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Would it be possible to have a “community accepted” feature?
Moderators accepting answers on user's behalf after a certain time period

I am asking this question because it seems to work on MSDN.

Are users in favor of having community moderators 'force acceptance' of the highest upvoted answer after a question has been idle for 30 days? MSDN seems to force it a lot faster, which I don't particularly agree with but I do like the idea of forced acceptance. My proposal is to show questions that have been idle for 30 days or more in the review tab for 10K+ users to go in and force the acceptance of answers that have the most upvotes. It could even be done automatically by Community user.

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    You are not saying why we should want something like this or what its advantage would be.
    – sth
    Aug 3, 2011 at 14:43
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    Why was this neg bombed. Yeah, maybe it can be downvoted, but is this question so bad it's 14 times worse than questions with one downvote. Reinstate the neg rep for downvoting PLEASE. Aug 3, 2011 at 16:51
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    @Xaade: This is meta. On meta, a -1 merely means "No, I don't want that." It does not mean "This is a badly written question." Yes, Meta is Murder.
    – sbi
    Aug 3, 2011 at 16:53
  • @Xaade: I expected this. Aug 3, 2011 at 17:07
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    @Xaade: faq And yes, this feature request deserves all 14, if not more, "disagreement" votes. Aug 3, 2011 at 17:41
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    I am ∞% not in favor of this. MSDN is exactly the reason why. Do you know how irritating it is to have a Windows problem, search for it on MSDN, see an "accepted" answer only to find that the problem is not actually resolved only a moderator marked it as accepted? There's no reason at all why every question must have an accepted answer. It should only have accepted answers if it actually solved the problem and that isn't something that a moderator (or any other person) can know for sure except the person who asked the question... Aug 15, 2011 at 22:10
  • I'd only be in favor if the asker explicitly states in a comment (or question edit or answer) that an answer given solves their problem but didn't actually accept an answer. Something that this proposal was requesting. Sadly, it doesn't look like it will be done. Aug 15, 2011 at 22:15
  • Is it ironic that this question has no accepted answer? Sep 27, 2013 at 16:21
  • @JustinMorgan: Wow - bored much? Over two years later.. Anyways, it was marked as duplicate so I probably just let it go and forgot about it Sep 27, 2013 at 19:06
  • If only there were some sort of procedure in place for when the asker forgets to return to a question! ...Nah, don't worry about it, just enjoying the irony. Sep 30, 2013 at 18:21
  • Sure, as long as there is more than one answer. You are the only answerer. Question was closed as a duplicate 2 years ago so no one decided to answer further, which is natural. Oct 1, 2013 at 13:23

1 Answer 1


I think this will increase the chances of wrong answers being accepted. Question askers aren't infallible, but they have their code in front of them, and they can easily tell whether a solution works for them. Even a very clever moderator will have trouble doing that.

IMHO, getting a bad answer accepted is one of the worst things that can happen on a site like this. It pushes the signal/noise ratio much higher because it's harder to filter out unhelpful content, and in the worst case, you could waste time pursuing a solution that doesn't work. I would MUCH rather take my chances of missing a few rep I "deserve" than risk poisoning the site with wrong, off-topic, or otherwise worthless answers. It's incredibly annoying to google something you're struggling with, finding it on some Q&A board, and discover that the "answer" doesn't work, is a non-answer, or isn't relevant to the question. It's funny you mention MSDN, because this has been a frustration when looking for answers there.

I would consider supporting this if it was only ever applied to questions from "ask-and-disappear" users who pop in, ask a detailed question, and are never seen again. It's frustrating to answer such questions, because you'll post something very detailed and thought-out, but there's no reward for it unless someone else wanders in and agrees with you.

I'd default to not implementing this feature at all. If it is implemented, I would only support it if:

  • It could only be done by a human -- NEVER by Community or an automated process
  • It could only be done by a moderator, not just a 10K+ user
  • It could only be done on answers with at least one upvote
  • It was only allowed when the answer CLEARLY solved the problem, and the original asker was a one-time user who had disappeared.

Notice I'm differentiating between "ask-and-forget" users and regular users with a low accept rate. The site has incentives to get people to accept more answers, and if the asker's accept rate is already 8%, you know what you're getting into. It's only when answering a question from a 1-rep user who signed up today that you're rolling your dice like this.

The one potential value I see in this feature is encouraging people to answer questions from brand-new users, who may or may not ever visit the site again. It's in the site's interest to make sure new users (and future Googlers) find what they're looking for. If people start avoiding questions from brand-new users, those people aren't going to stick around.

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    You missed the part where you justify why this should be done. Aug 3, 2011 at 14:42
  • @Cody - I was mostly describing ways in which it shouldn't be done, but I've edited to clarify what I think is a potential benefit. Like I said, I'd be very cautious about this and would default to not doing it at all. Aug 3, 2011 at 15:03
  • Yeah, I get that you're not necessarily in favor of it. But I'm categorically opposed to it because I think that acceptance should be a privilege reserved solely for the asker of a question. Voting is how the community selects what they think is the best answer. They're two completely different systems for a reason. I still don't understand why you think it's a good idea. How does having an answer accepted encourage people to answer questions from brand-new users? I still answer plenty of those questions. You get a lot more points from upvotes than you do from a 1 time accept. Aug 3, 2011 at 15:10
  • Honestly I'd scale acceptance down to 5 pts, because if you're having to ask, how do you know what's right? Aug 3, 2011 at 16:50
  • "It could only be done by a moderator, not just a 10K+ user" That's nonsense. We only have a handful of moderators on SO, and those are picked for their social abilities. But we have hundreds of fields of expertise. If someone should do this, then the top users in a tag. (Which makes it hard to decide which tag...)
    – sbi
    Aug 3, 2011 at 16:56
  • Make acceptance 0 pts. Problem solved. Aug 3, 2011 at 17:09
  • @sbi - My point on that one was that there should be a very small number of users with the ability to do this, and they should be at the top level of community trust. Aug 3, 2011 at 18:23
  • @Cody - I answer lots of those questions too, but the chance of an extra accept when you really deserved it might be an added incentive, especially in unpopular tags where votes are scarce. But I wouldn't go so far as to say I "think it's a good idea," I'm just exploring ways it might not be an awful idea. Aug 3, 2011 at 18:27

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