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Sometimes the question is tricky and the person answering it assumed certain reasonable conditions. The answer may still be useful for other people having the problem but is recognised as not the answer.

For example consider this question - the answer may still be useful for people searching but it does not solve particular problem (which is about Windows 7 64 bit - the solution may work on 32 bit or on Vista).

Why this feature - question with answer of which none is marked as accepted have note promoting accepting answers. Also the % of accepted answers is shown for each user. However such marking would say "in general this is good answer but I've tested it and it does not work for me" as oppose to "I'm lazy and don't read answers or accepting them".

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4 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Given that up-voting means "this answer is useful" and accepting means "this answer worked for me" then an up-voted but unaccepted answer says "this answer is useful but hasn't solved the problem" as a) it's up-voted and b) not accepted.

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Yes. But it still have the penalty in penalty rate. At some point I had as low as 67% of answered questions on superuser because the 2 out of 5 answers were useful but not working for me (thus giving impression I'm lazy 33% of time). –  Maciej Piechotka Jan 1 '11 at 17:36
@Maciej - an accept rate of 67% is not low. You are putting too much emphasis on the figure. See my question on what the various colours might mean which contains links to blog posts about the accept rate. –  ChrisF Jan 1 '11 at 17:37
I'm geek - I enjoy getting scoring, points and rankings ;) –  Maciej Piechotka Jan 1 '11 at 17:39
@ChrisF... Have a look at my four question at SharePoint overflow. I have started to post answer to my unaswered question along the lines of "For now I have declared this as not possible" because no one seem to know the real answer (which should be objective and documented, not "I don't have seen it so it doesn't exist")... why I am doing this? because before I would just upvote the usefull bits of info, but then the % dropped to 25%. –  SPArchaeologist Dec 7 '12 at 10:44
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True, but it's probably featuritis. Also I would not want answers to be marked as "not the answer". Rather the question should be ticked as "not sufficiently answered yet".

(If this were ever to be implemented: this should be possible first if an answer is there, maybe after two days, and the mark should disappear automatically after a month, requiring manual retagging as "not answered yet" - all to prevent newbie abuse.)

Yet, there are already workarounds. You can simply manually add a small note to your question:

Thanks for your answers so far, but it's not completely solved yet. My additional constraints or problems are: X, Y and Z.

And obviously, you can always add a bounty. Otherwise the question is not important enough to you. (But true, this doesn't really help mitigate the 67% accepted statistic whenever answers are not sufficient.)

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I'd say that the flag should be reset by new answers rather then per answer i.e. if I mark answer as "not answered" if any answer is added (changed?) the flag is unset. –  Maciej Piechotka Jan 1 '11 at 20:14
@MaciejPiechotka: Yes, obviously. But any new answer or comment should reset it (as in both cases you get a notification and maybe a significant addition). –  mario Jan 1 '11 at 20:18
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  • I think its superflous and will require a bit of extra book keeping on the OP's part to mark as "not answer", given that up-voting conveys the same as ChrisF mentions.

  • However I like the idea of somehow being able to differentiate between absolute lazy ppl who don't participate in their own questions (0 activity apart from asking the question) vs. ppl who did show some activity, like upvoting an answer, or commenting on an answer.

  • A tangetially related note to moderators who might be reading this: I think most newbies don't realize the importance of accepting an answer (creating a better knowledge-base, acknowledging and rewarding someone who solved your problem, giving a signal to others not to dig further into the problem, etc), and they feel that they have done their duty by up-voting the answer (I was that way to begin with, till a moderator or someone experienced asked me to start accepting answers). I think this is the main reason behind ppl not accepting answers rather than laziness (I can't imagine people being lazy enough to participate / follow-up on their own questions - but maybe my imagination is not too strong ;)

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"I can't imagine people being lazy enough to participate" - sometimes I am guilty and I forgot to accept answer (I browse the list from time to time to catch the mistakes). –  Maciej Piechotka Jan 1 '11 at 18:13
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This is what comments and upvotes are for. Don't worry so much about accept rate. It's been said before that a 100% accept rate is not what you want, it means you might be accepting answers that didn't answer your question. Having unanswered questions isn't a bad thing, what's bad is not marking the answer you used as the accepting answer.

Besides, how would it work with the accept rate? Would marking the answer as "Not the answer" count as accepting an answer?

Isn't every answer which is not marked as accepted, by definition, "not the answer"?

I really don't think we need this...

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As of rate - "number of accepted answers/(number of questions post - number of question 'unanswered')". I belive that young question are also not taken into account. –  Maciej Piechotka Jan 1 '11 at 20:16
I think you're right @Maciej, young questions are not taken into account –  The Unhandled Exception Jan 1 '11 at 21:18
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