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As others have mentioned, it is incredibly frustrating to answer a question and then never have the asker accept any of the responses as the answer.

It's not only frustrating as someone who likes to help by answering questions even if there's already discussion going on, but it often causes the wrong answers to show up first/sooner in search results.

There don't seem to be any hats this year for accepting answers.

I can personally attest that Winter Bash hats have already incentivized me; I want to earn more hats, they're adorable! But then the same frustration arises as before with un-accepted answers...it's a rather annoying cycle that keeps me (and I would bet others) from participating to the fullest.

Are hats for accepting something we can hope for, or are there reasons it would be a horrible idea?

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Accepting isn't generally something we (as Community Managers) feel is necessary for a question. It serves a purpose and is a way of indicating the answer someone felt was the most useful but accepts are something we found it was generally better not to make a big deal about. In fact, we've removed features that highlighted things like accept rate because it led to issues.

I admit that users often have a vastly different opinion of the value of accepting an answer, so please don't interpret this as saying those lines of thought are wrong... but I've seen enough people stressing over their answers not getting accepted to know that I'd rather people feel like accepts are a bonus - like a small bounty - rather than something that is required or expected.

Additionally, an accept isn't fixed - if someone wanted the hat, they could accept an answer, wait for the hat to be awarded, and then just unaccept the answer again... so would potentially lead to people gaming their accepts just to get the hat.

Other issues could include things like people prematurely accepting an answer. Some of our sites encourage askers to wait a while to see if a subsequent answer may be more helpful or clear.

Anyway, I can't say that we'll never have one, or even that we've not had one in the past... but it's not generally something that I think of as a trigger when looking to create a hat.

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    Perhaps it could be a secret hat? After all, I think you said somewhere that secret hat triggers are things you wanted hats for but didn't want to encourage people to do. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Dec 16 '20 at 23:58
  • @SonictheK-DayHedgehog Not everything has to be a secret hat ;) – Spectric Dec 17 '20 at 2:26
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    @Catija Thank you for that insight! I can totally see your points as well as the other side of the coin. I wonder then if having the idea of a single "accepted" answer isn't setting UX up for having the same mindset as I do – Tammy Shipps Dec 17 '20 at 3:11

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