? have a popup that says "an upvote has been cast in your name. to learn more about upvotes click here" –  ohadsc Oct 22 '10 at 10:16
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@ohadsc: any automatic action made "in the user's name" is likely to be perceived at first as an unwelcome surprise. A message reminding them that an upvote is also possible (if they have 15 rep) is good. But forcing an upvote seems wrong. –  VonC Oct 23 '10 at 11:48
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I'd go with the reminder message as well. But the current situation is absurd - half of my accepted answers have 0 upvotes, and I'm sure it's not because the users consciously avoided upvoting –  ohadsc Oct 24 '10 at 9:26
    
@ohadsc: most of mines (140 accepted answers with 0 votes!) comes from users who hadn't 15 rep at the time and couldn't vote anyway;) –  VonC Oct 24 '10 at 12:04
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That's a good point. Perhaps a mechanism could be installed to allow users with < 15 rep to upvote answers only for their own questions –  ohadsc Oct 24 '10 at 13:34
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I have upvoted the question to get them past the 15 rep so they could upvote me. Is that wrong? idk. I can't help it. I think I'm addicted to rep. –  fredsbend Feb 18 '13 at 20:38
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I just started on StackExchange a week ago and encountered the problem of finding useful questions and answers (whether to my own questions or others') that I wanted to upvote but couldn't. As a solution, I temporarily favorited all of those questions. Then today, when I finally got to 15 rep, I opened all of those favorited links and upvoted the questions and answers I couldn't before. –  Cerran Jan 23 at 14:32

Accepting w/out upvoting makes sense in one situation IMHO.

If you end up using an answer that you don't like, but works.

The check should not also upvote.

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Don't presume for the user. You'd think the world would have learned after daytime running lights. –  John Pirie Jun 29 '09 at 15:58
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Could have run out of votes for the day... –  Tom Hawtin - tackline Jun 29 '09 at 16:09
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Absolutely!!! If the user is annoying and/or abusive. Arrogant or otherwise acting in a way which you do not support. But the content is accurate. I want to mark it as corrrect, so that others who view my question will be able to find the correct answer, but I don't want to upvote this person behaviour. –  devinb Jun 29 '09 at 18:36
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So there might be an aditional tooltip stating "if this answer is correct and you like it, consider upvoting it as well" after the answer was accepted. –  tobsen Feb 26 '10 at 21:31
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If the up-vote is automatic based on acceptance, then for those rare situations where you want to show the correct answer but not reward the user for other reasons, you could always un-do the up-vote manually (in other words, the up-vote would happen, the user would be told the up-vote happened, but it is not set in stone - though I'm not sure if SO would need to keep track of the auto-up-vote for the situation where the user later decided to un-accept that answer and accept a different answer - that's about the only technical limitation I foresee). –  Aaron Bertrand Aug 4 '11 at 15:18
    
@AaronBertrand I don't think the situation is as rare as you might think. –  fredsbend Feb 18 '13 at 20:40
    
@fredsbend ok, I don't we could state it either way with much authority. –  Aaron Bertrand Feb 19 '13 at 1:16
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I don't see why the default isn't to upvote upon accept. Users can always remove the upvote, or even downvote(!), if they feel the upvote is not appropriate. –  Peter Alfvin Jul 25 '13 at 3:13

There's one corner case which hasn't been mentioned yet: you accept an answer, but you don't have any votes left for the day :)

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Well then you could just uv it the next day, but people can be forgetful. –  Ólafur Waage Jun 29 '09 at 16:17
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Yes, I guess I was more talking about why someone wouldn't "upvote and accept" at the same time. –  Jon Skeet Jun 29 '09 at 16:39
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There's another edge case, too. What if you can't upvote because you don't have enough reputation? –  Steve P. Aug 2 '13 at 20:20
    
Perhaps the daily vote limit shouldn't apply when you would like to upvote an answer that you have accepted. –  DavidRR Nov 30 '13 at 3:35

Following on from what VonC said. I see a lot of occasional users who might accept an answer, but don't have the 15 rep required for an upvote. Is this a special case where SO could apply the upvote when the answer is accepted?

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It somehow feels wrong to me to not upvote an accepted answer. For my part, once I gained the privilege, I went back and upvoted the accepted answers, but many people either won't bother or may never even come back to the site again. The upvote shouldn't apply automatically, but I think users should start out with the privilege to upvote the accepted answer to their own questions. –  toxalot Dec 1 '12 at 8:06
    
@toxalot Perhaps, in the least users should be allowed to up and down vote on answers to their own questions regardless of rep. It is their question and if they think one answer is bunk and another is good but the community disagrees then the questioner's opinion should take precedence. –  fredsbend Feb 18 '13 at 20:43

There are badges available specifically for people who get a lot of their answers accepted with zero up-votes (Tenacious and Unsung Hero).

If the system were to change as suggested, to automatically give an up-vote to an answer you accept then those badges would have to change as well.

(this might not be a bad thing, as the current position does make winning those badges somewhat hit-and-miss, depending on the intelligence of the people you've tried to help)

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Yeah, getting that badge is kind of a sore reminder. –  fredsbend Feb 18 '13 at 20:44

Maybe some people think that +15 that you already get for an accepted answer is enough and they want to save their upvotes for other questions/answers? It's also possible that they're already out of votes for the day.

I personally don't think it makes any sense to accept an answer without upvoting it (upvote means "this was helpful", if it works and you're accepting it, it must have been helpful), but it's so easy to just click the other button I don't see any reason they should be combined into one atomic action.

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I sometimes get two answers that are really close to each other in quality, and would like to accept both (but can't) — so what I'll do is:

  • accept what I feel is the better answer, but not upvote it
  • give the runner-up answer my upvote

I consider this to be a little more "fair" to the 2nd-place answerer, who gets 10 points from me. The accepted answerer is getting 15 points + the prestige of having the accepted answer.

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If they're both good answers, upvote both. –  devinb Jun 29 '09 at 18:38
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that's not the point, the point is that I can't accept both. If I could accept both or couldn't accept either, I'd upvote both. –  Jason S Aug 26 '09 at 17:11
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So in that scenario you would upvote and accept both, even though you thought one was clearly a better answer? I agree with devinb –  Josh Jul 7 '12 at 15:24

Accepting an answer without upvoting it rarely makes sense (and never in the case of my own answers, of course). 8-)} But I agree with others that it shouldn't be forced or automated; having the system cast an upvote on your behalf seems wrong.

So how about this:

If you accept an answer and you're able to upvote it, clicking the checkmark could produce a pop-up prompt that asks whether you want to upvote it as well. Add some brief wording indicating that it's not mandatory, but probably a good idea.

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Keep it separate. As Bill the Lizard pointed out, a lot of times users might think that "+15 is already enough". This is particularly true for the type of questions asked by new users (the ones most likely to not upvote when accepting an answer)... pointing out for the millionth time that someone's not using the correct operators shouldn't entitle me to 25 points... in fact, the easiest questions are already the ones generating the most upvotes as everyone feels qualified to agree.

I feel that one of the structural weaknesses of SO is that the way that rep is awarded rewards users who cherry-pick easy questions and rely on the laziness of voters who will only bother voting for answers that they can validate in 10 seconds or less... automatically awarding an additional +10 seems an unnecessary reward (at least this is my experience in the php/js/css tags where there are lots of inexperienced users)... there are a lot of technically correct but uninspiring answers, and providing even higher rewards for answering large numbers of simple questions provides exactly the opposite incentive that we should be aiming for... correct answers are rewarded well enough and can always be upvoted if the OP wants.

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Sometimes you get a number of answers, none of which quite hit the mark, but there is one that gets you 80% of the way to a solution. That's one reason for perhaps not awarding an upvote AND the correct answer.

The other reason is, as Jon points out, where you've run out of votes for the day.

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It never makes sense to accept without an upvote, but the functionality should remain separate. It is a good way to judge people who actually 'get it' and deserve your attention.

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@jjnguy: Either the answer is helpful and correct or not. The only time your condition should be true is if the person is not using the system properly. –  GEOCHET Jun 29 '09 at 15:53
    
@jjnguy: Which is what my answer says. What are you arguing? –  GEOCHET Jun 29 '09 at 15:59
    
hehe, all i read was your first half sentence...my bad... –  jjnguy Jun 29 '09 at 15:59
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As mentioned by jjnguy's answer, there may be behaviour you DON'T want to endorse, but content that you do. So I'd mark the answer as correct, but they don't deserve an upvote. –  devinb Jun 29 '09 at 18:38
    
Also, I'm downvoting you for an incorrect answer (-1) –  devinb Jun 29 '09 at 18:40
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@devinb: And as I discussed with jjnguy, if it answered your question and you accepted it, it is by definition helpful. Therefore it should be upvoted. –  GEOCHET Jun 29 '09 at 18:56
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If I ask "How do I XYZ given that ABC" and someone says "you just GHI F_ckstar", well, they might be correct, but they aren't getting an upvote from me. –  devinb Jun 29 '09 at 19:07
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@devinb: Sounds like it was helpful to me. Whether it was the answer to accept or not is up for debate, but not an upvote. –  GEOCHET Jun 29 '09 at 19:34
    
@devinb: The system seems to be structured so that, ideally, someone with enough rep will come along and remove the needless insult. –  Hilarious Comedy Pesto Jun 29 '09 at 19:41
    
@pesto: Absolutely. Once that happens, the answer will get an upvote from me. Until then, it is simply "Correct" and not "encouraged" –  devinb Jun 29 '09 at 20:22
    
@devinb, The point is with the auto-upvote, a user with your knowledge will correctly undo the upvote, where as without auto-upvote, some user will never know (or got the chance to correct) they can upvote the answer that he/she just marked as answer... –  Bolu Sep 12 '13 at 15:01

When you've already upvoted an answer, but you come back later and realise that you also should have accepted it? (I've done this.)

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Heheh, true.. but that would still be both accepting the answer and voting it up –  dbr Jul 1 '09 at 2:19
    
Except that if you aren't careful, you could allow people to 'upvote' a particular answer twice, which I'm pretty sure is against some form of local rule. –  Margaret Jul 1 '09 at 4:38
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@Margaret, the system should know that you've already up-voted, regardless of whether the up-vote was automatic. Or else something is really wrong with the schema. –  Aaron Bertrand Aug 4 '11 at 15:20

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