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I often see new users posting questions and getting answers. But instead of getting an upvote or accept for the answer, they just add a comment that the answer helped them.

I understand that you need 15 points minimum for upvote.

I often see people then commenting "when you are happy, please accept / upvote".

My impression is that the new users don't really know about the upvote/accept business.

So my idea is if the system could send them some automatic and more explicit message when they have earned > 15 (or another threshold) points in the sense of "Now you have x points, and posed some questions. Please review the questions and vote / accept answers given"

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possible hilariously duplicated of meta.stackexchange.com/questions/50452/wake-up-feature-request (please don't downvote it more, I was young at that time) –  systempuntoout Feb 17 '11 at 8:26
    
This may now sound strange, as I am asking about accepting -- as this is sort of feature request, I could only really accept an "implemented" message ? –  Heiko Rupp Feb 17 '11 at 21:56
    
As a new user I would like to say that I actually appreciate the answer I get, but there is no way to up-vote as we don't have enough reputation. Stackexchange might have to consider giving rights to the new users to up-vote for the answers or provide enough rep to up-vote like quora.. –  anbuj Apr 25 at 10:22
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10 Answers

up vote 26 down vote accepted

The system does alert when the user gains the privilege to vote up, along with a link to a help page explaining how up voting works. And when up voting an answer to their own question, a reminder to accept is shown as well.

The problem is that most unaccepted questions stem from drive-by askers — users that are having trouble, find Stack Overflow, get the solution and then leave without really getting to know how the system works. Sometimes they'll come back after a while - I've had answers accepted six months to a year after I posted an answer.

If an active user forgets to accept your answer and they hinted that yours might be correct - post a comment along the lines of

@user: do you need any more help with this question?

This achieves two things; it reminds the user to accept if he just plain forgot and it's further offering your help if the solution wasn't quite right. I do this regularly and often the answer gets accepted (although not always). Kind of reminds me of my training when I was a B2B sales assistant — we had to pro-actively follow-up on potential leads.

For the drive-by asker, there's not much you can do except hope that they return to the site at some point to ask further questions. When they get to 5 and haven't accepted any, other users will pull them up on that 0% accept rate and they might just revisit old questions and accept your answer.

Another potential solution to this particular problem (thanking but not accepting) would be to detect words like "thanks", "thx", "worked" or "great" and highlight the accept icon (anyone remember the yellow check highlight for bounty-accepted answers?), perhaps also displaying a message:

Don't forget: you can accept this answer if it was the correct solution. Read more about accepting answers here.

Of course, the message might be annoying if the comment was along the lines of "thanks, but it didn't work" or "it has not worked for me".

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I think "link to the faq" may not explicit/prominent enough. And I sort find it "offensive" when other users (that wrote answers) write texts along "you should accept .." or people that did answer sort of "beg" to get rewarded by accepting / upvote. The polite reminder you outline may be a good compromise. But still I think there should be a little more site-driven answer to that issue. –  Heiko Rupp Feb 15 '11 at 11:57
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I agree that the system could use a little more feedback in this respect. Some possibilities:

  • If the user has < 15 rating and gets an answer, use the status bar update to remind them to click the big check mark if it answers their question
  • Or remind the user that they are one click away from their first Scholar badge. Very exciting!
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Yes, I guess the badge idea is a good motivator. –  Heiko Rupp Feb 17 '11 at 13:21
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How about allowing people to upvote at reputation 1, but only allowing it to affect reputation when they hit 15? Does anyone honestly expect people to revisit their old questions or questions they browsed to retrospectively upvote once they hit 15?

Give newly registered people to ability to upvote at 1; but avoid sock-puppetry by putting this reputation in escrow until the 15 criteria is met.

So many new questions are from newly registered users that stopping them upvoting immediately is probably confusing and counter-productive in any event. And no-one wants to see any of the 'if this answer helped please upvote it' mush you get on other sites.

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Avoiding sock-puppetry is important. –  Heiko Rupp Feb 28 '11 at 19:21
    
+1 for this: by putting this reputation in escrow until the 15 criteria is met. –  Neolisk Jan 16 at 16:24
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Yes I also think the same. I have faced it many times when I answer to a new user. He says thnx in comment and go away. So this proposal is a good one. But we also can not forget that we can not force any one to do it. They should understand their duty.

I think when new user gets an answer SO should display link on how to up vote an answer? and how to accept an answer? somewhere on page may be after question. This way may be some of them learn to accept and up vote an answer.

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I do not want to force them, but just politely remind. I think new users will need some time to get used to how the site works at all and probably also to see the benefit of giving and taking (and sharing). –  Heiko Rupp Feb 15 '11 at 7:50
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@Heiko: yes they should be provided with link like faq link: stackoverflow.com/faq or any other useful links which can help them understand the site better. –  Harry Joy Feb 15 '11 at 8:40
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If possible, the user should get a reminder after say two weeks, once for each question that hasn't been accepted. Perhaps there already is, I don't know, I've never gone long without accepting an answer. ;)

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Not sure if a reminder per question is good - too many reminders will end up in the "just click ok" syndrome with users just getting rid of the reminder windows. But the reminder after two weeks is a good idea. –  Heiko Rupp Feb 15 '11 at 10:27
    
Well, right, if you have several questions the gets a reminder at once, obviously it should be just one reminder. I meant that you shouldn't get reminded every time you log in, just because you have one that is older than two weeks. Some questions do not get any proper answer, after all. –  Lennart Regebro Feb 15 '11 at 11:52
    
There is already a reminder. It shows up in red text above each question with unaccented answers on your profile page. "Have you considered accepting an answer or starting a bounty for this question?" –  The Unhandled Exception Feb 17 '11 at 13:30
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Evidently not good enough. I guess the people who doesn't accept answers never go to their profile pages. :) –  Lennart Regebro Feb 17 '11 at 14:08
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The current system of nudging new users to accept good answers is clearly not working well. It would be in the best interests of everyone – new users, experienced users, and StackOverflow – to improve it. This is summed up in part of a comment I recently left to a new user who didn't know how to accept an answer to the question he had asked:

It's common for people who are new to the site to ask questions and then never accept an answer. As a result, their newer questions tend to be ignored. Reputation points are the currency of this site, and accepting an answer is like tipping a waiter/waitress :-)

I think if people were being completely honest, they would admit they are not spending time on SO helping others for purely altruistic reasons. :-o

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StackOverflow is a game of some kind. Reward is a major component of every game. You remove it - people won't play it anymore. –  Neolisk Jan 16 at 16:26
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There was some similar question in meta asking for this feature. Absolutely this feature is required.

A new user when submitting a new question (When he clicks on submit), there should be a pop up message which will link him to how to accept an answer? FAQ.

When user gets above 15 rep points, the next time he logs in, there should be another pop up on saying "Congrats, you have facility to upvote. Here is the link on how to upvote" on top of his page (This is similar to pop up when we get new badges.

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+1 on the "How to upvote" popup –  Heiko Rupp Feb 18 '11 at 15:48
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This is all just a UI problem that could be addressed already at the moment the user is looking at the answers for the first time.

See my detailed answer here: Dealing with novice users who fail to choose a best answer?

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As @LennartRegebro suggested in his answer that reminder should be generated but only if it satisfies these conditions:

  • Question asked is atleast 10 days old, so that the community gets a chance to answer the question
  • Only if there are some answers with 5 or above upvotes, which makes it more likely that the answer is legitimate

Some other conditions may also apply but this is what came to me as an initial thought.

What do we achieve?

With this the user whenever logs in after some time and if the question has received enough attention and some good answers only then the user will be reminded of accepting any suitable answer. So this reduces the chance of the answer going unaccepted for long time (doesn't hurt much but a reminder may speed up the process a bit).

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As a new user I would like to say that I actually appreciate the answer I get, but there is no way to up-vote as we don't have enough reputation. Stackexchange might have to consider giving rights to the new users to up-vote for the answers or provide enough rep to up-vote like quora.

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This was already suggested and declined, and the reason for declining is still valid so it won't change. –  Shadow Wizard Apr 25 at 10:58
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