I have received several comments from people that don't like the fact that my "accept rate" is very low. Now, the reason being is that I don't "accept" questions as I don't see why my opinion is more important than of those who voted.

What's the point of letting the one who asked the question decide which is The Right Answer? Why is their opinion worth more than anyone else's? Why not let the votes decide which answer is correct?

Update: What I have against these features (the big green tick and especially the accept rate) is that it is too visible to other users. Though I do like to give extra reputation to people that helped me solve my problem.

Update 2: note that most problems have more than one solution. I can accept a suboptimal answer, whereas the voting system gives other users the ability to help making this decision.

  • Yes, I think I once tried out the feature :-)
    – Dimitri C.
    Aug 27, 2009 at 10:45
  • 13
    Can I mention your last line totally contradicts your reason for not accepting answers? If you like giving reputation to the correct answer why not do so by accepting it? Aug 27, 2009 at 10:47
  • 4
    To Update 2: You can combine suboptimal answers to a optimal one and accept that. And you do not need to get a 100% rate. Aug 27, 2009 at 12:38
  • The only question where you've marked an answer as accepted was the one where I specifically asked you to do it (the answer was obviously right). If I wouldn't have seen your acceptance rate, I wouldn't have asked you and the question would most certainly not have an accepted answer right now.
    – alex
    Sep 21, 2009 at 21:20

9 Answers 9


I don't see why my opinion is more important than of those who voted.

Your opinion os more important because it is YOUR Question. If you have a question that asks "How do I do X" and someone answers how to do X and that solves your problem, that is the accepted answer: The answer that solved your problem. Sure, there may be a different answer that explains why X may not be the best and how Y and Z might be better approaches, and this answer gets a lot of votes (rightfully), but did it solve your problem? Or is it more "Whoa, didn't know Y existed, going to use that for the next project!", in which case it should get an upvote but not necessarily accepted answer.

In my opinion, Questions on StackOverflow should be as specific as possible, so that there can be one specific answer that solves it. There are very few exceptions IMHO.

The default sorting ensures that other users will see: 1. Your Question, 2. Your Specific Answer, 3. The highest voted other answers. So users can see "Okay, the user has this problem, this is the solution to this problem, and here are some other approaches that seem to be popular with many people".

This also allows another user who has the same problem to see how you solved it. Because even though the "Don't do X, use Y and Z instead" answer may get most votes, another user who wants to solve X will gain a lot more from seeing how YOU solved X out of these answers.

  • Very well explained.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Aug 27, 2009 at 11:20

You are aware that by accepting an answer you gain 2 rep and the person you've accepted the answer from gains 15 reputation? This would be one of the reason it is recommend to accept the answer that solved your problem irrelevant of the votes.

Vorting does indicate the more correct answer, however in some scenarios the highest rated answer is not necessarily solving the particular problem you may have. Also when someone hits the site from Google that does not know about the voting, the first things they will look for is the green accepted answer tick. This is unfortunately from the site that shall not be named era of finding answers.

With regards to the update

The feature was requested by the community here on MSO. The reason for this is that people take a lot of time to write complete and good answers, hoping that theirs is the one that will be accepted as correct. Also the goal of SO is to be a repository of correctly answers questions that people can search and always find the latest information or solve a specific problem. Therefore the acceptance rate has been made visible to give users another reason to accept answers.


For me, the answer with the most votes is the answer I accept.

Really? Thats kind of arbitrary. If you don't care if the answer actually works and solves your problem, why don't you just accept based on the alignment of the stars or the burn pattern on your waffles?

  • You're right, I'll delete this from my question as it misses my point.
    – Dimitri C.
    Aug 27, 2009 at 10:37
  • 5
    I love the waffles' burn pattern :) Aug 27, 2009 at 10:58
  • 2
    My waffles never burn.
    – devinb
    Aug 27, 2009 at 11:35

You're the one who asked the question and by that, you should know if your problem has been fixed or solved. If it has, that's when you bring out the big tick love and award an accepted answer.

If it hasn't, then don't accept an answer. Update the question if you feel that you need to clarify any points wherein you would be able to find an answer that fits your needs.

Your opinion on your question matters more since you're the one who brought that problem to the fore in the first place.


What's the point of letting the one who asked the question decide which is The Right Answer?

Because no one but them can tell if it is the best.

Why is their opinion worth more than anyone else's?

Because the voters see the question, while the asker sees the problem.

The voters cannot check that the problem is solved, while the asker can.

And people that google for the same problem would like to find an answer that solves the problem, not the answer that convinces the others it's best.

Why not let the votes decide which answer is correct?

Because you cannot lie to the compiler.

Correct answer is the one that is correct, not the one that is most voted.

One of my answers I like most is quite counter-intuitive and was accepted with a negative score.


Reputation left aside, having an accepted answer that solves the specific problem at hand at the top of the answer list, clearly distinguished from the other answers by the green background, is one of the main goals of S[OFU]. If you do not want to participate in that goal, that is your choice. (Though I can't, for the love of God, understand why you object).

But accepting answers is an important part of the system, so Jeff et.al. added the acceptance rate feature, in order to encourage the users to accept answers (there were other things before this one, e.g. a reminder on your profile page). Making the accept tick so clearly visible is another detail that follows the same goal.

So, in a direct answer to your question is it overly visible, the answer is clearly No. It is not overly visible, because it is intended to be highly visible. status-by-design...

However, the root cause for your question is that you do not agree with the idea of accepting an answer. As I said, that's your choice. But the creators of S[OFU] have a different view on this matter, so I'm afraid you will have to live with their attempts to give you a little nudge now and then.

  • It surely is not only the creators of S[OFU] who have a different view. I solely want to know if questions have been solved. If I see an accept rate of zero (being today's rate for the question asker) then chances are high that I'm not going to read the existing answers to see if something is missing. Hence, next question. Of course, me skipping a question will not be a problem. But if the same is true for many others as well, then I'd say that the quality of answers for questioners who have a low accept rate might be lower than they could have been.
    – Arjan
    Sep 8, 2009 at 15:36

The other people who are voting are not testing all of the answers with your code. In a lot of cases, only you can tell us what worked the best to solve your specific problem.


The "accepted answer", in addition to helping those who come later find which answer solved your exact problem, is a way of saying thank you to someone who helped you. Answerers like to be thanked, it's only human.


As Jeff said, there will be some questions with no possibility of choosing one answer as the answer. However, this is not the case for most questions of a technical nature.

People who answer questions put time and effort into it. On most days, I hit the 200 point limit fairly quickly on SO. Accepted answers provide a reward for my effort that is not available based solely on votes. Plus, there is the recognition and appreciation by the OP for the effort I made to answer the question. Therefore, I consider it rude for the OP not to accept a full and correct answer to the question. Here are a couple of examples of what I mean: 822563 and 1009280.

I find the accepted answer rate a very useful aid in deducing if the poster is inclined to reciprocate in response to the effort put into the answers provided. Anything less than a 50% rate is a red flag.

But then, I am not very active in the fun and social tags.

  • 1
    "this is not the case for most questions of a technical nature": I'm sorry but I don't agree. Technical questions certainly have more than one answer most of the time. For example: how to iterate an std::vector in C++?
    – Dimitri C.
    Aug 27, 2009 at 12:40
  • "But then, I am not very active in the fun and social tags": that sounds like a disapproval :p
    – Dimitri C.
    Aug 27, 2009 at 12:49
  • Answers in the fun and social tags participate in a popularity contest. I am not active in those tags because I use SO as a motivator to increase my technical knowledge. Now, there can be many different, legitimate answers to technical questions, but usually at most one will be best for the OP's situation. It is important to know which one solved the OP's problem. Aug 27, 2009 at 13:31

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