I see a few comments come through the mod queue each day that are a variation on this complaint.

Should friendly (i.e., not outright rude) comments suggesting a user increase their accept rate be deleted or should they be left standing?


Should it depend on the accept rate in question; e.g., "your accept rate is only 70%, you should work on that?" Above 50%, accept rate comments are noise, below that they are acceptable if they are polite?

  • I forgot to ask: at meta or in general? – Tobias Kienzler Oct 6 '10 at 13:31
  • 2
    You mean they are being flagged as offensive? Not sure what is offensive about a reminder to start participating. That's why it is shown in the first place, isn't it? – Uphill Luge Oct 6 '10 at 13:56
  • 6
    @Hans Comment flags are also for spam, but importantly noise. I can imagine it very easy to envision these comments as noise to the actual question. – Grace Note Oct 6 '10 at 13:58
  • 1
    @Grace: there is no "flag as noise" option of course. A substantial amount of typical comments could be interpreted as noise, depending on what kind of glasses you wear. I do know that these comments actually work, getting an answer mark on one of my old answers is 90% induced by these comments. Still, Will could perhaps give some insight in what flags or mod requests are actually used. – Uphill Luge Oct 6 '10 at 14:10
  • 5
    @Hans The tooltip for a comment flag says "flag this comment as noise, offensive, or spam". The fact that it is subjective as to whether it's noise or not is entirely why diamonds aren't even obligated to act upon comment flags if they don't agree. If no one else agrees, it'll simply age away. – Grace Note Oct 6 '10 at 14:13
  • @Juan I am ashamed and will do so immediately. Oops, someone deleted your accept rate comment! – user1228 Oct 6 '10 at 15:33
  • Mod powers abuse! I should flag for mod attention... – juan Oct 6 '10 at 15:38

Should friendly (i.e., not outright rude) comments suggesting a user increase their accept rate be deleted or should they be left standing?

Friendly comments are perfectly fine IMO. No reason to get rid of them.

However, it's different when they are outdated (i.e. the OP has indeed worked on the accept rate). Then they are just noise, or even create a wrong impression. That's why I always mention the actual percentage I'm referring to when leaving such a comment ("You have a very low accept rate of 7%. I would recommend, blah, blah")

  • 3
    It may be funny, but I'm not making it up. I've seen people complain more than once about accept rates in the 70s. – mmyers Oct 6 '10 at 14:56
  • 1
    @mmyers wow, that is way over the top. Anything above 50% is perfectly okay IMO, unless the OP is a total leech asking one bad question after another. – Pekka Oct 6 '10 at 15:01
  • @Pekka: The question pump patter is a different issue. A lot of them have perfect accept rates. I assume that's in part for the 2 point bump they get, and so that they can see "But, I'm a good user! Don't you see my accept rate?", and perhaps also part of an effort to defend their questions (you must have seen the "This question shouldn't be closed, it has an accepted answer." comments from time to time). – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Oct 6 '10 at 15:32
  • 1
    @Pekka Without official guidance I'm going on my best judgement which is the same as you; flagged rep comments where the target has >50% get deleted. – user1228 Oct 18 '10 at 12:19
  • @Won't yesterday I wrote someone with 100% accept rate that I'll solve his bug if he can raise his rate. (I made myself laugh - which you have to admit - is very important!). then I found out that my comment was deleted. now I know by whom... :P – Nir Alfasi Feb 17 '12 at 3:02

I consider them noise, and will occasionally flag them for this reason. If I could delete comments, I'd be sorely tempted to remove these along with all the "why the downvotes?" complaints.

However, moderators should probably leave them alone unless they're down-right abusive. If enough people flag them, they'll disappear anyway; otherwise, there are better ways to spend your time.

  • 2
    Speaking of noise, when you've got over a hundred flagged comments, and 1/4 of them are nice requests to increase accept rates, it makes it a little harder to find the comments that should be edited/deleted. – user1228 Oct 6 '10 at 15:29
  • 2
    @Will: I've previously suggested that moderators who face this problem might be well-served by proposing a feature whereby they could mark flagged items as "ignored" and thereby remove them from the flag report page without actually clearing the flag... – Shog9 Oct 6 '10 at 15:33
  • 1
    Something like this? – juan Oct 6 '10 at 15:39
  • @Juan: excellent! – Shog9 Oct 6 '10 at 15:47

I think a nice reminder that one can and should accept answers is ok, but enforcing a high accept rate despite the OP not having found the helpful answer yet is not. So it depends on the sound of it, IMHO

  • 3
    I agree, but keep in mind that the user can choose not to accept any answer even if he found them useful, if he doesn't want to use stack overflow's reputation system (which is completely optional) – Thomas Bonini Oct 6 '10 at 13:56

This was/is going to be a problem as long as the accept rate is part of visible UI. The fact that the acceptance rates is shown implies that it's a metric for grading users.

I don't like these comments much, even when they are gentle and undemanding and state the current level of the OP's rate. But you won't succeed in getting rid of them unless you have a system in place that you can point to and say "This is handled automatically".

Yes, there are the reminders on the profile page, but they don't address the pattern and don't mention the rate (do they? It's been ages since I've seen one...). SO, here are some random thoughts on what an automatic acceptance reminder might look like:

N days after an acceptance rate eligible question is asked the system checks (!answer accepted_for_this_question) && (accept rate < R) and if the condition evaluates as true the user gets a top-of-the-screen pop-up reminder along the lines of "You have several questions with no [link to the faq]accepted answers[/link] see [link]your profile[/link]. If you aren't getting good answers [link to bount faq]consider offering a bounty[/link]."

Possible values N=4 or 5, and R = 50%.

With a system like that in place, users can reasonable be discouraged from making such requests a regular part of their routine.

Until then, I think we're stuck with them.


Assuming it makes sense for the site in question (i.e StackOverflow, SuperUser, etc - yes; Meta, SE/Programmers, etc - no) then the questions of the user should be checked.

If most questions have feedback/justification of why the answers provided are not valid, it's ok to have a low accept rate.

If there are clear and conclusive answers that just haven't been accepted, a polite reminder is a good thing, so the user can review their questions and either accept the answer or post more details as appropriate.

You must log in to answer this question.