I am regular Stack Exchange user, especially at Stack Overflow.

One of the things I really dislike about new and sometimes veteran users is that:

  • Either they do not accept an answer that works for them,
  • Or they accept the answer but do not vote it up

I mean they can really both accept the answer and vote it up but somehow they wouldn't =(.

How many of you feel the same way?

  • 2
    Low-rep users can not vote up, so that's part of your answer. – Martijn Pieters Aug 14 '12 at 9:31
  • 2
    I sure don't. Acceptance and upvoting is completely voluntary. – Bart Aug 14 '12 at 9:31
  • well lets say people with privilege to vote. Even they don't vote up or sometimes accept the answer. – tGilani Aug 14 '12 at 9:32
  • 1
    No matter what we feel, please keep in mind to be nice to them :-) – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask V2 Aug 14 '12 at 9:36
  • 1
    @ShaWizDowArd Oh I always am =) – tGilani Aug 14 '12 at 9:37
  • Many people probably don't even know about accepting answers or how to do it. I know I didn't recognize the outline glyph that is supposed to be a checkmark until someone pointed it out to me. – spring Aug 14 '12 at 11:56
  • Why does anyone do anything? Or, in this case, "not do"? There's no way for anyone here to get into the heads of all the users who exhibit this behavior. (Also, I could have sworn this was a duplicate, but I guess the original(s) got closed/deleted?) – Pops Aug 14 '12 at 19:58
  • If you want to do something about this - review old questions and upvote them. And if StackExchange wants to do something about this - they should incentivise reviewing and voting on old questions without any upvoted answers. – Iwan Aucamp Jul 17 '13 at 11:08

Do you think we can force them?

We cannot and will not - upvoting and accepting are voluntary and will always be voluntary.

Doing anything else means that we are forcing people to do something, which in turn means that we will have less users.

The point of Stack Overflow (and the rest of the Stack Exchange network) is to answer questions, not to force upvotes and accepts.

Frankly, if you are answering questions in order to get the upvote and accept from the asker, you are doing it for the wrong reasons. Answer questions in order to help the asker and everyone else reading the question. If your answer is good, the upvotes you will get for it will far surpass any rep you would gain from the one upvote and the accept from the asker.

  • agreeed but I was not referring to force it. Just wanted to share a teasing thought =) – tGilani Aug 14 '12 at 9:35
  • 3
    @tGilani - You do know this has been discussed and raised here ad-nauseum? It will never happen. – Oded Aug 14 '12 at 9:37
  • I'm sure everybody that participates on StackExchange has some self interested motive behind it - altruism is mainly a lack of understanding on the observer's side. I do however agree that forcing people to upvote/accept is not reasonable - but incentivising them is - and I really do think this is something that should be looked at. There are thousands on open questions with valid answers that still come up in unanswered because people could not be bothered to upvote/accept. – Iwan Aucamp Jul 17 '13 at 11:06
  • @IwanAucamp - There are incentives, in the forms of reputation and badges. – Oded Jul 17 '13 at 11:13
  • Ah, I did not know accepting answers gives you rep - as I have never posted a question. – Iwan Aucamp Jul 17 '13 at 11:17
  • Big difference between "force" and "encourage", I believe SE can do a better job encouraging user engagement, even if it means changing rules. The site works on positive feedback; if someone constantly feels the short end of the stick (doing research, posting quality answers, and getting little to nothing for it), it diminishes their desire to continue using the site. I love SE, and particularly, SO, but it's not a perfect system. – Raffian Aug 13 '13 at 21:29
  • @Raffian - A perfect system? There is no such thing. I am sure you have heard the saying "you can't please everyone"? We are interested in user engagement - getting new users in (to all Stack Exchanges, not just SO) and many of the recent changes are aimed directly at that. But we don't expect to become the place for everything and we certainly don't expect everyone to be engaged. – Oded Aug 13 '13 at 21:45
  • @Oded I never said SO was supposed to be perfect; I'm merely agreeing with premise of the original question. Nevertheless, I'm pleased to here you guys are addressing how to increase engagement; after all, whatever isn't perfect has flaws. – Raffian Aug 13 '13 at 23:02

There's a million reasons why people might not want to mark an answer as accepted at that moment. And even if they're just ignorant or forgetful, there's nothing you can really do. Nor should the site do more to force them to vote and/or accept.

Ignore it, and regard votes and accepts from the OP as an optional extra that is nice when it happens.


I usually avoid accepting answers for at least a month after I've asked a question.

The green checkmark lowers the question's visibility significantly, and thus lowers the chances of me getting an awesome answer, not one that "just works". I appreciate every answer I get, and have upvoted most of them, but why rush accepting one?

That said, I usually answer questions rather than ask them. From an answerer's perspective, I couldn't care less if my answer is accepted or up voted. I do enjoy it when it happens, but I don't think about it when it doesn't, I'm not here to amass imaginary points, I'm here to be challenged and solve problems. And some times to be entertained ;)

Worth noting that there are people out there being complete and utter morons about getting their answer accepted, we even had an “Accept for more help” extortion incident recently. Hopefully an isolated incident, but partly why I edited "hate" to "dislike" in your question, we really don't want or care about (even more) sensationalism when it comes to accepting answers, accept rate, etc.

  • hmmm.. quite interesting .. =) – tGilani Aug 14 '12 at 9:35
  • and that is exactly why I see so many veteran users suggesting answers in comments than a separate answer – tGilani Aug 14 '12 at 9:39
  • 1
    @tGilani are you saying veteran users give answers in comments because of the possibility that the OP may not accept an answer? That's nonsense. – Pekka Aug 14 '12 at 9:41
  • nope... i meant that veterans do not care about reputation.. they care about solving the issue. You misunderstood me. – tGilani Aug 14 '12 at 9:42
  • 3
    @tGilani yeah, that will sometimes be the reason - or laziness. Writing a proper answer is work. – Pekka Aug 14 '12 at 9:43
  • Hmmmm perhaps .. !! – tGilani Aug 14 '12 at 9:43
  • 4
    @Pekka Laziness is one reason, certainly, but most times I've posted a comment instead of an answer it was because I simply didn't have the time to write an answer. Some questions have the bad habit of appearing just right when I'm at the door. If I can post a link that'll direct the asker to the right direction, that's good enough for me (and hopefully someone will steal my comment and convert it to a thorough answer). – yannis Aug 14 '12 at 9:46
  • @Yannis Points on SO are hardly imaginary. More often than not, companies are asking to see SO profiles to review reputation and quality of questions and answers as a basis for screening candidates. – Raffian Aug 13 '13 at 23:09
  • I agree with Pekka, when I'm too busy or too lazy or too tired to post a real answer, I comment. If someone turns it into a full-blown answer and gets the rep, so be it. If not, well, at least OP can solve his problem and I'm not downvoted for laziness :P – Mołot Oct 24 '13 at 13:36
  • @Yannis: you're talking about upvoting and not accepting, while OP is talking about accepting and not upvoting. – vartec Oct 24 '13 at 15:17

It is not required to vote or to accept.

Low rep users can not vote. But there are also users who are only interested in a single answer to their question, they probably don't even know that there is someting as voting or accepting.

But in the end, if you continue to provide good content, the rewards will come.

  • it's not required, but the site will just not work if no one cares to upvote. – vartec Oct 24 '13 at 15:20

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