I have noticed a few questions that I have answered, or that have answers, which do not have an accepted answer, mainly because the OP does not come back and flag these answers as accepted, or the OP doesn't come back to the site. At times the correct answer is listed but there is noone to accept it.

What is the correct way of handling these questions?

6 Answers 6


Throw the answer you see as correct some upvote goodness. That way the answerer gets some recognition even if the asker is never to return. And people drifting by will be able to see what others believe as the correct answer.

  • Throw? Do you mean upvote or anything? Jun 30, 2012 at 11:07
  • The sentence could be red like this: "Throw some upvotes to the question you regard as correct" :)
    – Erenor Paz
    Aug 31, 2013 at 14:43

My first reaction was to say "Leave them alone".

It's up to the OP whether they accept the answer or not. They don't "owe" it to anyone to do anything once they've posted their question.

On further reflection you might do some good by up-voting the good/best answers or down-voting (with comments) the bad/worst answers. This will show up on the OP's recent activity page (if they are a regular visitor) and might prompt them to accept an answer.

  • I disagree in a way because people who google the question will be left unsure since no answer is marked correctly.
    – redsquare
    Jul 8, 2009 at 11:16
  • 3
    redsquare: then the people who google the question can try out the answers and provide up votes if they so choose to the one that works for them. Eventually one will separate from the others.
    – TheTXI
    Jul 8, 2009 at 11:19
  • The voting on the answers will also provide someone who comes in via Google some guidance on the answers as the ones with most votes should be the better ones.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Jul 8, 2009 at 11:42
  • TheTXI: surely if there is an obvious answer it can be marked as such. Thus avoiding someone the pain of testing various answers.
    – redsquare
    Jul 8, 2009 at 12:28

Generally I look at the questioner's rep and account page to determine if they commonly leave questions unanswered.

If they frequently don't answer questions, I consider that rude and I'm less likely to leave an answer for them in the future.

If they usually do answer questions and just didn't do it this time, I consider re-working my answer to be more complete and hopefully encourage them to select my answer.


I've frequently seen questions where the Accepted answer is one of the crummiest ones on the page! And right below it is a better answer that everyone is upvoting - but the OP isn't paying attention anymore.

Example (accepted answer not totally wrong, but clearly incomplete): How do foreach loops work in C#?

The moral is: users have to learn to take the green tick with a pinch of salt. It's really only a single vote, so it counts for much less than a high number of upvotes.


I normally create a comment about it on the question concerned. If the user acts on it, I can always remove the comment or issue a thank you. Most users will react fine to such comments; most just don't know or forgot about the question.

Others don't any may leave stackoverflow. This is fine by me: less persons that don't give a shit about stackoverflow community. It's better for them to leave than to have the equivalent of a StackOverflow troll.

For me it is not so much that a question has to be accepted for the points. It's more that they keep drawing attention even though valid answers have been accepted. This is especially true for less used tags (almost all my points are on [encryption], highest upvote = 5 at the time of writing) where questions generally get less upvotes, stay longer in the "newest" queue and are therefore much trickier to filter out.


Lesson learned from my side: This system makes people only answer questions from people that already have some reputation (and by that know how SO works). There are two answers from me that are totally valid and help everyone that will find it, but the answer was not accepted, as I am sure these people just saw the answer and were fine, not hinking of accepting it.

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