This happens regularly:

  1. A new user posts their first question
  2. They get a good answer
  3. So they leave a comment saying "OMGz Thx it WORKEDD!!! you have saved my life :D" or something similar.
  4. Answerer leaves a comment back saying "You are welcome, but on SO to say thanks we up-vote and accept; do this by clicking the hollow tick mark"
  5. User doesn't know the SO way of accepting and up-voting, and doesn't see the comment until they need help with the next problem (if at all).

My suggestion is, for users with low reputation and low question count, if they leave a comment containing some keywords such as solved, worked, or thanks, a dialog box appears with a message similar to:

On stackoverflow.com you show you appreciated by accepting and up-voting, would you like accept this answer?

Accept | Don't accept this answer right now

The answer then gets accepted and +1 (if the user's rep is high enough) if they choose to accept.

  • 6
    Amongst other things, I don't like how an upvote is bundled with the accept.
    – user200500
    Dec 5, 2012 at 19:30
  • 3
    @asad in what scenario would you accept an answer but not upvote it?
    – iiSeymour
    Dec 5, 2012 at 19:34
  • 8
    I like this idea in theory, but I'm not sure that "worked" and "thanks" are sufficient or accurate. It would miss out on "this solved my problem perfectly!!!" and add insult to injury for "this had no effect but thanks for trying I guess."
    – Pops
    Dec 5, 2012 at 19:35
  • @PopularDemand yes this just a loose spec, I agree it's flawed in certain cases, such as if the OP leaves multiple 'thanks' comments on multiple answers..
    – iiSeymour
    Dec 5, 2012 at 19:39
  • 5
    @PopularDemand That last line implies an accept would automatically upvote as well. sudo, whenever the answer solves my problem but is not a particularly good solution. A working hack, when the only answer on a question, merits an accept but no upvote IMO.
    – user200500
    Dec 5, 2012 at 19:39
  • 2
    @Asad I wouldn't accept such an answer unless multiple days have passed... I'd wait for a 'real' answer, so to speak.
    – durron597
    Dec 5, 2012 at 19:40
  • 2
    @durron597 I have very frequently let a question stew for several days, repeatedly bumped it etc. but it just doesn't garner any attention. With some questions this is not circumstance: they're just not interesting questions. Any working solution I get in this situation I am grateful for.
    – user200500
    Dec 5, 2012 at 19:43
  • So what happens when the OP comments, with, "thanks, but this didn't solved my problem".
    – Servy
    Dec 5, 2012 at 19:43
  • @Asad the +1 doesn't have to be bundled with the accept and/or the wording could explicitly state the fact. I don't think I would accept an answer that I didn't deem necessary of a +1.
    – iiSeymour
    Dec 5, 2012 at 19:43
  • @Servy removed if they choose to accept.
    – iiSeymour
    Dec 5, 2012 at 19:45
  • 4
    Don't like #4, I don't believe comments should be used for this purpose. The system nudges people to vote, to accept answers. There's no need for comments from users replicating what the system already does.
    – casperOne
    Dec 5, 2012 at 20:02
  • 1
    @casperOne I agree and I think this could help to alleviate this issue.
    – iiSeymour
    Dec 5, 2012 at 20:08
  • 3
    Just a side note about #3, I like getting comments like that from users. I spend time answering questions to help people, and it's always nice to hear back from them. If I only got points and votes for my time, I probably wouldn't still be around. It's the human element that keeps me coming back. Don't try to stamp it out completely.
    – Rachel
    Dec 5, 2012 at 21:03
  • 1
    @sudo_O you need 15 rep to upvote so most users that would get value from this dialog wouldn't be able to upvote. Generally its bad form to tell someone to do something that they can't do. Dec 5, 2012 at 21:09
  • @SomeHelpfulCommenter a new user only needs 3 upvotes on a single question to get 15 rep, 1 reasonable question usually gets this due to the review process and the fact users who posted an answer will recognize the fact and give an upvote to allow the OP powers to +1. Plus I stated if the OPs rep is high enough.
    – iiSeymour
    Dec 5, 2012 at 21:14

1 Answer 1

  1. User doesn't know the SO way of accepting and up-voting, and doesn't see the comment until they need help with the next problem (if at all).

I don't know what is was like back in 2012 but in 2021 whenever a user leaves a comment under a question or pings someone, the OP is always notified in their inbox. If they see the comment but ignore the request that's a separate matter.

The OP can upvote a helpful answer and may even thank the author (although gratifying, "thanks" do not increase the answerer's reputation) but there should be no external pressure to accept an answer that does not fully satisfy them. The help center provides the following guidance to querents.

[emphasis mine]

What should I do when someone answers my question?

2. Accept it. As the asker, you have a special privilege: you may accept the answer that you believe is the best solution to your problem.

The interface also nudges users in the right direction: Firstly the greyed checkmark matches the unselected arrow, which indicates (or ought to!) that a user can click on the checkmark. See the before and after images below.

Before Accept After Accept
OP view of answer voting panel before answer acceptance, accept arrow is grey and matches unused voting arrow color OP view of answer voting panel after answer acceptance, accept arrow is now green

Secondly–I had forgotten about this–a tool tip appears when the cursor hovers over the checkmark

Before Accept
message: "accept this answer if it solved your problem or was the most helpful in finding your solution

Lastly, imagine a new contributor politely thanking someone but explaining why the answer did not help, e.g. “Thanks1, your solution2 works 3 but you've misunderstood the difficulty, I really wanted…” and seeing a dialog box inviting them to accept an answer that did not supply the solution!

  • 3
    Can you clarify your point? Are you supporting the suggestion, rejecting it or proposing a workaround? If the latter, I don't find it good enough, because it requires manual intervention by a passer-by, moreover it generates noise and still does not account for the case "OP asks, gets it solved, comments and never comes back".
    – user1030427
    Aug 12, 2021 at 21:35
  • 1
    @LoremIpsum I'm saying there should be no pressure on anyone to accept an answer. The OP (iiSeymour) argued that users may not have read comments explaining the way to show gratitude is by accepting an answer: 1. I find that a bit "desperate" and "needy", I'm happier with an upvote by the OP, if an answer of mine has helped, even if it's a little, that's great. 2. Today if someone posts a comment encouraging (pushing?) the OP to accept an answer of theirs (not elegant) the OP is always notified. Aug 12, 2021 at 22:26
  • 3. I sometimes tell a user who has not accepted any answer despite asking dozens and dozens of questions and often receiving one or two answers that they need to accept an answer otherwise users will stop helping but only when I have not posted an answer myself. I do believe that there are some great writers/answers out there and they deserve recognition, but SE doesn't need to pressurize askers. Aug 12, 2021 at 22:31
  • In my opinion there actually should be pressure (≠ harassment) to either accept or upvote an answer if OP has already acknowledged it solves his issue. This is simply the way of saying thanks and showing to other visitors that will stumble on the question that the answer is useful. If that is not to be encouraged, and instead is "needy", "desperate" or "not elegant", then let's abolish reputation and badges and etc.
    – user1030427
    Aug 12, 2021 at 22:35
  • 1
    A person should be allowed to decide for themself. I have had good answers to questions of mine and yet I was not fully convinced or I could not decide between two or three answers and so I preferred not to accept a single answer. The time to add a bit of pressure is when a user posts something like 20 questions and never upvotes or accepts any answer that's the sort of behaviour I find annoying. Aug 12, 2021 at 22:40
  • Yes, a person is always, irrevocably allowed to decide for himself. That is not at stake. What is at stake is: Given a person (typically a new user) comments thank you, should or shouldn't him be nudged by a dialog box to a solution? By the way, I totally agree with your last sentence.
    – user1030427
    Aug 13, 2021 at 11:20
  • Feedback on your last edits: The circumstances that should lead one to accept an answer are clear enough once you're an experienced member or if you know where to look. Big ifs there. People will hardly read the instructions, because they're boring and buried in the help center (hopefully they'll take the tour though), so don't expect them to go hovering about every one of the elements in the user interface or notice their colors to see what they do.
    – user1030427
    Aug 15, 2021 at 21:16
  • What happened to figuring things out for oneself?! :) Many users are developers, scientists, engineers, programmers I would expect them to know how a User Interface works. The site can't be expected to spoon feed every newcomer. Cheeziz... and you may be shocked to learn but there are users who never or rarely vote, edit, or accept a single answer, despite all the comments and links. @LoremIpsum I think that if one is even slightly motivated, they figure out how accepting/upvoting work. Don't forget, you only need 15 rep to upvote. Aug 15, 2021 at 21:26
  • Ahh, now I get it. The upvote is to make sure this question is not bumped by community in the future. Wise move, maybe two upvotes will guarantee this post never resurfaces :) Sep 15, 2021 at 10:56

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