I have a situation where different users have asked questions and I answered them. The problem is not that they haven't accepted the answer which can tell me that it is correct or not. But they are actually not responsive and it seems to me that answer is being ignored. Or they asked the question just for the sake of asking.

See this question-the user was last seen yesterday, the same day it was answered.

this one-the user was last seen today.

this one which is also upvoted by a fellow user, but the OP is seen till days after it was answered and is not even commenting.

I went through a lot of question on meta on similar situation such as this question where Anna says that it is completely voluntary for users to accept it.

But then again, I believe it is becoming a fashion, to ask a question read the answer as a suggestion and leave it.

It is discouraging me. I am not saying that my answers or suggestions are 100 percent working but I atleast need be told so I can improve it. And more importantly I am not the only one facing this.

Please advise.

EDIT : Well, I got a lot of suggestions from the answers and comments combined below and I have to say that I agree with what Cody Gray has to say and just keep on answering the questions, the returns(good or bad) may be now,later or never and just move on. However, in my own defence I would also say that I did not raised this question to pin point any user but a bad practice that I find worthy of discussing. Thanks.

  • 2
    That first question would get my downvote because of the lack research of the OP. Given that fact your answer is daunting precise. It scares me off and I've read the HL7 specs and used some tools around it....Don't be to worried, you're doing fine...
    – rene
    Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 14:17
  • 5
    Yes, that happens a lot. It's kind of frustrating at first, but then, if you wrote a good Answer, months later someone makes a Comment, "hey, this works great", and upvotes go pinging, and you realize you did a good job ;)
    – brasofilo
    Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 14:43
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    You're too impatient. Two of these are from yesterday. One has been accepted since you posted that question. Maybe the asker of the other one is waiting to test your answer when he goes back to work on Monday. For the third one, maybe your answer isn't as precise as he'd like (you're pointing him at one part of the documentation, maybe he doesn't understand that documentation and hopes for an answer that explains what's going on? Obviously I'm speculating.). And please do not badger askers into accepting your answer. It's rude and not constructive. Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 15:26
  • 1
    @Gilles About your last point, it depends.
    – bfavaretto
    Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 16:39
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    @bfavaretto When they indicate you've answered their question. This wasn't the case here. Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 16:43
  • @Gilles Right, I took your sentence out of context (maybe because it's in bold).
    – bfavaretto
    Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 16:51
  • 1
    I agree with @Gilles, you're being impatient. It's also the weekend and not everyone is glued to SO after beer-o-clock on a Friday. Also some users need time to digest answers before accepting or coming back to you with feedback etc.
    – Kev
    Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 17:20
  • @gilles I was not badging or forcing someone to accept the answer i gave, I was just raising a point a situation which many are going through.Okay it may be possible that the OP realised it and accepted the answer just after I posted something on meta(coincidence) but again..those were only 3 examples I can think of providing here.
    – Sid
    Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 18:44
  • @gilles I understand the point you are trying to make.
    – Sid
    Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 19:23

4 Answers 4


I believe it is becoming a fashion, to ask a question read the answer as a suggestion and leave it.

That is not correct. You may have experienced this a couple of times recently, but there is no evidence of a larger trend. Anecdotally, I have had many of my answers accepted on Stack Overflow over the past couple of weeks.

Of course, if your answers tend to be primarily suggestions, as opposed to actual answers, that's a good explanation for why users might be doing this. Answers are supposed to provide a complete, self-contained solution to the problem being asked about. And if the asker does not find them to be useful or correct, they are encouraged not to accept them to signal that they are still unsatisfied.

Aside from that, it is also a good idea to hold off on accepting an answer to a brand new question. If you accept the first answer you get, you are less likely to receive additional answers. Which means you'll miss out on wisdom that other members of the community can share. What if your solution works, but there is a better way that neither you nor the asker knew about? Someone else might come along and post that, and that should be the accepted answer.

Sure, you can change the accepted answer later, and experienced users know that they should always post a better solution as an answer even if one has already been accepted, but not everyone knows that. And even some experienced users are hesitant to spend too much time and energy for the same reasons you express in your question: they are worried they won't get the accepted checkmark!

It has only been a day or so since the first two questions were posted. There's no reason to expect people to accept an answer this quickly.

And the third question, well, maybe that guy got busy. Or his Internet connection went down. Or he was abducted by aliens. Who knows? Certainly we don't.

Or they asked the question just for the sake of asking.

There is really nothing wrong with that! Remember that our goal here is two-fold:

  1. To help individual users who have a question


  2. To build up a comprehensive library of high-quality answers to programming questions.

So we are not just here for the person who originally asked the question, but anyone else who comes along later with the same question. If your answers are useful and correct, they're still serving their purpose, regardless of whether or not they get accepted. Or the person who originally asked the question pays any attention to them.

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    agreed, but the OP does not even care to even comment on it or signal that I have read your answer and I am working on it. That is disappointment.
    – Sid
    Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 14:30
  • sorry i cant vote up your post I have less rep.
    – Sid
    Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 14:31
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    @Sid in that case, just leave the question be. There will be occasional disappointment when putting lots of energy in good answers. There's nothing you can do, and it happens to everyone.
    – Pekka
    Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 15:07

You will find, as a general rule, that good questions lead to satisfying interactions, and less good questions, less so.

If you are in a philanthropic mood, go ahead and answer a mediocre question. As others have pointed out, you may do some good for some later reader. But keep in mind that bad questions do not do a good job of helping other people find them and use their answers, so don't be too hopeful.

If you are not in such a mood, then stay away from mediocre questions. We all know the signs of a mediocre question. Aside from the general taxonomic indications of the help vampire, look for:

  1. Dubious syntax, punctuation, and spelling. Yes, there are people here for whom English is not their first language, but the professionals somehow manage to produce more or less standard English.
  2. Bizarre, egotistical, or otherwise cringe-inducing user ids.
  3. No userid at all. There are exceptions to this one, but my view is that the general run of 'userXXXXXX' users are below average.

Having written all of this, I entirely agree with other answerers who offer the thought that different users operate on different time scales.

Finally, no one owes you any interaction at all around here. We don't dun people for acceptances, and we shouldn't dun them for anything at all. Someone asks, you answer. Done. End of story. If you feel a strong need for closure, you could try adding a line to your answers asking for it -- but I can imagine some people finding that to be noisy and perhaps even downvote-worthy.


If it is a good answer, and people find it useful, you will get upvotes. This will eventually lead to the Tenacious badge, which is probably my favorite badge to have earned. :o)

Yes, it gets a little frustrating. But you have to figure that a certain percentage of people aren't interested in the "community", they're interested in an answer to a question and may never come back until they have another question. That's not a knock on SO or the community who DOES care, it's just the nature of the beast.

Also, take into account that SO use is WORLDWIDE. My job is 8:30 to 4:30 EST, and I personally have been interacting with a user in the UK. When I'm asleep, they're hard at work. Sometimes it takes a while for a response.


I see that frequently and share your frustration. It happens not just with answers, but also when the OP is asked for additional information. It's disappointing when OP does not respond. And we lose an opportunity to improve the quality of answers, and questions, too.

You asked for advice. I don't know if there is a solution; this may be something we just have to live with. However, occasionally I try a comment like this:

"Is this question still unresolved? If so, please tell us what more you need. TIA."

(I added the comment text instead of just the link, because I will delete the comment if OP responds.)

I chose that approach to focus on "how can we get you what you need?" It seems innocuous, not lobbying OP to accept any answer. And no-one has objected yet.

OTOH, those attempts have met with little success.

Personally, I believe I can contribute more effective by spending my time on questions where the OP is responsive and an active partner in helping us help him find the best solution to his problem. Now the challenge becomes how to identify that type of OP sooner. :-)

  • 1
    HAUFA? (How about using fewer acronyms?) People might not know what "TIA" means. Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 15:33
  • Yeah, I can spell out TIA if I ever post another of those comment requests.
    – HansUp
    Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 15:43
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    FWIW, IDK WTF TIA and OTOH mean... Good advice nevertheless.
    – bfavaretto
    Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 16:34

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