Concerns have been raised in other questions that accept rate discourages asking hard questions.

In the light of that, wouldn't it be reasonable that expired bounties do not count towards the accept rate? If a bounty has been put on a question, and it has expired without an answer being accepted (or even auto-accepted), that's arguably proof that the OP did everything in his power to get an acceptable answer.

I'm assuming that the idea of accept rate is to identify those who just keep asking questions, without contributing to the community by marking answers as accepted, but correct me if I'm wrong here...? Based on that assumption, I don't see why the accept rate should be affected in said scenario, as that is obviously not what's going on.

If there were good answers, that the OP just did not bother to accept, they would be auto-accepted by pure virtue of being good answers, since it is a fundamental concept of the site that the quality of an answer should be reflected in its votes, so this scenario, too, should be out of scope for the discussion.


3 Answers 3


Now that the bounty system has been changed, bounties are no longer attached to accepted answers. As such, questions with expired bounties are in fact fully eligible for the accept rate because there is no longer anything which is restricting the ability to accept answers. No more irreversible black stains. Not to mention the bounties are no longer required to come from the person who asked the question, so it would be mechanically awkward to implement this kind of thing (someone else is affecting my accept rate?).

So from a mechanical standpoint, it is now perfectly fine for the accept rate to apply to questions with expired bounties, because bounties are irrelevant to accepting an answer. If you still think that the effort shown by adding a bounty yourself deserves some slack, devinb's answer covers this nicely.

  • yes, I completely think that this question is invalidated in the context of the new bounty rules. since the change, bounty questions are extracted from the equation entirely - not only in the de facto algorithm used, but fundamentally so. Jul 12, 2010 at 18:17

You've made a strong argument why questions with expired bounties don't match the spirit of the accept rate.

However, the accept rate is a very simple and clear measure of "What Percentage Of Questions By This OP Have Accepted Answers". That is to say, it is simply a statistic. It has caveats of course.

  • The accept rate is calculated on questions that are older then 3 days.
  • The accept rate is only calculated when the user has 4 or more questions.
    The following questions are not included in the accept rate calculation:
  • Community Wiki Questions
  • Closed Questions
  • Questions with no answers

But, you'll notice that all of those rules are still strictly related to the questions themselves.

Adding bounty related rules will change it to a more "Effort percentage rate" which of course is ridiculous. You can't algorithmically determine what a user's effort is, because every situation is different. That is why acceptance rate is only an indicator but it also a strictly parametrized one. You can't actually determine that much from an acceptance rate. We shouldn't be adding extra features to it and pretending that it can suddenly represent more than it does.

Best keep it simple.


I agree with your assumption that the accept rate is to identify those who keep asking questions without contributing to the community with accepted answers. However, one question that a person can no longer mark an accepted answer for shouldn't not sway anyone's acceptance percentage by a significant margin. Furthermore, its not that the person couldn't have accepted an answer it's that they didn't. And perhaps there never was an answer worthy of selection, but there are plenty of questions without a bounty ever attached to them that also never had an answer worthy of selection. In the end, I wouldn't be upset if it were to change and those questions were excluded from the calculation, I can see that side of the argument. But, I think leaving it the way it is is slightly better.

  • But some of us don't go back over a users history to verify what that acceptance rate means. I personally just look at the percentage. Apr 15, 2010 at 14:04
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    The following scenario will hit the percentage with no reason: a person has asked 5 bounty questions. The bounty expires and then the person found the answer. He posts it and cannot mark it as an answer. His accept rate would be 0%! Even though he contributes to the site and plays by the rules... Make no sense in my opinion.
    – Shaihi
    May 10, 2010 at 14:20
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    The fact that a single question does not lower your accept rate by much is completely senseless. Give me 5€, you won't be much poorer.
    – forget it
    May 15, 2010 at 15:14

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