There are many users with 0% or very low accept rates. Sometimes, when we inform them that their accept rates are low, they don't improve, even when there are perfect answers available!

Accepting an answer provides two "assurances":

  1. Assurance that the answerer gets rewarded with 15 rep
  2. Assurance that a proper and perfect solution for the question is available

I am not bringing this up for rep-related reasons. I believe that SO is not for votes, but for knowledge. The second assurance is the one that is important.

Sometimes, low-scoring answers to a question can be better than high-scoring answers to the same question. Although it's true that askers may not receive literally perfect solutions for some questions, "0 accepted answers for n questions" is a bit odd to see.

Again, SO is for sharing knowledge. And as a developer, I believe in sharing knowledge as well as gathering votes.

Should we respond to questions asked by users with 0% accept rates? I do not consider myself eligible to request features because of my reputation level, so I don't want to suggest anything directly. Please correct me if I am wrong.

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We have been discussing here how the system may help in those cases meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/79347/… –  Heiko Rupp Feb 18 '11 at 7:34
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From a moderation standpoint, I know that a lot of people flag comments that are obsessed with accept rates... –  Marc Gravell Feb 18 '11 at 7:53
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6 Answers

I ignore the accept rate. Someone needs an answer, and if I know it I feel it would be churlish to withhold it just on the basis of the accept rate. It also means that other people who have the same problem wouldn't get answers either.

That said, it's an open system - I'm not trying to force anyone else to follow the same approach.

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I completely agree. Maybe the acceptrate should be hidden because of the huge amount of questions and suggestions it generates on meta. –  Toon Krijthe Feb 18 '11 at 7:36
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+1 for encouraging me to look up what "churlish" means. –  Robert Cartaino Feb 18 '11 at 21:04
    
churlish - Adjective: Rude in a mean-spirited and surly way. (so no one else will have to Google it) –  Bojan Kogoj Sep 24 '11 at 7:36
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Depends, If the user with 0% accept rate has really asked a good question (subjective and left to you to decide which is good question), then I think you should really answer them. Also leave a note in your answer to suggest the user to increase his/her accept rate.

If the question is very simple or duplicate or unclear or you think that the user is too lazy to search for an answer which is easily available, then you do not have to bother. Just ignore and move forward to other questions where you can help.

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The “rules” I use:

  • If it is quick and easy to answer a question from any user I will. (Low cost)
  • If the question is asked by a “worthwhile” user I will put in more effort (Benefit user asking question). To decide if a user is “worthwhile” I will look at:
    • Their accept rate.
    • Their rep.
    • How many times they have voted.
  • If the question is about something I wish to learn about, I will put in the effort if I have the time. (Benefits me)
  • If the question has lots of views (relative to its age) or has been up voted, or I think the answer will be useful to people other than the asker I will answer it. (Benefits “3rd party” users)

In other words, I will not go to much effort just to help a use with a 0 accept rate, but answering the question is likely to help other people, I will do so regardless of who asked it.

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I was wrestling with the same problem and finally found a question that covered it (there had to be one).

Funny how little response is given so far to the main point you make: quality assurance.

When I google for a solution to some problem Stack Overflow always dominates the search results. Rightly so, because many answers are just gold. However, I dislike questions without accepted answers. First, because I feel forced to read all answers (especially when the votes do not differ much), and second, because I'm not sure if there was a correct answer at all. Of course there are questions without a correct answer, but if there was one, I'd really like to see it. It really helps when scanning tons of information.

So, yes, from that point of view I feel free to prompt people to accept an answer. It just makes Stack Overflow a better place to find what you're looking for.

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I try to answer all questions regardless of accept rate. I don't do it for the sake of just providing the help but also for the learning experience. Questions can sometimes be challenging and that will only make you better if you are able to provide a answer. Even if you do not get an accept, You may still get votes that can add up to more points then accept. Meanwhile i leave a comment under OP's question as a reminder to work on his/her acceptance rate....

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Agree ! But, it is known to the asker only about if the answer is the solution or not ! I again tell you, we are discussing regardless the votes. And that your answer up voted no of points, it may or may not be the solution as well. –  user150743 Feb 18 '11 at 7:49
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I'm trying to follow simple pattern:

  • If the question is good with all details and I think I know the answer, I will reply.
  • If the qeustion is not good I will ask for more detail and sometimes also add information about accept rate. Most of the time user will not provide necessary details so you can't answer it at all.
  • If the question is duplicate I will vote to close as duplicate.
  • If the question is similar to other question I will post link to comment.
  • If the question is very poor I will vote to close.
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