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Accept rate usefulness

I have an accept rate of 52% and people are telling me they do not want to answer my questions because it is too low. So I would be forced to accept some unsuitable answers if I want to continue to use Stack Overflow.

In reality, it is hard to find a correct answer to many programming questions because many questions would require considerable time to investigate, so the natural result would be that many questions would be left unanswered. 50% answer rate is about correct. I suggest to remove the acceptance rate so that users will not be forced to accept some fake answers and turn SO into a PC but useless pile of junk, like yahoo answers. It's all about pros and cons.

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    One of your questions has an answer from Eric Lippert of all people, and you still haven't marked it as the answer??!! Or do you deem this to be one of the answers that is 'unsuitable'? – slugster Apr 24 '12 at 7:20
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    No, 50% accept rate isn't correct. Some of your questions got perfectly valid answers but you still didn't accept them. Other questions didn't result in useful answers because you failed to formulate the question properly and ignored comments pointing that out. If you don't bother improving your questions or crediting people who try to help you then you shouldn't be surprised that people no longer want to answer your questions. The comment you got on that is absolutely correct. As things are right now, if that mechanism discourages you from asking questions here then it is a win for SO. – Wladimir Palant Apr 24 '12 at 8:04

I would oppose this change. Accept rate is a good metric,

You're referring to this comment, right?

You have accepted answers to barely over half of the 69 questions you have asked.

Slightly blunt, and some comments are deleted so I can't follow the conversation, but he's right. And so are you. By no means should you accept unsuitable answers. But have you ever indicated that an answer is unsuitable? That's what he's aiming at.

If you feel an answer is unsuitable, comment and ask. You haven't done that:

Or on many other posts. Do you really expect to get good answers if we don't know what you really want? Jedi we are not

  • The idea about rewarding people for answers DOES NOT work!!! Just look at what a useless pile of junk yahoo answers is. I'm gonna have to get a new id and accept 100% of the answers from now on. – Aperture Apr 24 '12 at 7:22
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    @Aperture: Look, if you dig through your unaccepted answers, you will find that there are quite a few which have been edited and improved. Please review those and comment exactly why they are still unacceptable. DO NOT create a new id just for a better acceptance rate. Put bounties on questions which haven't gotten any answers. Simple. – Manishearth Apr 24 '12 at 7:24
  • @Aperture: And why does the idea not work? You'll find that it works pretty well on SO/etc. The acceptance check makes it easy for people from the future to see the correct answer. – Manishearth Apr 24 '12 at 7:27
  • I haven't used SO for over a year and when I came back, I have been met with harshness and brutality. Looks like many of my old posts have been give negative points. It is obvious to me SO standard is in rapid decline and the whole will unravel a few years down the road. Just watch. The best way to answer a question would still be Google. – Aperture Apr 24 '12 at 7:33
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    @Aperture: I really don't consider this to be harshness. Eric just stated a fact--less people will answer your question if you have a low accept rate. And your low accept rate is, at this point, your fault since you haven't indicated to the answerers what you want. I really don't think that that's going to happen yet. SO is getting hectic, but that is due to the high volume of users. And that's not deteriorating the site, though it's hard er to get rep on SO. – Manishearth Apr 24 '12 at 7:41
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    @Aperture - do not get a new id. It will be merged with your existing one. – ChrisF Apr 24 '12 at 8:17
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    I think comments about accept rate are almost always unproductive, but I love the accept rate itself being displayed, as it is almost always an excellent indicator of how much effort to put into the question. I wish people would stop commenting "you should increase your accept rate" because it causes people to artificially accept answers when they wouldn't normally, which decreases the utility of the metric. – Andrew Barber Apr 24 '12 at 8:26
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    @Andrew my thoughts exactly(though I do tell newbies what an accept button is) – Manishearth Apr 24 '12 at 8:47
  • '[...] a fact--less people will answer your question if you have a low accept rate.' Supporting data? – Grant Thomas Apr 24 '12 at 10:14
  • @Mr.Disappointment: You have me there. (fortunately, I said that in a comment, so you can't add {{citation needed}}. Take THAT!). I'm not active enough on SO to notice this, but I've heard it being said many times. :/ – Manishearth Apr 24 '12 at 10:17
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    @Mr.Disappointment: You won't get any statistics from me (feel free to try Data Explorer however) but personally I don't care about the accept rate as long as the question is well-formulated or interesting. However, if the OP asks me to decipher what he might have meant I will look at the accept rate - and then I might leave a comment about improving the accept rate first rather than spend time on editing his question and fixing it for him, and I would be even less wiling to answer it. My impression is that quite a few people use roughly the same approach. – Wladimir Palant Apr 24 '12 at 14:25
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    @wladimir Exactly. I consider accept rate to be "follow-through rate". If the question can be drive-by answered, great. Otherwise... – Andrew Barber Apr 24 '12 at 16:59

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