Possible Duplicate:
Let’s stop displaying a user’s accept rate

I know this is a bold proposal:

I suggest we do not display the "Accept Rate" on questions under the user name.

  • It has no significant importance.
  • It prompts the hasty "fix your accept rate" comments which as far as I know, aren't welcome in most forms and often cause arguments.
  • It's not immediately clear to new users what this metric means. Maybe I'm just slow, but for a very long time (before I was a member and while I was a new member) I thought "Accept Rate" meant the percentage of answers by the user that were accepted.

This could be moved to the user profile page, so those of us interested enough to look can see the accept rate right next to the list of questions. Often times, new users are berated for their low accept rate, but no one took the time to actually look at their questions and see that they simply don't have good answers. Very often this is a symptom of asking poor questions, but that's another story...

Anyways, I say get rid of it - maybe move it to the user profile right next to the questions list since they are so closely related.

There are other ways to nudge a user into accepting answers, the system could even "nag" them if they have a long standing 0% accept rate. So far, I have not found the prominent display of accept rate to be useful in any way, especially in an environment where we're trying to keep the noise to a minimum.

If there are any good reasons to keep this around, I'd like to hear it.

It's an indicator of a Help Vampire on many sites. If their accept rate is low because they really haven't received objectively acceptable answers, chances are they're asking neigh-unanswerable questions, depending on the site. And still, the community decides what it means, it's not like we're programatically punishing people based on the number.

Low accept rate does not definitely indicate a help vampire, it usually means that the user simply doesn't know what accepting answers is for, how important it is, or how to do it. Likewise, a 100% accept rate does not mean the user isn't a help vampire. Accept rate and "help vampirism" have little to nothing in common, and I don't see this being so important that it needs to be on every page.

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    It's an indicator of a Help Vampire on many sites. If their accept rate is low because they really haven't received objectively acceptable answers, chances are they're asking neigh-unanswerable questions, depending on the site. And still, the community decides what it means, it's not like we're programatically punishing people based on the number.
    – Zelda
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 11:56
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  • @BenBrocka: I covered that in my post I thought. Explain to me why indicating a possible "Help Vampire" is so important that it needs to be on every page. There are plenty of Help Vampires with a high accept rate as well. Weigh that against the negative aspects, bearing in mind that I suggest accept rate be shown on the profile page, not gone altogether.
    – user159834
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 12:00
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    @davidsleeps: If you read my post, that's not what I'm suggesting at all. Although I do agree with this point on the accepted answer there: "I think the current method -- showing a percentage -- is somewhat counterproductive. There are posts here on meta about people getting bothered even with percentages above 65%." Moving accept rate to the user profile is what I'm suggesting.
    – user159834
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 12:31
  • @Madmartigan I agree 100% with you...and essentially you are saying the same thing- that it isn't that useful or helpful... Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 12:32
  • @Madmartigan I agree it isn't a duplicate because you are only talking about moving it from questions to somewhere (where as I suggested it be removed entirely)...sorry Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 12:33
  • @davidsleeps: I personally think that's a great suggestion as well, I guess this one sort of takes the middle ground.
    – user159834
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 12:37
  • Somewhat related suggestion: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/82446/…
    – user159834
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 12:46
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    I absolutely, whole-heartedly support this suggestion. I wish I could +1000. Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 13:02
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    I see a lot of disagreement via downvotes, but not much explanation of why, just the "possible help vampire" argument. I would love it if someone could explain why prominent display of accept rate is so useful, because I truly don't get it. In my experience, all it does is generate unhelpful "fix your accept rate" comments, which are auto-nuked on the first flag. If folks were polite and helpful, and just linked to the FAQ on the subject, that would be great - but that's not what actually happens.
    – user159834
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 13:02
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    @bluefeet: Feel free to add an answer so your particular points can be discussed (and voted on) without being buried in a chain of comments. Or are you put off by my 69% accept rate? ;)
    – user159834
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 13:25
  • @Madmartigan added answer instead of comment
    – Taryn
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 14:11
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    neigh-unanswerable? Does this have to do with ponies?
    – Rosinante
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 14:43
  • You really should earn the Community Splitter badge for this
    – bobobobo
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 20:23
  • My 2 cents: "Accept Rate" is deceiving and should be moved/removed/rethaught. I thought it was an indicator of how the community accepts this user. Up until I read the manual here on meta..
    – Geo
    Commented Dec 26, 2012 at 17:15

4 Answers 4


Acceptance rate is an absolutely worthless, meaningless metric and it should be taken out back and shot and then carved up into tiny bits until it is the consistency of chunky salsa.

People focus too much on it, annoy too many users with it, refuse to answer questions because of it, when our whole premise is that the question and the answer is not about helping the asker, it is about helping the internet at large. The acceptance rate of the asker should have no bearing on whether we help make the internet better.

If the question is good and you have an answer and independently of all other considerations you would be inclined to provide the answer, then please provide the answer. If your answer is actually good and solves problems, you will be rewarded with upvotes, even if there is no green checkmark. And you will have helped countless users that find your answer via Google.

To help facilitate that, yes, get rid of the stupid metric. Let the system systematically prompt the user to go back and accept answers, like it systematically prompts us to vote, or tells us of badges. Let this be an issue between the system and the user, it's nobody else's business.

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    I'm coming more and more to this opinion. But especially am getting a bit non-plussed at the "accept more answers" comments - even the well-worded ones - because they sometimes cause members to just accept anything on all their prior questions, slightly reducing the value of 'accepts'. How big a problem is it? Probably tiny. Then again, how much of a problem is there if otherwise good questions get answers, but they don't get accepted? Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 15:30
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    Exactly. People accept anything just to get you stop pestering them. I've seen people accept answers and make a note that the answer didn't actually work, they just need to keep their accept rate high. Our "well-intentioned" badgering has now caused someone to endorse a bad answer, which helps absolutely nobody. I've seen answers themselves pester users about the rate. Tell me, what does the accept rate have to do with the answer to the problem? Get rid of it. Feed it through a woodchipper. I'm not ranting or anything, though. Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 15:35
  • amidoinitrite? stackoverflow.com/a/8893790/398242 Something like this is the only context in which I feel these comments are helpful, when it's clear that the OP does not know how to accept an answer. As soon as you have 1% AR, it's fair to say you're at least aware of the function. EDIT: And the comment is zapped... reposted without the word "accept"... I wonder if that was automatic or if someone flagged it, but I got an upvote the same minute so I'm suspicious...
    – user159834
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 15:48
  • I disagree that it's helpful there. For reasons you've stated elsewhere, it's still noise. That user doesn't even have a visible accept rate, he only has 3 questions. That user has presumably already been prompted to read the FAQ for asking questions by the system, which includes information on marking the accepted answer. The user should already know about the function, and if he doesn't, it should be the job of the system to remind him at some point in the future. Say, when he has 10 or so qualifying questions and the accept rate is south of 50 or so, pulling numbers out of the sky. Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 15:49
  • @Madmartigan, and that was me on both, by the way. Hair trigger response. Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 15:50
  • @AnthonyPegram: Fair enough, but did you read the previous comment? It's blatantly clear that the OP doesn't know about the fucntion, but has already "accepted" an answer. I wasn't badgering about "accept rate", but showing a new user how the site works. In any case, I guess this is somewhat besides the point of this particular discussion, whether or not a comment that points to the faq can be helpful.
    – user159834
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 15:51
  • @Madmartigan, I disagree that it is blatantly clear, but even if the user doesn't know, comments shouldn't be used for that (in my view). Let the system do it. Improve the system to make it more obvious, if it isn't already. There's a "how to ask" box on the "ask question" page which links to the FAQ. Maybe also directly toss a blurb in there about marking the most helpful answer as correct. Leave the rest of us out of it, you know? That's just my view. Based upon the amount of noise related to accept rate commentary, I'm somewhat merciless on it. Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 16:06
  • I concede - you are right; removed comment. For reference, the comment was "User, have a read here when you get the chance: http://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5234/how-does-accepting-an-answer-work" which I think is the only way to do it, if you are going to "nag" people about meta stuff in comments, at least educate them.
    – user159834
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 16:42
  • If a user thinks none of all questions suits to him then don't mark it. If you look to other users (also with high reputation), only few persons have an accept rate of 100%. The persons who want to help look at your profile and if they can see that solved your problem and you have a very low accept rate, then they let you know it or will ignore you. By the way, marking as an acceptet answer a lets the others know that answer was the solution or showed me the right direction.
    – Reporter
    Commented Aug 1, 2012 at 12:35

I personally disagree with removing the acceptance rate from the question, it is a quick and easy way to see if the user is active in the SO community. While I think the increase you acceptance rate comments can sometimes be argumentative I think they are helpful if you provide a link to the FAQs or the meta question about how it works.

New users might not be aware of how to accept answers so they will probably get a comment which is totally understandable since they might not understand the SO community is give and take.

But if you find a user asking a lot of questions and they have a low acceptance rate, then I would need to decide if I want to take the time to answer if I will not get any reputation for answering.

It might be lazy on my end, but I wouldn't want to have to click through to their profile in order to see if they accept the answers that people have submitted. Seeing the accept rate on the question let's me decide if I am going to answer since I don't want to continually answer questions for people who can't accept answers.

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    "New users might not be aware of how to accept answers"- yes, that happens quite a bit.
    – Aaron
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 14:14
  • I know, that is why when I see they have asked a lot of answers, I try to provide them with the link explaining how accepting works.
    – Taryn
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 14:16
  • You will still get rep for answering a question if it is a good answer, from upvotes. That's besides the point of this topic: What is on topic is the user you linked to with the 58% accept rate. Since you did not look at his profile, you totally missed that he has lots of, by SO terms, "unanswered questions". That is, questions without any answers that have at least one upvote. I'd agree that the user could be more engaged, but I feel that you're taking accept rate at face value which is not always correct. And besides, 58% is rather acceptable in my eyes, not worth complaining about.
    – user159834
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 14:39
  • @Madmartigan I actually did look through the profile of the user I linked to and maybe it is just me but I was surprised by the 121 questions (many with multiple answers) and a low acceptance rate. I don't typically look at the accept rate to make a decision on whether or not I answer the question, but if it appears to be on the low side, I think it should be pointed out. :) Do I think their is probably a better way of displaying this yes, but your question was about removing it which I disagree with.
    – Taryn
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 14:52
  • I guess then it depends on whether those of use who answer based on accept rate is a majority or minority of the total user base. Personally, I think it's a poor reason to not answer a question but I can see it being key to those of us who are merely rep-driven. EDIT: My suggestion is to make accept rate less visible, not removed. I couldn't cram the whole request in the title alone.
    – user159834
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 15:04
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    Having accepted 325 answers, i still get harassed and insulted. i recently accepted another 65 non-answers - just to try to shut people up. Anyone looking at a percentage is doing it wrong.
    – Ian Boyd
    Commented May 16, 2012 at 19:17

I come to SO (and other Stack Exchange sites) for two reasons:

  • To learn and get better at what I do.
  • I enjoy helping others to not make the same, (big) mistakes that I've made.

That being said, it does kind of suck to put all kinds of energy into rounding-out a good, correct and well-referenced answer...to have it sit out there as "unaccepted."

Sometimes, (if it's an answer that will take some work) I will think twice before answering when someone has a crappy (less-than 40% or so) accept rate. When I do see questions from these folks, I try to offer a gentle reminder about how maybe going back and accepting some more answers will encourage more people to try to help them. It helps keep the system reciprocal, and it's part of what makes Stack Exchange great.

Granted, someone could ask ten questions and really only get one good answer. It's possible. I'm not saying that we should encourage people to accept crappy answers just for the sake of the site. But if they feel like they have to give a little in order to get their questions answered (and they see that result in their own reputation score), they might be more apt to become involved with the site long-term. If we're trying to build a site that offers good information, that's really what we should be after. And in a round-about way, displaying the acceptance rate encourages that.

  • So, do you feel that displaying accept rate on every question increases the likelihood that a user will use the "accept" feature correctly? I feel like these "gentle reminders" are nothing but noise, in fact before I was even a member here, those comments seemed to be on every post and really did a lot for creating a tense atmosphere. I think it's great in some cases, i.e. a user replies "Thanks, this is perfect" without accepting, and in that case, you don't need to know what a user's accept rate is to know he might need a gentle reminder of how to accept answers.
    – user159834
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 14:41
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    More so that by accepting an answer, they are in a sense helping those who took the time to help them. It encourages them to engage with the community, hopefully to come back and maybe provide answers of their own. Basically, "yes", I feel displaying the accept rate helps keep the site going.
    – Aaron
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 14:53
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    See, this is a problem for me. The point of accepting an answer is not to "help those who took the time to help them", it's to mark an answer as the one that solved your problem. You getting 15 rep is merely a by product, not the reason to accept an answer. Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel this feature is very misunderstood. We have a voting system already that rewards and promotes good answers, OP can accept the crappiest one he wants if it solved his problem.
    – user159834
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 15:00
  • @Madmartigan you have a good argument and make some good points. But if we get rid of the accept rate, I feel that there would have to be something replacing it. Something to remind folks (who may not understand how the site works) to accept a good answer if they've got one. Or maybe keep accept rate, but not make it public (only visible in your profile).
    – Aaron
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 15:12
  • I believe there are already system reminders. I've never encountered one myself, so I can't say with certainty, but looking around meta suggests that they exist. Since I started typing this comment, I'm sure there has been at least 10 accept rate comments posted on SO. A waste of our energy, as I see it.
    – user159834
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 15:14

While there are some who regularly excrete obnoxious, harassing, comments about accept rate, there are also plenty who write polite explanation with links to the relevant FAQ.

I. personally, am long past sweating the rep of getting an answer accepted. But newer answerers aren't. It seems to me that everyone would be happier (except the mods) if 'ping user on acceptance' were a flag reason, and so it didn't persist as a comment. Or, maybe, if users could dismiss such comments. I dunno.

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    ...and all of these comments become irrelevant noise as soon as the user learns how to accept answers, does so, and ends up "improving" their accept rate. Then you have a question from a user with 80% AR, with 3 comments telling him to "fix" it. These comments have nothing to do with the question.
    – user159834
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 14:50
  • These comments have nothing to do with the question. which then can be flagged as noise.
    – tombull89
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 14:54
  • @tombull89: Exactly, and comments with the phrase "accept rate" only require one flag to delete them. Now doesn't that say something?...
    – user159834
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 14:58