Is it improper etiquette to, as long as you're certain, add a comment merely suggesting that they accept the answer? Do I sound like a reputation whore?
If the question was asked by a new user, and they commented something like "thanks, that worked!", then I would say that a polite comment asking them to accept would be, well, acceptable.
There is a thin line between being helpful to new users and being inappropriately demanding. So tread lightly.
I wrestle with this as well. What I have worked out as a habit is:
- I try to leave comments where another user has correctly answered but not yet received the green check mark. Do unto others and all that.
- For my own posts, I will sometimes comment something to the effect of, "Hi, I see you're new to SO. If you feel an answer solved the problem, please mark it as 'accepted' by clicking the green check mark. This helps keep the focus on older SO which still don't have answers."
- To avoid undue pressure to choose my answer, this comment gets left not on my own answer but on the question.
This only applies to situations where:
- It is a new user who is not likely to know how to use SO yet, and
- They have made it perfectly clear that their problem has been solved. E.g. a comment saying, "That did it, thanks a bajillion!!!!"
I feel like this solution both educates, welcomes to the community, and doesn't beg for rep. I also try to keep a mental state that the 15 points just don't matter, and frankly, in percentage terms they just don't anymore. E.g. I try not to actually beg for rep, not just to seem like I'm not begging for rep :-)
Finally, I try to wait a half hour or more after they've acknowledged it as the right answer before posting my request. It's always possible someone swoops in with a better answer or it turns out that the solution I provided wasn't really the exact problem they needed.
It's absolutely OK to ask that an answer be accepted. That way, people who find the question using Google can have more assurance that the answer is correct.
There is a reason the accept answer button is there...that way, we can see (in most cases) the best answer. Voting takes care of bringing the other competing answers that are also good to the top.
Post a comment on the original post asking the user to consider accepting an answer. This will ensure that there isn't any bias involved when the OP picks an answer. Don't ask the OP to accept your answer... that's not the way it works here.
If the user is new and doesn't know how to accept an answer (or what it even means), you can always link to this image as well. :)
I also believe that it is perfectly acceptable to ask a user to accept an answer. They might not know of the conventions on Stack Overflow. And people without accounts will more easily know which answers solved the problem if they come to the site from a search engine or some other referring source.
I think a better approach is to leave a comment on your own answer if you believe it should be accepted. However, in the comment I dont mention anything about how the op should or can accept my answer. I just use it as a follow up and offer additional help if needed. More than likely the answer will get accepted. If it doesn't get accepted and the op is not very engaged, oh well, move on to the next question and hope for a few up votes. There are plenty more questions that your answer can be accepted on. I kind of view this the same way I viewed tips when I was a server in college at a well known restaurant. The quickest way to a bad tip is to mention anything about a tip. Being genuinely helpful is often the best way to good tips. I think the same applies to accepted answers. People will go the little extra to accept your answer.