Sometimes you give an answer to a question where:

  1. You know it is the right answer
  2. You know it resolves OP's problems
  3. There's no answer "better" than yours
  4. You have spent time and effort on it
  5. Other users like it with several upvotes


OP that asked the question does not accept it with the green checkmark.

What annoys me is not the mere -15 points on reputation because, as well said by Jeff, if the answer is a good answer, the community will upvote it.
I would like to get the green checkmark on pending questions for two main reason:

  1. Personal satisfaction (what I answered, helped and worked for real!)
  2. Curiosity (Did it work? Cool, I can "close the case" and remember this solution)

Bonus reason:
3. Good breeding (why not?)

I know that the system warns a user to accept an answer when he/she leaves questions without accepted answers after X days but, from the answerer's point of view, there's no way to put some "pressure" on who asked the question.
Ok, I could ping the user with "Did it worked?", "have you tried?", "What about my solution?", "Still alive?" but imho that is not a good, official, effective option.

This feature fits well in these scenarios (thanks ccornet):
- The OP is new, unaware that answers can be accepted.
- The OP forgot about the question, and due to sort order in their profile, never saw it again.

My proposal:
Having received X upvotes and after Y days, is it possible to have a "WAKE UP" feature where you can send a private predefined message to the OP who asked the question?

You could realize it in different flavors:
1. A voice recorded "WAKE UP" screamed when user logs in.
2. A red bloody "WAKE UP" message on users activity.
3. A blinking horse head near username.

Obviously, this is just a provocation.
This feature could be implemented with a SOFT PRIVATE and absolutely PREDEFINED alert message.

  • What does "good breeding" mean?
    – Pacerier
    May 26, 2015 at 13:44
  • Several years later, dozens of other users (including me) are still trying to debate this issue. I really hope SO staff will consider the idea eventually. meta.stackoverflow.com/q/354584/534406 Your 'wake up' feature is basically the same as my suggestion to send reminder emails. Aug 6, 2017 at 21:42
  • I think this is a worthwhile feature to pursue. It seems that the answer below specifically offers feedback as to how an answer is 'unusable'. A simple email reminder with feedback option could work well. I can see many ways to take the 7 items below and make them work for the community as a whole :- email gets sent "why haven't you accepted the answer", and have that reason attached to the post as well.
    – Farasi78
    Sep 28, 2018 at 14:58
  • "You know". Perhaps you do not know, you only believe. There is no way of preventing this feature being misused by those who believe but do not know. Furthermore, because of the Dunning-Kruger Effect this feature would be more likely to be used by those who believe but do not know.
    – Raedwald
    Apr 29, 2019 at 12:28
  • The more pressing issue is OP's who repeatedly ask questions but do not accept answers. While drop-in users may unavoidably leave a question unresolved, the number of prolific question askers who do not maintain their content could be avoided by simply limiting the number of unresolved questions a user is allowed. They could then either answer it themselves, accept a solution, rephrase the question or remove it entirely.
    – Moog
    Dec 4, 2019 at 10:15
  • Or bring back Accept Rate. May 5, 2021 at 22:55

6 Answers 6


There are many reasons why an OP might not accept your answer. A lot of them would render such a mechanic useless.

  1. The OP doesn't agree that the answer solved the problem.
  2. The OP hasn't visitted the site in a while, or has stopped visitting altogether because the problem was solved.
  3. The OP managed to self-solve the question, and has abstained from accepting an answer.
  4. The OP only logs in to ask questions and see answers, not for participation in the community.
  5. There are other competing (not "better", just competing) answers and the OP is still deliberating even to that day.
  6. The OP is new, unaware that answers can be accepted.
  7. The OP forgot about the question, and due to sort order in their profile, never saw it again.

And there are myriads of other reasons. Of these, only the latter two will probably actually respond, and it would be a wiser move to kindly request it by commenting their question. If the primary concern is seeing if the OP's problem was fixed, it would kill two birds with one stone to just make a comment. They get an alert, and you directly ask them how it's going. Putting pressure on the question asker with a blaring message of "WAKE UP!" can be disruptively rude.


Your edit clarified my confusion on your comment. You've transformed your proposal to something which is unnecessarily rude, to something which is unnecessarily redundant. As I stated, we already have a method for soft alerts in the form of comments. You claim they're not official/good/effective, but for the former it's already an implemented function so I can't see how more official you can get. For the latter two, utilizing a pop-up that specifically states "You should be accepting an answer here" is no more effective than writing that exact message into the body of a comment. The people who would listen to the prompt would be the same people that would check responses when they receive that alert, while the people who don't care about reading comment responses would not care about any other kind of pop-up banner. At the end, I believe our current utilities are more than satisfactory for this purpose.

  • @ccornet Actually, my proposal is rude for provocation. You could implement this with a soft alert message. Examples 6 and 7 are the perfect scenario for this feature. May 19, 2010 at 13:56
  • @ccomet System messages are ok and i think they are useful and well implemented. With official/good/effective i was talking about a feature that, who is waiting answers, could use directly avoiding comments like "What about my solution?\Are you alive?". May 19, 2010 at 14:26
  • 1
    @system.out You're suggesting a system that would provide the same effect as a currently implemented system for the sole purpose of avoiding to use the currently implemented system?
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    May 19, 2010 at 14:27
  • @ccornet I simply don't like people asking "Have you tried?"; imho it's like begging for charity. Imho, something more private would be better. I understand that this sounds too weak for a feature request :). May 19, 2010 at 14:39
  • 2
    @system If you don't like people actively asking for accepting, then how is allowing answerers to anonymously and freely pester people to accept their answer going to help? Just because it doesn't have the person's name attached, doesn't make it any more reputable to the question asker. Nor that much less obvious who is pestering. If your concern is about judgment by people other than the OP, then just delete your comment after-the-fact.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    May 19, 2010 at 14:45
  • @ccornet I said "Having received X upvotes and after Y days", i don't wanna spam and be spammed with "accept my answer" request too. Say 10 upvotes and 30 days..is it that rude to send a private customized message to the OP? May 19, 2010 at 14:53
  • @system Like I stated in my edit, this is no longer a matter of unnecessary rudeness, this is a matter of unnecessary redundancy. Jeff Atwood officially declined private messages 6 days ago, and it makes no sense to make an exception for a discouraged practice like acceptance pestering. Subtracting that, all we have left is a method that can be replicated exactly by current utilities. And subsequently, if you're so concerned about public exposure of the requests, remember that the commenter can always delete the comment.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    May 19, 2010 at 15:02
  • @ccornet I totally agree with Jeff; private messages are evil. My proposal is pretty different and with less impact.Please read again my post. May 19, 2010 at 15:10
  • 1
    @system It doesn't matter that the message is predefined. Why should something like acceptance pestering, which is largely looked down on, be given the privilege to be performed privately? We're a community-moderated... community, and making something private means it gets to go largely unchecked. And this is one kind of feature that I really don't see any advantages, at all, to making it private.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    May 19, 2010 at 15:20
  • @ccornet White flag, you won!My scholar english can't sustain my cause more over :).Good discussion, thanks. May 19, 2010 at 16:12

Who cares what the OP thinks? If it's a good answer, the community will vote it up.

Remember that every edit and new answer pushes a question to the top of the stack.

The standard set of advice around How to get attention for your old, unanswered questions also applies to answers, IMHO.

If you really feel you must do this, a comment on the question can be OK, if used judiciously and in moderation.

  • But you can't put blinking horse heads nor embed screaming "WAKE UP" sounds into comments! ;-) May 19, 2010 at 12:28
  • @Jeff i get your point :). I've added some reasons why i care about what OP thinks. I've should add that one another reason could be "good breeding"; i usually promote a good answer on my question with "upvote\greenflag\comment" but probably it's just a matter of character. May 19, 2010 at 12:32
  • 3
    Why don't comments support the blink tag? I feel like it would go a long way in making my point.
    – devinb
    May 19, 2010 at 12:33
  • @devinb <blink>WE DON'T NEED A “WAKE UP…” FEATURE!</blink>? May 19, 2010 at 12:56
  • 1
    Gotta disagree about acceptance pestering being OK, Jeff. It's rude. May 19, 2010 at 14:31
  • @dmckee: Where did Jeff say "acceptance pestering" is OK? I read "...a comment on the question can be OK, if used judiciously and in moderation" very differently. May 19, 2010 at 18:29

Feature already exists...here's serverfault telling me to "wake up" for a question I asked a short while ago. Note the red text above the question, "Have you considered accepting an answer or starting a bounty for this question?"

alt text
(source: sampsonresume.com)

The reputation earned from a green flag is mere pennies compared to the score of upvotes you'll get if your answer is well-written, and correct.

  • -1 It seems you have not read my question properly. I know that "System warns user to accept an answer when" and my proposal it's not for the mere pennies :). May 19, 2010 at 13:36
  • (-1) I agree with systempuntoout, when the OP says "this is explicitly not what I'm looking for" and you say exactly that, then you are being distinctly unhelpful.
    – devinb
    May 19, 2010 at 13:38
  • 3
    @devinb Actually I'm favoring the current implementation of this feature over the suggested implementation in the OP's post. What we have presently works far better than what is being suggested, even if the OP explicitly disagreed in the question.
    – Sampson
    May 19, 2010 at 13:39
  • 1
    @Jonathan That message is not even visible if an OP tend to ask a lot of questions.Isn't it? Don't you think a "horse head" would be more effective? May 19, 2010 at 13:46
  • 4
    @systempuntoout If the user tends to ask a lot of questions without accepting answers, I don't think any flashing, buzzing, vibrating elements are going to change that behavior. But it's okay, because the system rescues us by rewarding great answers.
    – Sampson
    May 19, 2010 at 13:56
  • @Jonathan that's right.I've added some scenarios where this feature would fit. May 19, 2010 at 14:41

No, thanks.

Posters automatically get pestered about answers without accepted answers in their profiles (if they care to look). That is enough.

Moreover, making the acceptance rate a visible part of the UI has generated far too much acceptance pestering as is. Providing a tool for it will validate people apparent opinion that it is OK, and I vehemently disagree with the practice. To the point that I have considered voting against the answers of people who do it (I rejected the idea in the end, the answes stand should stand or fall on their own merit, but I was sorely tempted).

I just noticed the comments on Jonathan Sampson's post. I, too, didn't read closely enough to notice your disclaimer about the existing system. Please accept my appologies.

But that also means I didn't notice your explicit request to put "pressure" on the OP (your word). So my original answer was far to gently written.

Please allow me to amend my remarks:

What in the world makes you think that it is appropriate to put "pressure" on anyone on these sites?!?

To make my position clear: Not just "No.", but "NO!".

Acceptance pestering, in any form, is rude.

  • I don't want Spam OP with my messages :)))! I wrote pressure behind quotation marks!And i'm saying on answer with X votes and after Y days.Please dont' be too strict. May 19, 2010 at 14:49
  • 2
    @system: No. NO. NO! NO!! I simple don't care how many votes or how long its been. I am not entitled to any votes or acceptances from anyone, and neither are you, and that is the end of the story. Fini. May 19, 2010 at 15:17
  • OK OK OK :), no problem!I get your point, fine! May 19, 2010 at 16:06

As has been said elsewhere about answers which are the "best" but not accepted.

Also, on the topic of the OPs who don't accept the answers:

This is a community site. We are providing answers in the hopes that they will specifically help this one person, and in general help everyone who comes after. This is why there are two measures of acceptance. The checkmark is for the specific case, and the upvotes are for the general case. If you answer is correct in the general case, you will get many upvotes and be recognized that way. If your answer is specifically correct, you will get the checkmark, but only if the OP agrees that you deserve it.

  • +1 for the community aspect; You articulated that far better than I did in my answer. May 19, 2010 at 12:39
  • +1 for The checkmark is for the specific case, and the upvotes are for the general case. May 19, 2010 at 12:41

I would like to get Green flag on pending questions for two main reason:

  1. Personal satisfaction (what i answered, helped and worked for real!)

You've already done a good job... You answered a question which "You have spent time and effort on it", and "There's no answer 'better' then yours". The community has upvoted you. You should feel satisfied!

  1. Curiosity (Did it worked? Cool, i can "close the case" and remember this solution)

Well, "You know it is the right answer" and "You know it resolves OP's problems". So you need not be curious ;-)

But in seriousness, a simple comment saying "did this work?" would help. Besides, there's a lot of other questions out there which people are more active on. Just go answer those!

EDIT: I can relate to the gut feeling of wanting every person to specifically mark your answer as the "right" one. There's a warm and fuzzy feeling from having that big green check mark next to your answer. The fact is, it seems a lot of questions get abandoned, and after some time using the site, this becomes clear. If someone asks a question, you post an answer, it gets highly upvoted, you comment asking if it worked and there is no activity from the OP whatsoever, it becomes clear to everyone else that you provided a good solution to a question which was just abandoned.

Don't forget, everyone else with the same question might see your answer and it might solve their problem. No green checkmark for that, it just happens! So just pat yourself on the back and keep answering more questions!

  • +1 For I can relate to the gut feeling of wanting every person to specifically mark your answer as the "right" one May 19, 2010 at 12:55

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