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I noticed that often new users aren't aware on how use property stackoverflow function like accepting answers or upvoting.

For example in certain cases they received a clearly right answer with many upvotes, and even from the comments of the user who posted the answer, is clear that that is the accepted. But the user seems not to know that he should click on the tick symbol to explicitly accept it.

Other times new users add comments in which they appreciated an answer and consider it useful, but they don't upvote it.

So my question is: if it's clear that a new user isn't understanding enough the action he can do to correctly use this site, is it a good practice to suggest him to accept an answer or upvote it, or maybe it's not polite because it could sounds like "please accept my answer" ?

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  • There's no time limit on accepting, and if they keep using the site they'll end up with a low accept rate and someone will prompt them to go back and accept - people aren't shy about complaining about accept rate, though by and large they don't give a useful FAQ link to back it up.
    – Rup
    Apr 19, 2011 at 9:23

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This is my standard message to those users:

If your problem is resolved, please make sure to accept the answer that helped you the most by clicking the check mark next to it. It's a habit you will need to get into if you decide to stick around.

I agree that it's tough to give this advice when your own answer is the clear winner without sounding like you're begging, but I think some kind of "push in the right direction" is needed sometimes. Like you said, it's not always clear to new users how the system works, and better tell them now before they get hit with the inevitable:

"Please improve your accept rate or I'm not talking to you!"

Then, people just TOTALLY get it wrong, and think that they always have to accept an answer, and will usually go back through the last few weeks of questions checking things off randomly. This also adds to the "Ask now, accept ASAP" phenomenon.

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I think it's ok to suggest to the OP that they accept answers (and I have suggested it, although usually on other peoples answers). But when doing so, it seems like a good idea to indicate how they can accept the answers (by clicking on the clear tick) and give a reason (it saves other people time if they know that a problem has been solved already).

I think asking for upvotes is probably wrong though :) If they really are new users, they may not be able to upvote the answer either (don't you need 15 or so rep to upvote answers).

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  • Re up-votes, yes you need at least 15 rep to be able to up-vote.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Apr 19, 2011 at 9:25
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Upvotes are what define the value of content, not accepted answers.

If others in the community find it useful (other than the OP), then it will generate upvotes which further dictate the ordering on page landing. If the OP finds it useful, then they can accept it, but it isn't necessary.

In general, I wouldn't pollute the comments with requests to accept and whatnot - often times I just think that eventually they'll come across the bombardment of those who like declare: 'hey, improve your accept rate!' And eventually either figure it out, or leave. Either way, you needn't worry personally.

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  • I don't necessarily disagree with you, but why do you assert that 'Upvotes are what define the value of content'?
    – this.josh
    Apr 22, 2011 at 0:38
  • Maybe that was a bit strong - but while an answer can be accepted by the OP, they can only up vote once; the community promotes the value over time with each individual, impartial up or down vote. The OP could well have had their problem solved by an answer, but not necessarily the 'best' answer. Apr 22, 2011 at 1:03

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