I find a lot of the time users who don't accept answers are usually new(er) users. They don't know that the accept option is there or they just don't know how to do it. I know this because a lot of the time I'll add a comment as such:

Glad to help! If this answer helped you out you should accept it!

And they're comment back telling me they didn't know about it.

A lot of the time I notice they will add comments like:

If key words such as those are detected, there should be a small one liner telling them they should consider accepting the answer or maybe even go so far as to add a checkbox or button next to the comment to allow them to accept an answer. Maybe an illustrated example will help:

enter image description here


enter image description here

I know it seems like a small change but I think it'll help newer users learn about accepting answers.

Also, the accepting link points to How does accepting an answer work?

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    You seem to be under the impression that having an accepted answer is important. It is not. Having no answer accepted doesn't cause any real significant problems. There are so many more important things for new users to learn – Servy Oct 2 '13 at 14:31
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    I disagree. It is important. It gives you rep, shows what really helped the poster, it allowed users on SO who want to answer questions avoid questions that have already been answered, etc. Just read this – SeanWM Oct 2 '13 at 14:37
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    Up-votes show future readers what many users found helpful or useful, which is often more uvaluable than whether or not it helped the one OP. And in many cases the answer the OP accepted is simply the first answer, not necessarily the best answer; and in some cases the accepted answer is not even right. – Aaron Bertrand Oct 2 '13 at 14:38
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    I always very annoyed with people asking exactly that. Already less than 5 minutes after they put it. I wish there wasn't such a thing like accepted answers, just voting based whether it's a good answer or not, that's it. – Michael Oct 2 '13 at 14:42
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    @Michael Or if it just didn't give rep; if the checkmark in the UI was the end of it that'd be fine. – Servy Oct 2 '13 at 14:43
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    While I've been skeptical of earlier suggestions along those lines, I think a line saying something like "If this answer solved your problem, consider accepting it" would be a good solution. It's similar to the suggestion to explain downvotes, which itself tries to make an annoying comment ("@downvoter please explain") unnecessary – David Robinson Oct 2 '13 at 14:44
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    @Servy true indeed. It would at least stop this never ending annoying begging. "Could you please accept my answer?". I so hate that. – Michael Oct 2 '13 at 14:45
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    @Mołot That's nagging users to accept an answer, which you say you're against. – Servy Oct 2 '13 at 14:51
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    @Servy Lol. No, just because an answer didn't solve the original question, doesn't make it a comment. There are plenty of questions out there with great answers that, ultimately, didn't resolve the issue. I agree that I don't like people nagging with "please accept", but I also think that SeanWM's suggestion is a great one. – Robert Ryan Oct 2 '13 at 14:51
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    @Servy nope, it does not appear in comment list, does not appear in inbox, is visible only for few seconds and only if triggered by user's own action - way more delicate than what's happening now pretty often. When you downvote, do you feel someone is forcing you to comment? I'm talking about similar mechanism – Mołot Oct 2 '13 at 14:52
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    @RobertRyan If the answers are great then honestly, the site is working fine. Remember, the goal of the site is to create a repository of knowledge that can benefit the internet as a whole, not to just help the one person asking a question. Helping that person is a secondary goal. If great answers are being created, then we're good. If the OP feels that the great answer doesn't help them, they can (and usually do) comment indicating what their remaining problems are, in the event the answer needs to be improved. – Servy Oct 2 '13 at 14:53
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    @David but it doesn't. I see "down-voter please explain" all the time (and I've been guilty of it too, though more recently I've been flagging it as not constructive nonsense). – Aaron Bertrand Oct 2 '13 at 15:02
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    @AaronBertrand: I said it "tries to make it" unnecessary, not that it can eliminate it completely. In any case, I don't see how an automated suggestion for accepting is against the site's philosophy if an automated suggestion for commenting after downvoting isn't. It's true that accepting is entirely up to the OP, but it's equally true that commenting is entirely up to the downvoter. – David Robinson Oct 2 '13 at 15:05
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    @David they're different. Down-voting is a boolean. Trying to parse an OP's comment ("this worked" vs. "I up-voted the other answer because it worked better") is a little more complex. – Aaron Bertrand Oct 2 '13 at 15:13
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    Appears to be new request, voting to reopen. – Shadow9 Oct 2 '13 at 19:56

A couple of thoughts:

  1. Wording

    If this suggestion is pursued, I'd suggest some wording changes. Specifically, this seems to conflate the distinction between an up-vote (i.e. this was helpful, an option only available when you have sufficient reputation) and accepting an answer (i.e. this answered my question and it's the best solution I received). Simply being helpful doesn't make it a candidate for accepting.

    So, instead of "Did this answer help you?", perhaps "Did this answer your question?"

  2. User interface

    Instead of a separate message, maybe just clarify/supplement the text that appears in the existing comment box:

    enter image description here

My reservation on the suggested feature request is that I would like to see noobs wait a bit before accepting the first answer that popped in. Often, the first answer is not the best one, so I'm not sure we'd want to have a UI that led people to accept the first answer that came in.

Personally, rather than a one-liner that presumes to tell the author of the question what to do, I might simply suggest showing a link to What should I do when someone answers my question.

  • Good idea to link to the Help center rather than any other possible text. – Jonathan Drapeau Oct 2 '13 at 15:43

Oddly I was pondering this today. My thoughts are that if the user is fairly new, has several questions which have good answers (and the typical "this works!1!! thx!!1!!" comment) they may not fully understand the mechanics of SO. Here is a link for high-rep cred ;)

Anyway, here is my proposed comment in these situations:

I've noticed that you've asked several questions that have received successful, helpful answers but you haven't accepted any of them. Here are a couple useful links that describe the typical StackOverflow QA etiquette: What should I do when someone answers my question? and How does accepting an answer work?

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