This proposal is for Stack Overflow only, where questions usually get an objective answer, and where the answer rate is pretty good.

If a user has asked several questions, and hasn't accepted a single one, ever, after several days, then provide a message (that can be dismissed) at the top of the screen saying

You have not accepted an answer to any of your questions. Consider accepting an answer if it has solved your problem.

Similar proposals:

  • 13
    I'm in favor of reminders to the specific user from the system. While we're at it, let's hide acceptance rate from everybody else. It should be inconsequential to other users. Answer a question on its own merit, not whether or not you might get a +15. – Anthony Pegram May 6 '11 at 1:13
  • 6
    @Anthony: I'm not sure I agree completely, but I do get annoyed when more comments are about "increase your accept rate" than about the actual questions. A 350-rep user with 0% accept rate just as annoying, however. – Joachim Sauer May 6 '11 at 7:20
  • 1
    +1, but I don't agree with "Stack Overflow only" - I'd like to see the same e.g. on! – Hendrik Vogt May 7 '11 at 8:20
  • @Hendrik: I can't comment on tex.SE, but I limited the scope because not all SEs are the same. – Andrew Grimm May 10 '11 at 23:04
  • I agree with @Anthony. If the sole purpose of SO (or any SE site) was reputation, then showing acceptance rate would be important, but because providing a useful answer and contributing to the community is important too, showing acceptance rate tends to lead to people simply leaving "improve your accept rate" comments instead of helping and also asking them to read the FAQ or something. SO isn't just about helping the people asking the question, but providing answers to others who have a similar problem. Just my 2 cents. – William May 11 '11 at 14:38
  • 1
    I don't agree with @William. Reputation is extremely important to SE sites. It's why they work. Users are motivated by it. The same with badges. So, this feature-request is good. Ask-users shoud show the thanks to those that answer. And should improve the questions to get a good answer. – Florin Ghita Oct 4 '12 at 12:09
  • So what's the deal with asking people with low acceptance to accept some answers? We on MSO are for it on Monday, Wednesday and Friday but dead set against it on the other days? Can someone post a calendar showing the days we should comment on a low acceptance rate and which days the system will handle it for us? – Chris Gerken Oct 4 '12 at 16:15
  • 1
    Well, sometimes it's the case when the questions hasn't really been provided a proper answer (due to complexity or narrow specialization, etc). I think that the number of up-votes the answer has received can be a reasonable measure of that answer's correctness and that answer can know...highlighted with color or a tip-icon in front of it that will suggest the topic-starter to accept it. – Artur Udod Oct 4 '12 at 19:32
up vote 6 down vote accepted

I joined the StackExchange network approximately 3 months ago, specifically to help contribute answers and moderation to the StackOverflow site. In the short-time that I've been a member, I have to say that I have seen far too many users with a low-to-zero Acceptance Rate.

While gaining reputation is an important factor for the website and motivates most to answer, helping others solve their problems and providing information for future visitors is the true purpose. This statement has two points:

  1. The motivation to force-suggest a user to accept an answer is driven by the desire of reputation, not to help future visitors.
  2. The goal to help future visitors is to force-suggest a user to accept an answer.

I, personally, am all-for having a notification displayed to an individual to suggest that they should accept an answer to some or all of their questions. Providing them with links to the documentation/articles that give information on how to accept an answer and/or why it should be done would be very beneficial as well (there's a good chance that the user just doesn't know).

You have not accepted an answer to any of your questions. Consider accepting an answer if it has solved your problem.

As the network is designed to be helpful to the community, I don't think that denying users the privilege to ask new questions if they have a low/zero acceptance score is very beneficial. I have seen numerous comment-barrages similar to "0% accept rate? no thanks" or "would like to help, but acceptance score too low" and I just don't think that these are beneficial to anyone but rep-greedy members.

In response to a comment, I think that the ability for other members to see someone's acceptance score should actually be a reputation-privilege that should be earned - and I think that it should come at the 20k level. If a user has been contributing to the website enough to reach the 20k rep level, I feel that they would/should be responsible enough to offer a helpful suggestion to an asker to improve their acceptance rate and would also help answer a question without worrying about not receiving their +15.

  • This completely misses the point that accepting an answer is positive feedback that I'm the one with the problem, and this solution worked for me. That is extremely important. The person asking the question should get an extra vote that identifies which answer really worked. Being able to see accepted answers at a glance also tells people browsing questions which ones still need solutions, and which ones already have answers that acceptably solved the problem. So, having askers take the (very little) trouble to accept answers is absolutely important for the site as a whole. – Nate Jan 27 '13 at 1:00
  • @Nate Your comment is pretty ironic in that it has nothing to do with the question asked. The question relates to the 0% accept rate for users - not accepting an answer for every question. A users acceptance rate only shows after they've asked and received answers for at least 4 questions and if they're at 0% after that, there's a good chance that they have a valid answer and just don't know protocol - those are the users that my answer are directed at, not the ones who know how to accept an answer and voluntarily don't. – newfurniturey Jan 27 '13 at 15:53

There are so many things to learn as a new member. I just went back to my questions and accepted answers. I didn't realize that was part of the process (sorry) - so I think "Consider accepting an answer if it has solved your problem." is a great idea!

In favour.

For the new users that aren't aware of the importance of accepting an answer, a nag message could bring them up to speed on this being a good practise.

This could parameterized to only trigger if an answer has N upvotes and to not show beyond a certain number of reputation points.

  • It's pointless. Accept rate was removed back in February. Besides, if they don't accept the question but it has a lot of upvotes, why would it matter? – Makoto Mar 21 '13 at 1:55
  • 2
    "Besides, if they don't accept the question but it has a lot of upvotes, why would it matter?" As a flag to indicate if the answer is suitable to the OP. That it got upvotes doesn't necessarily means it solves his problem. Otherwise, the accept feature is basically useless. – James P. Mar 21 '13 at 2:00
  • I'd argue that doesn't matter either - it's more a courtesy to responders that the OP has the knowledge they're specifically looking for. There's really nothing wrong with highly upvoted answers that have similar or more information - in fact, I prefer those more. Check here for a larger discussion about it. – Makoto Mar 21 '13 at 2:08
  • I agree. It's just that there's the user side of things and there's the formal side or gameplay model. Besides allowing the site to police itself to some degree, the latter has the benefit of adding criteria that makes it easier to find Q&As. – James P. Mar 21 '13 at 2:12

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