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Some time ago users' accept rate has been removed from their flair. I can understand the rationale behind this decision (even if I disagree), so I won't discuss it here.

From my point of view, this has made a problem even more evident. Many users (more because no one tells them they have to accept some answer) will forget to do it (or they just don't care) and they'll ask questions again and again (I don't want to talk about reasons for this behavior).

Accepted answers are an important part of Stack Overflow (both to help future visitors with the same problem find the right answer, and to encourage newbies to answer a question).

What I suggest is to strongly encourage OPs to accept answers. Let's say that a user with a too small accept rate (but with a high number of questions) can't ask more questions. I would consider a delay as warning (wait 30 seconds before you can post your question if you're near that threshold).

Why this? Because accepted answers are an important part of Stack Overflow: they help future readers to quickly find what works (votes are often not enough). They help who is looking for open questions to skip them. They give an extra compensation (not right word, I know) for whom answered.

If accepted answer is an old concept (and down/up votes are more important) then I think it should be dropped (or its name changed to something more meaningful). Of course I think it shouldn't so users must be educated to use it.

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    Please explain why people not accepting answers is a bad thing? What exactly is the problem with it (considering that upvotes are how the community tells good answers from bad)? – Oded Dec 30 '13 at 9:36
  • @Oded no, I maean: if their accept rate is low (belowe an arbitrary threshold plus some rules) then they can't ask a new questions. – Adriano Repetti Dec 30 '13 at 9:36
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    Why? What does that solve? What problem? You seem to correlate low accept rate with low quality questions - if so, I'd like to see the data you base this on. – Oded Dec 30 '13 at 9:37
  • @Adriano whose fault is it if they don't get acceptable answers? I wish someone could promise me acceptable answer on each and every of my questions... – Mołot Dec 30 '13 at 9:38
  • @Oded sorry if I've not been clear. No, questions may be even high quality. I mean that many users don't care to accept answers. That's why I would stop them to ask if they don't improve accept rate. – Adriano Repetti Dec 30 '13 at 9:40
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    I will ask again then - why is this a problem?; You are asking for a change but have not demonstrated the concrete benefit (say we do so and more people accept answers - why is that good?) – Oded Dec 30 '13 at 9:41
  • @Mołot just "roam around": you'll see comments like "thank you, it helped" but answer isn't accepted. Other times just silence but answer is obviously right. – Adriano Repetti Dec 30 '13 at 9:41
  • @Oded because accepted answers are a main part of SO! They highlight what works. They help to highlight right solution (for others). They stop users to browse that question to provide a new answer. – Adriano Repetti Dec 30 '13 at 9:43
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    No. Upvotes and downvotes are the main part. That is what you should look at - not the subjective check mark that an OP uses to mean "I have found this to help me most". I have seen accepted answers that were completely wrong and other answers on the same question that were right had many more upvotes. – Oded Dec 30 '13 at 9:44
  • @Adriano If I see comment like that, I kindly ask OP what this answer is lacking and how it needs to be improved to get an "accept" mark from him. If you are willing to provide acceptable answers for users, simply do the same! – Mołot Dec 30 '13 at 9:45
  • @Oded right but on the other side even votes aren't enough to highlight what works (I have a recent question where most upvoted answer was just...completely wrong). I think if SO keeps "accepted answer" concept then it should be encouraged otherwise it may be simply dropped. – Adriano Repetti Dec 30 '13 at 9:49
  • @Mołot IMO then we risk to go back to same issues we had when accept rate was in flair. I really think that if SO has this concept then it has to be enforced. If it's not important then it should be dropped (or name changed to something more meaningful). – Adriano Repetti Dec 30 '13 at 9:53
  • @Adriano I agree - SO should enforce that all askers gets an acceptable answer. Idea is great. But how to force answerers to write that answers? Who to punish for the fact that question is unanswered or answerers didn't worked quite to the asker's satisfaction? How and who to force to write acceptable answers where there are none yet? – Mołot Dec 30 '13 at 9:57
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    ChrisF described some reasons why it might matter @Oded, nothing to do with the OP but the perception of how a SE site works. If you re-run the query in my question the incidence of acceptance has continue to drop. If acceptance doesn't matter then it doesn't matter but if it does... – ben is uǝq backwards Dec 30 '13 at 10:12
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    They are important enough to make users post them at random to avoid autoban? It seems a strange idea to wreck a tool for the very reason it is important. You usually don't want this, quite the opposite. – Mołot Dec 30 '13 at 10:48
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It is already encouraged using two things:

  1. You get 2 rep points if you accept an answer.
  2. There is a badge that you can earn when you accept an answer for the first time.
  • I know but this doesn't help enough (just look stats of accepted answers). For the badge you just need one accepted answer. IMO for too many users when you solved your problem then you're OK (they don't care - sorry if this sounds too strong - about community itself). – Adriano Repetti Dec 30 '13 at 9:38
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    As far as I remember there is even popup that appear when you upvote an answer, telling you that you can mark it as accepted. Yep, found it. – ShaWiz Dec 30 '13 at 9:48
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    @ShadowWizard who said they'll upvote? LOL – Adriano Repetti Dec 30 '13 at 9:50
  • @Adriano well, upvoting is a more obvious action. :) – ShaWiz Dec 30 '13 at 9:52
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    @ShadowWizard: Not if the OP has less than 15 rep. – ProgramFOX Dec 30 '13 at 9:52
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Accepted answers are often not a good thing, and I, for one, would be happy if they went away.

All too often, ignorant or quirky askers accept answers that are wrong. Yet that big green check influences positioning on the page and behavior. We have to hope that google searchers actually figure out that 'the big green check means that the person with the aluminum foil hat liked the rhyme scheme of this answer; if you want to know what the community thought, stick with the vote totals'

  • I may even agree to completely remove "accepted answer" concept, especially when they're misused (or half ignored). If (according to Ben's statistics) only half questions has an accepted answer then they're going to be even more confusing. I just can't imagine how SO can be refactored to remove them... – Adriano Repetti Dec 30 '13 at 12:35

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