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A lot of times I will answer a question, OP will post "Thanks very much!" And then leave, not accepting the answer that fixed their problem. I know I can just give them a gentle reminder (asking them to consider accepting), and on most occasions I do and they do end up accepting, but the site should be intuitive enough for them to do this by themselves. So when they post "Thank you" or "Thanks" the site could display a tool tip saying to "accept the answer if it helped best".

enter image description here

The message on the image could be changed to be less forceful I guess.

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    You may wish to provide a screenshot of the proposed interface, to help understanding. Apr 20, 2013 at 14:43
  • People already get a notification that they can accept answers. (Just have to find the screenshot/reference)
    – slhck
    Apr 20, 2013 at 14:48
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  • Should you get downvotes, then keep this in mind: meta.stackoverflow.com/faq#vote-differences ;)
    – Bart
    Apr 20, 2013 at 14:49
  • Seems like a duplicate of that answer before which suggested this, I should delete this then?
    – jamylak
    Apr 20, 2013 at 14:56
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    @jamylak No, not really. The answer is not a feature-request. We close for duplicate questions. Not for a question to be a duplicate of something said in an answer. So you're free to leave this here.
    – Bart
    Apr 20, 2013 at 14:58
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    Tagging this status-review because it's conceivably part of "New user onboarding" as indicated here.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Nov 16, 2021 at 19:35
  • @Glorfindel the bounty runs out soon, is it likely that there'll be a decision/answer in that time frame? Nov 18, 2021 at 20:49
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    @Pureferret nope, extremely unlikely. However, that tag more or less ensures it'll get an official answer from staff in the near future (weeks/months, not years). (I should probably write a SEDE query for that...) And the answer may be 'not now but perhaps later' (unclear when) or 'we won't do it'.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Nov 18, 2021 at 23:14
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    @Glorfindel my guess is 6-8 weeks Nov 18, 2021 at 23:15
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    I updated to status-declined because the developers don't have current plans to build this. It's on their radar though so if it's in scope to pick up in the future we'll update the status at that time.
    – Rosie StaffMod
    Nov 23, 2021 at 18:33
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    So what you are actually saying is that you defer this, but then tag it as declined, @Rosie?
    – Luuklag
    Nov 23, 2021 at 19:10

4 Answers 4

19

Accepting answers is an entirely optional activity. Users are not required to accept answers, and should not be compelled, badgered or otherwise nudged to accept answers. We removed accept rate for this very reason.

If the OP has never accepted an answer to their questions (and therefore appears unaware of the feature), you can (one time only) provide them a link to How does accepting an answer work?

Note that the OP is already notified about accepting answers if they are under 1000 rep and they upvote one of the answers posted to their question.

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    The main problem is that new users who don't even have the upvote privilege are not aware of the accept button and just say thanks in the comments.
    – Antony
    Apr 20, 2013 at 17:19
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    Refer to the part of my answer where it says that accepting answers is optional.
    – user102937
    Apr 20, 2013 at 17:20
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    So if new users will never be taught how to accept answers just because it's an optional feature, why remind users who do have the upvote privilege that they can also accept answers? The way I see it, the reason people are complaining about new users not accepting answers is not because they think askers are obligated to accept answers, but that on top of being optional, the feature is so undiscoverable that, by your logic, the entire feature should be scrapped altogether since there's no point in getting anybody to use it. Apr 20, 2013 at 17:28
  • @BoltClock'saUnicorn: Refer to the second paragraph in my answer.
    – user102937
    Apr 20, 2013 at 17:30
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    Why does the system remind experienced users to accept answers if it doesn't teach new users how to use it on the basis of it being optional? On second thought, that's probably a separate discussion altogether. Apr 20, 2013 at 17:31
  • @RobertHarvey This feature request essentially means notifying the OP that they can accept the answer when they say "thank you so much" in the comments, just like the one you cited in your third paragraph, without the answerer having to remind the new users about it.
    – Antony
    Apr 20, 2013 at 17:33
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    Folks, accepting questions is optional. The OP doesn't ever have to accept one. Just link them to the meta post if you think they don't know how. I can think of much more important things to be spending developer time on.
    – user102937
    Apr 20, 2013 at 17:34
  • @BoltClock'saUnicorn: In addition, we've had to message some people who were pestering users to accept answers, and I'd really prefer not to bake such behavior into the system.
    – user102937
    Apr 20, 2013 at 17:49
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    The difference between "the system" pestering new users to accept answers, and "other users" pestering new users to accept answers is that "other users" is made of people that don't coordinate between them to decide if a user should be pestered, while "the system" is made of a single entity that doesn't suffer of coordinating problems. Also, "the system" would be able to select the users that should get a reminder, since it has all the necessary data, and it is a program. "The system" doesn't use comments as reminders for accepting answers.
    – apaderno
    Apr 20, 2013 at 20:02
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    I am not saying I am in favor of this reminder, or not. I am just pointing out there is a difference between what I group of people do and what a program does.
    – apaderno
    Apr 20, 2013 at 20:04
  • there are already "+1/-1" detection and other heuristics, why not that one? Apr 23, 2018 at 19:10
  • Apart from gaining some rep to an accepted answer what difference does it make if it’s accepted or not? You also have the option of another answer being better than the one being badgered for acceptance.
    – Dan K
    Nov 20, 2021 at 14:17
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Keep in mind that there is no expiration date on accepts. It's not uncommon to post a great answer, collect a series of upvotes from the community, and then over the course of several months to a year, collect accepts from users who go back through their old posts and accept the answers that helped them the most.

It's important to keep in mind that we don't ask users to upvote our posts. An accept is a one time 15 reputation increase, but upvotes can yield considerably more reputation if the post receives many upvotes.

So, don't focus on the green checkmark. Instead, just move on to the next question that needs an awesome answer and focus on answering it for future visitors, not just the op, as it's future visitors who you'll gain the most reputation from.

If your answers are great, you may look in your reputation history one day and see that user1234 from 9 months ago accepted your answer, so don't worry about this too much as it will likely work itself out in the end.

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    Now accept rate isn't displayed publicly I suspect this will become less common for people to bother going through old posts. Apr 20, 2013 at 19:28
  • @MartinSmith - It depends on the person. Some people may, some people may not. But it's hardly the most significant component of reputation, and it's not worth adding bias to the process by making people more apt to accept something that didn't solve the problem. With that said, I don't think it's wrong to gently remind someone who has never accepted answers that there is a process, but I also hope people don't get too hung up on a measly 15 reputation points either. :) Hope this helps!
    – jmort253
    Apr 20, 2013 at 20:24
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    I'm not asking for the sake of myself, I could just remind each person, im asking to help the site properly use its features
    – jamylak
    Apr 21, 2013 at 7:53
  • Accepts have an added bonus of being exempt from rep cap. Some people want that extra today, and not some other day.
    – tshepang
    May 20, 2013 at 18:54
7

I have often seen new users leaving a comment to thank each answerer that attempted to solve the problem (even the ones that are incorrect). It would be pretty annoying to have that message pop up every time you left a comment containing the word "thanks". Especially if your comment was: "Thanks, but this doesn't solve my problem because XYZ" or "Thanks, but I prefer [other user]'s answer because [reason other answer is better]".

I guess my point is that there are a lot of contexts in which you could thank someone without wanting to accept their answer, and an automated system would be blind to such context.

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    How about "Thanks. It works."? It is very common to see new users leaving this type of comments and leave. But you are right, it would be hard for an automated system to deal with this sort of complication.
    – Antony
    Apr 20, 2013 at 17:43
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    It wouldn't be very annoying, even if you say thanks for some other reason. just a small tool tip.
    – jamylak
    Apr 21, 2013 at 0:08
-1

Oh, yeah, accepting is their choice; we shouldn't make them, even if this does happen!

No accept

Even if it does solve the problem and they don't accept, in a matter of 1-13 hours, someone'll feel pity and upvote, right? And accepts never expire, the next day they'll probably accept anyways!

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    I've gotten accepts on answers over a year later before! heh Feb 17, 2014 at 17:46

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