I've read almost whole SE Help Center, I am personally active on JoomlaSE by answering, reviewing and commenting posts almost every day, and I am slowly begining to understand what does Q&A network stand for, and that this is not a Facebook (Thank God for that) or any similar Social Network type of site(s).

But it still buggs me a lot when I see so many questions from first-time users (single digit reputation), which HAVE BEEN ANSWERED (and often answered correctly by veterans), but NEVER ACCEPTED or even re-visited by questioneers. Most of the time when I check their profile, the very same time when they asked the question is listed as 'Last seen'. It is more than obvious that for the majority of 'first-time users', question asked means 'only-time users'. It often happens that answers even get upvoted but never accepted.

I am almost certain that the lack of default email notification for the answered questions is to blame for the fact that people looking for quick answer never return to JSE (or any other site from SE network). If they would have been notified by system's email that someone had answered their question, I am sure they would have come back to see the answer. Then they would have either accepted the answer, or posted additional comment, thus begun to act on expected way.

I have checked whole SE Help Center and haven't found a word mentioning email notification. I realise that it sounds more Facebook-ish than creators of SE would like to hear, but I'll bet you any money that first-time users assume that they will receive email notification the moment their question gets answered. I am afraid that without something so normal and expected as system email notification of most important action on site, we will always have bunch of first-time questions which will never be revisited or accepted.

I have found similar but somewhat different questions on JSE/Meta: Old questions are still not marked as solved - What should be the action here? and Marking Questions as Answered

What are your thoughts on this matter?

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    Note that many first time users don't bother reading the help center/tour/comments. They don't care about making the site a better place - all they want is someone to do something for them. As such they post a question, get an answer then disappear and never come back. Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 0:15
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    I think the best people to answer this would be the people who you're saying aren't here anymore... Answers to this question would most likely then be speculative.
    – Werner
    Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 5:32
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    @angussidney you're right, I figured that much so far, and I personally don't have a problem with that, it's same as in real life, isn't it?
    – Mikan
    Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 9:12
  • @Werner true too... Only people who can answer why are they not accepting any answer are them who never come back to see that answer . It's like a 'Chicken or the egg' kind of puzzle.
    – Mikan
    Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 9:21

1 Answer 1


Accepting an answer is never a requirement. Quoting from here,

The bottom line is that you should accept the answer that you found to be the most helpful to you, personally.

If none of the answers help you, then don't accept any. They may get upvotes because others find them helpful, but if they don't help you, there shouldn't be any pressure to accept them.

Obviously, it's recommended that you try to improve the question (or start a bounty) to try to get answers that will help you more. But you might never find one.

Why accept an unhelpful answer?

Yes, it's most likely true that there are many users who pop in, get an answer, and pop out. That leads to a "Hey, there's not much we can do" situation. You can't force people to accept an answer. True, maybe there could be a pop-up or email notification, and that could certainly increase the rate of accepted answers.

But again, this would have to be done in a way that doesn't make people feel like they have to accept an answer.

Regarding the idea of notifying the asker via some means: This has been suggested many times. Even notifications for answers have been suggested, often with some support. I do agree that it is always good to notify an asker of answers. But telling them to accept an answer via these notifications is a bit much.

As Grace Note wrote

Putting pressure on the question asker with a blaring message of "WAKE UP!" can be disruptively rude.

The proposal there was sending a private message to the asker to accept an answer - much ruder than what you're suggesting. But the response is the same: Pressuring the asker to accept an answer is a bit rude - impolite, at the least.

  • Hello @HDE226868, you are right when saying we can't force people to accept an answer, and this is no my intention either. All I am wondering is 'Why is there no concept of email notification of answered question around here on SE network?'
    – Mikan
    Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 9:08
  • @MirkoMikan Edited.
    – HDE 226868
    Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 16:16
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    With 'real' problems, I've found that I usually always accept an answer, because the answer solves an actual problem that I am facing. With a lot of 'knowledge' questions, I've found myself to accept less, often because answers list different helpful points, or because I think that adding a checkmark would be negative since it implies that there is a sole correct answer. I've been told to "accept one at random", "accept the one with the most votes" - but don't let the pressure take over you. It's completely your discretion to accept an answer that actually helps you.
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 16:44
  • @Zizouz212 that is true, I would have done it same way, but I myself very rarely ask a questions. I came on JSE originally looking for a way to help fellow Joomlers and return a favor of learning everything I know about Joomla from the community, and not looking for a help. That is why I always upvote the answers I learn something from, and sometimes even the questions which I find to help raise some 'problems'.
    – Mikan
    Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 18:03
  • Thank you @HDE 226868 on your edit of your answer. This is the first time that I saw discussion regarding email notifications of answers, and that idea has been suggested many times. It is more than obvious that majority decided not to pursue that course of action, and now, after reading all these answers and comments, I also agree with them. Thank you all...
    – Mikan
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 9:12
  • I know this is an old question, but it's been bugging me. It's pretty thankless when you don't even get the rep for answering a question. Many of the questions I've answered required a lot of work on my part, with screenshots and step-by-step guides, and then...crickets. I stopped answering questions because of it. While I agree the OP shouldn't be forced to accept an answer, I'd also argue that if you get upvotes, your answer is clearly useful to the community at large...but yet someone who finds your answer useful can't re-ask a question or it'll be flagged as a duplicate.
    – Dale
    Commented Jan 27, 2019 at 7:55

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