I'm tired of people whinging in question comments about people's accepted answer rate.

Can we have a button by the answer rate that people can click to say "hey! improve this!"?

Maybe if a threshold of "improve this" votes are received, something can be done, but to be honest, I don't mind if the click goes nowhere as long as the noise/spam comments about it go away.

Other suggestions are entirely welcome. I'm just looking for something that satisfies this inane desire in people that leads them to write "improve accept rate" comments so that they stop.

  • 3
    -1. Please don't encourage those people.
    – Pops
    May 18, 2011 at 21:29
  • @Popular: I'm not. Please read my question again. I'm trying to get them to funnel their behavior somewhere else where we don't see it. Like a politics forum to get rid of it from the rest of a site.
    – Jeff Yates
    May 18, 2011 at 21:30
  • 12
  • @Renesis: That would be nice. Just something that stops the spam.
    – Jeff Yates
    May 18, 2011 at 21:34
  • 2
    To would be editors: Whinging (To complain or protest, especially in an annoying or persistent manner) is not quite the same as whining (Complain in a feeble or petulant way), but similar. Either applies, but I'm English so I favour the former.
    – Jeff Yates
    May 18, 2011 at 21:39
  • 4
    @Jeff, I've re-read your question and stand by my comment. The feature you're requesting would reinforce their belief that it's proper to think/complain about accept rate. In that way, it's a form of encouragement. (I do think your heart is in the right place, but I don't think implementing this would achieve what you want it to.)
    – Pops
    May 18, 2011 at 21:40
  • 3
    I'll agree on the condition that the button not actually do anything (though it should appear to).
    – mmyers
    May 18, 2011 at 22:22
  • 4
    Why is it impolite to say "Please improve your answer acceptance rate"? Wouldn't you say something (politely!) if, say, a member of your local "Foo User's Group" always arrived right after all the setup had been done, and left without ever helping clean up?
    – jscs
    May 18, 2011 at 22:23
  • 4
    @Josh Caswell: There's nothing wrong with it, but it's often not said politely, or informatively. Improve your accept rate first! is one of the more common pointless one's that's posted...
    – forsvarir
    May 18, 2011 at 23:21

3 Answers 3


Flag such comments as noise. If everyone does this, they will be removed post-haste. If I see them in the mod queue, they will be removed immediately.

The biggest problem with these comments is they do not inform. Generally, if someone has a zero accept rate, they will not have any idea what you are talking about when you post "Improve your accept rate." Your comment is therefore useless.

If you really want to post a useful comment, make it look like this:

Please see How does accept rate work?

  • 12
    But a placebo button would be such fun though
    – random
    May 18, 2011 at 23:49
  • 1
    +1, but "noise" is no longer one of the things listed when you get the confirmation for comment reporting.
    – Charles
    May 19, 2011 at 2:41
  • @Charles, you can use "Argumentative or Rude."
    – user102937
    May 19, 2011 at 2:52
  • 4
    @random ... not as much fun as a hellban on those comments :)
    – waffles
    May 19, 2011 at 3:20
  • The only time I don't flag those comments as noise is when they have that link. I agree completely with this; it's good to have confirmation that the moderators are in support of removing such comments. May 19, 2011 at 4:12
  • @Robert: You're right - the comments would be great if they actually were informative. I would love to find a way to make that kind of comment more common and lessen the noise of slapdowns like "improve rate" and "this question is dumb". I guess flags is the only workable solution - it's just frustrating sometimes.
    – Jeff Yates
    May 19, 2011 at 12:39
  • @RobertHarvey, I've occasionally used your suggestion when a users accept rate is exceptionally poor (after viewing their previous questions to ensure that correct answers have been given). Several users have thanked me for the information and improved their accept rate within minutes. Recently, I've noticed moderators deleting comments about accept rate, even if it is a well thought out, well intended comment such as Please see How does accept rate work? (properly formatted and linked). Shouldn't the community be able to encourage others in the community in this fashion?
    – James Hill
    Apr 13, 2012 at 13:09

Your pet peeve is another's crusade. Your noise is another's communication.

Implementing this would cause a whole barrage of related requests:

"I'm tired of seeing comments about X. Please stop them from cluttering up my screen. They're annoying."

Someone who posts eight questions and doesn't accept any of them may not "get" that accepting answers is helpful and perhaps courteous. And yes, some other users don't answer questions from people with low accept rates. I think that letting them know this is helpful: more people answering their questions. I doubt fewer would answer their questions if they improved their accept rate.

  • 4
    I do nudge people in a comment sometimes, but in a friendly, educational way, and then I delete the comment after a while, so as not to clutter the permanent record of all things Stack. I think the nudging, which gets a result maybe half the time, does indeed encourage me to help 1 rep newbies from offshore, whom I otherwise might be tempted to ignore. May 19, 2011 at 4:28
  • 1
    Letting them know this can be helpful, but more often than not I've seen people basically be rude about it. Ironically, this is often on questions where spending time improving the question would be far more useful than improving the accept rate.
    – Jon Skeet
    May 19, 2011 at 6:26
  • @John: So your argument is to stop implementing features to improve the site because others might want features to improve the site? I just want to get the discussion started on this because these unconstructive, uninformative comments are a problem. My solution may be a little flippant, but the problem still exists.
    – Jeff Yates
    May 19, 2011 at 12:38
  • @Jon: You've called me out on this before, and I've tried to tone it down a bit. :) The times I say something about the accept rate it's usually because I can't provide any other input. I try to be polite/lighthearted about it, but I probably haven't succeeded all the time at it. Anyway, point taken.
    – John
    May 19, 2011 at 15:16
  • @Jeff: That's not what I said. I said that implementing this would cause a bunch of related requests. It's swatting at flies. Also, I think we have a fundamental difference of opinion. I see these kinds of comments as both constructive and informative. If questioners are even mildly receptive to other users' feedback, they'll figure out what that means.
    – John
    May 19, 2011 at 15:22
  • @John: The onus is on those that know to coach, not those that don't know to find out.
    – Jeff Yates
    May 19, 2011 at 15:24
  • @Jeff: There's a fine line between coaching and holding someone's hand. Where we all draw that line individually is up to us.
    – John
    May 20, 2011 at 16:20
  • @Jon: I think we'll have to disagree. When in our personal sphere or influence, it's up to us, but there has to be consistency in a public forum such as Stack Overflow or no one will know what to do. People come to find answers - denying them that with a terse "do this" and no explanation of why or where is a little disingenuous - dare I say, divisive.
    – Jeff Yates
    May 20, 2011 at 20:13
  • @Jeff: Case in point: I just visited this question (stackoverflow.com/questions/6077102/…). The accept rate was 0% when I visited. I saw you had commented again, and came over to read. In just that time, someone comments, and I quote: "Ten questions, zero answers accepted." When I came back to the question, the accept rate was 100%. Are you still going to tell me that these kinds of comments aren't effective?
    – John
    May 20, 2011 at 20:23
  • @JOn: Sample of one. Not a valid sample set. I think the comments should be constructive, as outlined in the accepted answer above. One might argue that the comment "ten questions, zero answers accepted" is more informative than the comments I originally complained about such as "improve accept rate", which is far my cryptic.
    – Jeff Yates
    May 20, 2011 at 20:23
  • @Jeff: So you wouldn't be averse to these kinds of comments?
    – John
    May 20, 2011 at 20:38
  • @John: I conceded in the comments to the accepted answer that if the comment were constructive, I could see value. I find it rude that people just state "improve accept rate" or "accept more answers". It's almost lazy. Whereas a comment that attempts to inform the non-accepter of how to behave better is valuable - it educates rather than just complains. I'd rather none of these comments at all, but I can see compromise.
    – Jeff Yates
    May 20, 2011 at 20:41
  • @Jeff: OK, I'll buy that. :)
    – John
    May 20, 2011 at 20:44

Having the system automatically tell question-askers their accept rate is bad, leading to the question-asker fixing their accept rate, would reduce the number of comments made. See Suggest Stack Overflow users with zero accept rates to accept some answers

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