Possible Duplicate:
Force Accepted Answers on Questions by Inactive Users
Encourage users to select 'Accepted Answer' for old Questions

Some users on Stack Overflow or Meta only ask questions, so many users take their time to answer them but they do not bother to select any best answer, and some don't even take time to upvote any of them.

So my question is whether there is any mechanism on the SO site to catch users with no answer selection attitude and punish them in a way that active users don't waste their time on these questions. Or I think SO should add a mechanism such that a highly voted answer will automatically be selected.

  • 5
    Do you actually mean cache? Or do you mean catch? Either way - no. It doesn't matter. Other users in the community will upvote good content. Accepted answers are just the asker's way of saying "thanks, this worked for me"
    – yoozer8
    Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 18:58
  • 2
    Also, once they've asked enough questions, their accept rate is displayed. If you don't want to answer questions for non-accepters, don't. But don't nag them about their accept rate. Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 19:04
  • 2
    Downvotes are different on meta
    – yoozer8
    Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 19:07
  • 3
    @Jason, your last comment is not true, I feel.
    – Arjan
    Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 19:11
  • 1
    But i have seen that old users are posting anything and they are only getting upvotes and on meta new users are not allowed to ask something, take an example of my question, its not a local question at all, i have searched for it and doesnot found any answer so i posted it but -5 downvotes are too rude Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 19:13
  • 2
    Jason, the downvotes simply mean that people disagree with your (semi implicit) suggestion. Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 19:16
  • 8
    @Jason_vorhees - You have 1 question and 1 answer on meta... what hard work?
    – M.Babcock
    Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 19:26
  • 3
    You've lost me. First, you're proposing to punish people who don't accept answers. Next, when folks disagree, you're suggesting to delete this question and its two answers to save you from downvotes? But then what about the work that Jim and Lix have put into their answers?
    – Arjan
    Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 19:42
  • 1
    @Jas - you have to remember that posts and reputation here are a lot different than on the main site... The main site might symbolize your technical capabilities while here on meta reputation is received for amongst other things, very different things... Please don't be upset about it...
    – Lix
    Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 19:42
  • 6
    @jason because deleting the question is not the correct action for this. two others agreed with me, as I don't have edit privileges yet. Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 19:51
  • 3
    Also, Jason, consider that deleting accounts and then recreating new ones to avoid the downvotes that come from bad questions will sooner or later most likely trip either an automated abuse detection script, or just annoy the devs/mods enough for them to take further action.
    – RivieraKid
    Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 19:53
  • 1
    Just live with that, jeez. Down votes work like that on Meta, you can easily gain rep again.
    – slhck
    Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 19:59
  • 2
    Relevant example: This question has a couple of valid, up-voted answers, but the asker has not accepted any of them. How do you suggest we punish this person?
    – yoozer8
    Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 20:06
  • 1
    Really? You try to fight Community by removing the duplicate link? Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 7:32
  • 1
    Just don't edit. Nothing should be changed in the question. If you got anything else to ask start new question. If you have something to say to someone use @ to notify him. Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 7:37

3 Answers 3


The answer rate is what you want to look at if you want to see a numerical representation of a users
"no answer selection attitude".
enter image description here

However it might not always be correct to take this measurement at face value

You would have to consult each user on each question to confirm that they are actively and maliciously not voting or accepting an answer. :P

But on a serious note - you really have to read into each of these posts that the OP did not act upon.

Some sample conclusions from reviewing all of a users posts -

  • The user simply hasn't been back to the site.
    • This can be frustrating at times. Remember that there is a real life world out there beyond out little haven of knowledge that we have found here. Once you have that coveted fanatic badge and have already screwed your visited/consecutive days rankings, you might go AWOL for a few days to clear you thoughts. You know... Zen style...enter image description here
  • Sometimes (depending on how long ago the post was) the OP might not feel that he has received enough attention on his/her post and wants to let the question trickle down from the fastest gun's in the west to the hardcore bounty hunters.
  • Sometimes the OP genuinely finds that none of the answers that he was provided assist him in anyway - lets not rule out this possibility.

In addition, the system provides a reminder for users that have posted questions and not yet accepted any answers after a certain time period. A banner like structure hovering in your profile view..

I believe that this might only be triggered if one of the answers has a positive score... Yet to be confirmed...


yes - There is a mechanism in place. It doesn't punish the user per se, but rather reminds them to consider accepting one of the answers that were provided to his/her question[s]. Some users find it rather annoying so that might be considered some type of punishment :)

/M?S[O|F|U]/i has it all... and then some...

  • 1
    TL&DR yes - /M?S[O|F|U]/i has it all... and then some... what does it means Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 19:26
  • It means any of Stack Overflow/Server Fault/Super User and the meta sites for each. What I mean is that the system does have a mechanism in place to remind users to consider accepting an answer.
    – Lix
    Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 19:32
  • 1
    thanx for the response, this is the far better answer i received yet. Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 5:07
  • 1
    At risk of over analyzing - What I meant is that the OP was inquiring about a mechanism to "detect and punish" users who refuse to accept answers. Detection is handled by the display of the accept rate, and the "punishment" is in the form of an "annoying" banner. Stack Overflow already has these features (MSOFU has it all), plus many more features (and then some)... In any case, thank you @Arj for your edits and citations!
    – Lix
    Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 6:26
  • 2
    Show off! (but +1 still :-)) Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 7:33

No. Accepting an answer is not mandatory. Other users in the community will upvote good/great content, and visitors will see the value in the answer regardless of the presence of a little green check.

Accepting an answer is just a way for the asker to say "Hey, this worked for me to fix my problem".

FAQ about accepting answers


You should never require anybody to accept an answer - this has been discussed time and time again on MSO that it just isn't an entertaining discussion anymore. See, for example New users who don't realise how to accept an answer, the list just goes on and on.

Long story short - requiring users to accept an answer will make them accept any answer and that is exactly the opposite of what we are trying to achieve.

Or I think SO should add a mechanism such that a highly voted answer will automatically selected.

You do realise, I hope, that since you are so concerned with your rep, that any answer you provide that receives two or more upvotes has already gained you more reputation than an accepted answer? Besides which, the highest voted answer naturally floats to the top anyway.

The point of the SE network is to provide good answers to good questions - that's all. The fact that a little game theory has been applied and you get rep and badges is a means to an end - it is not the end itself.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .