I'm thinking that it might generate a good behavior in that people would be inclined to click on questions for people who have a high acceptance rate knowing that they are likely to have their answers at least looked at. This could give people a greater incentive to answer questions that they haven't yet so their questions would be viewed by more people.

What would be the pros and cons of this feature, and would it be a good idea?

  • Why the down vote? – Joseph Apr 12 '10 at 21:03
  • @Ladybug That makes no sense whatsoever... – Joseph Apr 12 '10 at 21:48
  • At least we agree on something. – Ladybug Killer Apr 12 '10 at 22:01
  • standard practice is to down vote on disagreement. Which is silly, because that means disagreeing costs you. But that's the practice. – MPelletier Apr 13 '10 at 0:09
  • 1
    @MPelletier if that's the standard then I think it needs changing. The tooltip clearly explains what the intention of downvoting a question is supposed to be for. And that would be if the question is unclear or not useful. Thanks for the explanation, though. – Joseph Apr 14 '10 at 12:46
  • Declined as accept rate is no longer shown with on the usercard for a question, it provoked bad responses to begin with, doing this would only exacerbate what we've shown induces bad behavior to begin with. – casperOne Jan 23 '13 at 16:12

No. Acceptance rate shouldn't be as big a deal as some people make it out to be, and this change would only make it worse.

Acceptance rate, in my opinion, works best as a gentle nudge to the poster -- not as a way for people to decide whether or not to even answer the question. Most reputation comes from upvotes, anyway, if that's what you're worried about.

  • 1
    +1 I really don't understand this obsession with acceptance rates. – nb69307 Apr 12 '10 at 20:12
  • Agreed. Acceptance rate should be an incentive to question askers, not answerers. – Bill the Lizard Apr 12 '10 at 20:14
  • 3
    I have just moved onto page 1 of Meta users. I think I'm going to cry. – mmyers Apr 12 '10 at 20:17
  • I won't rest until I have the coveted gold discussion badge. :) – Bill the Lizard Apr 12 '10 at 20:21
  • @Bill I'm saying that I think adding this feature would give an incentive to question askers, but I also see your point about potentially driving away answerers from equally legitimate questions. – Joseph Apr 12 '10 at 21:49

I've always seen the acceptance rate as a kind of warning light for question quagmires, rather than an absolute measure of a user's cooperation.

I've had lots of accepts from users with 30-70% accept rates, which is below the "green" level. Sometimes these people really just don't get good answers or any answers, often because their work takes them into obscure or unpopular areas (SQL-CLR is one obvious example that comes to mind). It's not a big deal. Even if the question author is really a flake, and even if you're just doin' it for the rep, two upvotes are worth more than a single acceptance anyway.

The accept rate does come in handy when I open a question and it turns out to be a very vague, fragmented, or just poorly-written question. When I see the 0% accept rate on those questions, I tend to avoid them, because it usually means that either (a) they don't respond to comments or requests for clarification, or (b) they post "chameleon"-style troubleshooting questions and other people have given up on them.

The common theme in both cases is, I need to see the actual question before the accept rate means anything. If it's a good question then the history is irrelevant. Accept rate only helps me decide, if it's a bad question, whether I should spend any time trying to help the author improve it, or whether I should just downvote it and be on my merry way.

So in this case I'm in favour of the status quo: only show the accept rate when you're actually looking at a question. It shouldn't matter outside of that context.

  • I agree with you entirely. – user142852 Apr 12 '10 at 22:00

I'm actually beginning to get really, really fed up with people getting crappy about acceptance rates. Take this example - the response shows how this affects users, potentially to the detriment of the site. I upvoted it happily.

I visited this post because it had a ♦ flag on it "not an answer" (actually, it is an answer, but to some accept-rate comments that are now removed), but I've left it intact because it all makes sense. I could have manually reposted the reply on meta, but a newish user is unlikely to be looking on meta. Even if the intent of the accept rate is to drive up data quality etc (and close the feedback loop for answers), it should not become something that causes grief or stands between genuine users and answers.

What to do... what to do...

  • Don't do anything. Every feature stands to be misused. Electorate encourages random votes. Taxonomist encourages spurious retags. Upvote/downvote ratio encourages posting crap for pity votes. Accept rate encourages unfair criticism. There's always something wrong with everything. Take all these things away and we're just another dusty old phpBB forum, and nobody will complain then, except to complain about other users. Maybe you have a different perspective as a moderator, but I view these as isolated incidents. – Aarobot Apr 12 '10 at 21:38
  • See also meta.stackexchange.com/questions/37601/… – nb69307 Apr 12 '10 at 21:40
  • Marc, in my defence as one of the "offenders", I would like to offer this. I am just as fed up with the "give me teh codez" attitude, the likeliest (but not perfect) sign of which is a low acceptance rate. As I go about, looking for people to help, looking to give some of my time to someone who needs it, am I unjustified in trying to find out if I will genuinely help and be acknowledged appropriately? Ultimately, I agree with you and user225626, the numbers don't matter. And yet they do, as an indicator. (And the "not wanting to play favourites" argument is just baloney). – MPelletier Apr 13 '10 at 0:00

I think the acceptance rate feature should be removed entirely. Users are rewarded with reputation for marking questions answered anyway and you can always tell from reading a question whether the poster has asked a good question. 0% acceptance rates tend to go hand in hand with poor questions. Not always, but very often. I always check the user profiles if the question looks badly asked to see if they're new to SO and what else they've done anyway.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .