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Sometimes people ask questions and never bother to follow up and accept the (obviously correct) answer.

My solution is to downvote the question. Even if the question is good, they were too lazy to follow up, and they deserve the downvote.

Is there a better solution?

  • This has to be a dupe - but I couldn't find it. Someone give me a hand? – LevenTech Jul 4 at 9:38
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    Related: When is it justifiable to downvote a question? on Meta Stack Overflow. – Glorfindel Jul 4 at 9:54
  • I really just want to help with unanswered questions - and I'm sick of coming upon questions that ARE answered, just not accepted. Do I need to ask this question differently? – LevenTech Jul 4 at 10:01
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    @LevenTech And your solution to people not appreciating answers is to...make the questions look worse for it? Also, how do you know the answer is "obviously correct" or old enough for the asker to have seen it if it doesn't have a single upvote? And if it's not your answer, have you considered... upvoting the answer instead? – Chris says Reinstate Monica Jul 4 at 10:07
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    I can't tell you not to downvote, that's 100% your right, but I can tell you, like all others here, that's it's just wrong, morally. That's exactly what drives people away from Stack Overflow. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Jul 4 at 10:10
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    I'm 100% convinced that I'm doing the wrong thing - and I should find another solution. – LevenTech Jul 4 at 10:12
  • But I do NOT understand why it makes sense to downvote my question. Wouldn't we want to help people find the same answer? I don't care about the rep, I just don't understand – LevenTech Jul 4 at 10:15
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    My guess is that people downvoted your question because you're already providing an answer in it and people disagree with the answer. – Glorfindel Jul 4 at 10:21
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    I'm so sick of this site. I come here for help and I end up having to dig through tons of criticism to get it. A single answer of "upvoted answers drop questions off the unanswered list" would have helped me, and I'm sure other people. Instead I'm sitting here arguing with people on the internet. – LevenTech Jul 4 at 10:28
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    In response to your second comment: yes, you probably should've asked this differently. Right now, it appears you a.) Stumble across answers (not accepted, no upvotes) to questions while looking for unanswered ones and b.) Think that downvoting such a question is a solution to ... something? I can't find anything that says downvoting takes the post out of a list of unanswered questions... And your thing about 'solution' is kinda vague too, are you looking for a way to encourage accepting, to find really unanswered questions, to punish a lazy question author? – Tinkeringbell Jul 4 at 11:01
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    In response to your last: I'm sorry to hear you feel like 'you're arguing with people on the internet', because to me it looks like these people are trying to help you, not argue with you. They're just responding to the ambiguity in your question, and making it about the downvoting behaviour, instead of about the stuff you didn't include in there. – Tinkeringbell Jul 4 at 11:03
  • A "no, don't downvote those" answer to my question is great - and I super appreciate the people that gave me those. But all the downvotes for this question itself is essentaily saying that it's an invalid question - which it isn't. It's a serious question that deserves a serious answer. – LevenTech Jul 4 at 11:09
  • I was going to delete this question because I posted an actual solution (a feature request). But it's got downvotes and criticism already, and I can't take it. I might just quit the whole network. Someone please help me understand. Is there any meaningful purpose to this meta site beyond criticizing every good idea? meta.stackexchange.com/questions/330493/… – LevenTech Jul 4 at 11:19
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    Take a deep breath. It seems you're misunderstanding some fundamentals of how the unanswered questions list works, and it reflects itself in this question and your newer feature request, hence it got some downvotes and criticism. No need to quit the whole network, just a chance to learn more. Are you familiar with chat? Each site has their own meta site and chatroom, and those places are also good ones to get an understanding of how SE works. And chat doesn't have downvotes ;) – Tinkeringbell Jul 4 at 11:26
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    @LevenTech that's the point. When you downvote a question even if there are good answers, people will not see thus due to poor question score. I have upvoted your question due to good answers and comments. I hope you will edit your question little bit "positively" so that you can start to get upvote on this if you intend to let this question stay. – Ujjwal Jung Thapa Jul 10 at 4:21
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That's bad IMO.

You aren't voting for the quality of the content, but rather users' behavior (whether the author is following up is surely a behavior), which is a common mispractice of voting.

While it's your right and privilege to decide what and how to vote on, you had better not waste your time and votes for this kind of questions anymore.

(On Meta sites, one can also vote for agreement or disagreement, but usually still not for user behavior.)

  • "While it's your right and privilege to decide what and how to vote on" No, it's not. People don't have the right to vote on whatever they want however they want. In fact, voting on posts due to the author, rather than the usefulness of the post itself, is in fact voting fraud, and is against the rules (although it's often not enforceable, as is likely the case here, as there's unlikely to be sufficient evidence to prove the fraud). Just because proving voting fraud is very difficult doesn't mean people have some "right" to vote contrary to the usefulness of the post. – Servy Jul 5 at 13:33
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This sounds like a very bad reason to downvote and unhealthy to everyone involved, you, the asker, the community as a whole, SE's voting system, and not the least its reputation.

If that's the only reason why you're downvoting the question, especially if you yourself think it's actually a good question, you are downvoting for purely personal reasons, which you shouldn't. We vote for posts here, not users.

And not only that, you might even be wrong in your assessment of the asker. You don't know why they never followed up on accepting. They're most certainly not doing it because they're bad, most likely not even because they're "lazy". Maybe the answer isn't so "obviously correct". Maybe they want to give the question more time and encourage more answers. Maybe they just haven't found the time for fully engaging the answers yet. Or at "worst", maybe they even agree with your assessment but just don't know fully yet how SE works.

In the interest of the communities you participate in and also its users', I would strongly implore you to reconsider this approach. Vote abuse of this kind can really hurt a community, and I don't really believe negativity of this kind helps you either, certainly not on the long run.

What you could do is ask the asker if there are any unclarities you haven't adressed yet. But even if he doesn't answer your requests, please don't take that personal. Be happy about the upvotes you got on your answer, be proud you contributed a good answer to the site, and enjoy the reputation you got for it. Acceptance, however, really doesn't mean all that much. And if you're worried that your time was wasted on possibly helping someone who doesn't appreciate it, think of all the other users who upvoted your answer for helping them (and the future users yet to come).

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Even if the question is good, they were too lazy to follow up, and they deserve the downvote.

No. While you're free to downvote as you like, it's very much appreciated if you follow the golden rule: "Vote for the content, not for the author." It's a good question (you said it yourself), so vote it up.

Whether an answer is accepted or not doesn't really matter anyway. That's just one person's decision/opinion; whether an answer is good or not is better judged by the entire community, whose decision is reflected in the answer score, not in that checkmark or lack thereof.

Is there a better solution?

Sometimes leaving a comment helps. New users often aren't familiar with the etiquette here and simply don't know they can accept an answer (or edit their question to provide more details). Try to focus on the benefits for that user ("without more information we won't be able to help you") rather than trying to shove Stack Exchange rules down their throat; "without more information we'll close your question" is not really welcoming.

But not accepting it creates a drain on the whole site, because it looks "unanswered" and shows up when you filter that way.

If you suspect an answer would work (even though you can't test it) you can upvote the answer to remove the 'unanswered' status on the question. See Why does the "Unanswered Questions" tab show questions that have answers?

  • You're absolutely right - if I was more patient, I'd post a comment first. I'll try to be more patient. But there has to be a solution when the asker just gives up - how else can we get the answer marked as correct?] – LevenTech Jul 4 at 9:56
  • My main point is that the correct answer is (in most cases) the highest scoring one, whether it has a checkmark or not. – Glorfindel Jul 4 at 9:57
  • But not accepting it creates a drain on the whole site, because it looks "unanswered" and shows up when you filter that way. So again... what's the solution? – LevenTech Jul 4 at 9:58
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    A single upvoted answer causes the question not to be 'unanswered' anymore. – Glorfindel Jul 4 at 10:02
  • good point. But it doesn't help my problem. I'm going to edit this question to make that clear. – LevenTech Jul 4 at 10:04
  • If there's not anyone upvoting it (to make the question not look unanswered), then I'd challenge either the assessment of it being "obviously correct" or the time you spent waiting for acceptance already. – Chris says Reinstate Monica Jul 4 at 10:05
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    @LevenTech: "But there has to be a solution when the asker just gives up" No, there doesn't. Getting an answer accepted is not that important. – Nicol Bolas Jul 4 at 13:57
  • "While you're free to downvote as you like" No, it's not. People don't have the right to vote on whatever they want however they want. In fact, voting on posts due to the author, rather than the usefulness of the post itself, is in fact voting fraud, and is against the rules (although it's often not enforceable, as is likely the case here, as there's unlikely to be sufficient evidence to prove the fraud). Just because proving voting fraud is very difficult doesn't mean people have some "right" to vote contrary to the usefulness of the post. – Servy Jul 5 at 13:34

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