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What is with people not marking their questions as answered?

Is there anything I can do if I answer a question for a user which I know to be a correct answer and they use it on their site but don't mark it down as an accepted answer?

It seems a shame to put time and effort into helping people and not be rewarded.

  • 6
    You can act like a man!
    – user1228
    May 10, 2012 at 19:44
  • I'll try my best. *sniff May 10, 2012 at 19:54
  • Sorry @WesleyMurch I meant used my code as a solution to their problem. I should probably have been more specific in my choice of words. May 10, 2012 at 20:03
  • 1
    There / are / a / lot / of / existing / posts / on / Meta / about / acceptances. What are you adding with this new question, exactly?
    – Pops
    May 10, 2012 at 20:54
  • @PopularDemand I'm not that new that I don't know how to search before submitting a question. I searched and couldn't find one which matched so either my searching technique or the search returns of stackoverflow are flawed. You choose. May 10, 2012 at 21:14

3 Answers 3


The only thing you can do is comment to the asker on the post. You can explain that you have seen that they have taken your answer and used it and that the accepted thing to do on SO is to upvote and accept the answer that most helped them.

A user has the right to select whatever answer they want as the accepted one or not select any answer whatsoever.

  • It's not a case of being bitter about it. I did the work for them they have it live on their site surely there should be a way of flagging a user for misuse of the site so others don't waste their time. May 10, 2012 at 19:40
  • @trickeedickee - But it isn't misuse of the site. It is designed just for this kind of use. Yes, we would like most users to be part of the community, but we can't force them to be.
    – Oded
    May 10, 2012 at 19:41
  • Fair enough, I have no problem just a bit irked. I'm pretty new to the site so still getting used to the ins and outs of it all. Cheers for the answer. May 10, 2012 at 19:44
  • 2
    @trickeedickee: That's not how things work around here. Sure, you'll occasionally encounter a Help Vampire that takes without giving, but that'll be accounted for by other people voting on your answer and the people who will enthusiastically thank you for your help by accepting your answer, leaving effusive praise in a comment, and perhaps even creating a bounty to send you more reputation points. It all balances out in the end. Plus, you're more than welcome to never help that person again.
    – ale
    May 10, 2012 at 19:44
  • Cheers Al. Much appreciated. May 10, 2012 at 19:45
  • 2
    They can comment, but they really shouldn't.
    – casperOne
    May 10, 2012 at 19:53
  • @casperOne - Are we against reminding users that accepting answers is expected behaviour?
    – Oded
    May 10, 2012 at 19:54
  • 4
    @Oded We've actually been against that for a while, IIRC. In your own words, we can't force them to take part of the "gamification" aspects of the site. It's akin to asking about downvotes/upvotes. Talking about the game in the comments is not the proper use of comments (and yes, I know that comments are not properly used most of the time anyways) but no, we don't comment on those things. Those comments should be flagged for removal.
    – casperOne
    May 10, 2012 at 19:57
  • @Oded meta.stackexchange.com/a/125533/153020
    – Flexo
    May 10, 2012 at 21:20

It seems a shame to put time and effort into helping people and not be rewarded.

I think that hard work and effort never goes unrewarded. It might be delayed but usually the effort is rewarded. Your post may not be an accepted answer. However, if it is indeed a correct answer, it sure might help someone else in future and they may upvote it.

Concentrate on what you have gained while answering the question, you may have learnt something new or probably shared something that you had always wanted to. You should feel good about it. Please make it as a learning experience and don't expect that you should be rewarded for your effort. Please don't chase the reputation points, it is merely a number.

  • Very good point Silva and well made. In my pursuit of points I probably overlooked the real reasoning behind stackoverflow. May 10, 2012 at 20:01

Usually if I notice a user asking questions with a low Accept Rate, I'll post a friendly comment reminding them that they are more likely to get answers if they improve their Accept Rate by accepting answers to previous questions

A high Accept Rate is a sign that the user is likely to reward those who answer with reputation, and it is more worthwhile to answer them if you're after rep.

The Accept Rate only shows up after the user has asked a few questions, so typically I don't bother asking for someone to accept an answer unless they have a track record of asking many questions without accepting answers

Here's an example of the sort of comment I will occasionally leave for users with a very low accept rate.

And don't forget, the option to accept an answer isn't going to go anywhere. I once left a comment on one question prompting the user to improve his Accept Rate so he could get better answers, and a few minutes later I received 15 rep for an answer I had posted to one of his questions months ago!

  • I recently got an accept on an answer I'd posted more than a year before! May 10, 2012 at 22:21

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