There are some questions out there asking for punishment of 0% accept rate users, and they are obviously wrong because there are valid reasons to have a 0% accept rate. One of them is being new to Stack Overflow as a whole and lets be honest, the check mark next to an answer isn't quite self explaining, and who really reads the FAQ?

So instead of punishing users for having a 0% accept rate, or discouraging users from answering questions from people with 0% accept rate (which is equally wrong because it just decreases the quality of the answers), how about telling the user that there might be a problem when they create a new question. No pop up like "Hey stupid, go and accept some answers", but a simple and clear one liner above the editor right under the suggestions with a link to the FAQ on meta that explains accepting and voting as a whole. It could have the same background box as the Similar Questions box on the right when creating a new question (beige with red text on meta).

Pros I would see:

  • Users still can create new questions (which in no way should be discouraged)
  • Users who are new to SO learn about accept rate before the raging mass spams up their comments, which leads to...
  • ... No more spam like "hey, your accept rate is low. Go and accept some answers" in the comments

The only downside I see is that it might lead to users accepting answers for the wrong reasons, just to get rid of the box. So the box should be as less annoying as possible while still being visible, which I think works best if it looks like the Similar Questions box (but I'm not an UI/UX designer, so that might be a not so bright idea)

  • 7
    I am personally never discouraged from answering questions from users with a 0% acceptance rate, at the end of the day you're only going to lose out on 15 rep when you could potentially gain much more from other users who appreciate the answer provided. Jul 10, 2012 at 13:56
  • 2
    @ThePower Yes, but some people are discouraged, at least judging from their comments. If less people are inclined to answer, the overall quality fo the answers is decreasing.
    – JustSid
    Jul 10, 2012 at 13:58
  • 1
    On the same vein as my comment on vote breakdown, what specific benefits do you get from seeing someone's accept rate? As far as I can tell, the visible accept rate has only spawned numerous comments of "improving accept rate" and led to the auto-deleting of any flagged comment with "accept rate" in the content.
    – Yawus
    Jul 10, 2012 at 14:01
  • Related to your interests, here's the latest proposal to remove accept rate altogether: Let's stop displaying a user's accept rate. Jul 10, 2012 at 14:05
  • That basically feeds into the whole discussion we have had here. Similar to @Yawus I also don't see the need for a visible accept rate and would rather see it replaced by an occasional "nudge" of the system as you propose.
    – Bart
    Jul 10, 2012 at 14:05
  • 1
    @jadarnel27 dammit, 4 seconds...
    – Bart
    Jul 10, 2012 at 14:06
  • 1
    possible duplicate of Show alert for users with 0% (or low) acceptance rate
    – jcolebrand
    Jul 10, 2012 at 14:22
  • 1
    "...and who really reads the FAQ?" - I for one did read the FAQ... And more to your point, "a simple and clear one liner above the editor right under the suggestions with a link to the FAQ" is just as likely to be unread if they didn't read the FAQ in the first place.
    – Gaffi
    Jul 10, 2012 at 14:31
  • 1
    Hell, I've read the FAQ many times over ...
    – jcolebrand
    Jul 10, 2012 at 14:33
  • being new to Stack Overflow as a whole doesn't the accept rate only show after you've asked five questions? That hardly counts as "new".
    – JimmyPena
    Jul 10, 2012 at 14:59

1 Answer 1


Seeing all the discussion about the accept rate, I'm tempted to post a question titled "Accept Rate Considered Harmful".

On a more serious vein, I fail to see the positives of displaying a visible accept rate. Does an accept rate of < 40% means that a user is a "help vampire"? Maybe. Does that mean I won't answer their question if I'm able? Not at all. Stack Exchange is a Q&A site network, but not the vein that a Q&A pair only applies to the asker and answerer. Each question and answer pair affects more than the immediate party involved.

When you ask a question, it's up there for everyone to see. Someone else might have the same question and that's exactly why Stack Exchange exists. When you post an answer, you're not just providing a solution to one person (the original poster). You're helping every single person that reads that question. So when you avoid answering a question because someone's a "help vampire", you're also avoiding answering a question that a 100% user might have asked if a 0% user didn't get there first.

So remember. Stack Exchange is not just you and it's not just that 0% accept rate user. Don't judge a question based on the asker's accept rate because there might be more than one person behind that question.

  • 2
    Accept Rate Considered Harmful
    – jcolebrand
    Jul 10, 2012 at 14:34
  • It also highly sounds like you're advocating "please edit more and downvote/closevote less"
    – jcolebrand
    Jul 10, 2012 at 14:36
  • 1
    @jcolebrand I do prefer editing to downvoting, but I was trying to get the idea of "groupthink" across. The idea of ignoring help vampires has been less "groupthink" and more "rep slave", in my opinion.
    – Yawus
    Jul 10, 2012 at 14:41

You must log in to answer this question.

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