I have seen quite a few users on Stack Overflow recently with an extremely low acceptance rate and a long list of questions. Invariably, when these users ask additional questions, many of the comments say things along the lines of "maybe if you accept more answers people will pay more attention to your question". Most of the time, these questions are poorly phrased, and the user asking the question never clarifies based on other user's comments.

I agree with these frustrated users. If these users aren't participating properly in the Stack Overflow environment, why should we entertain further questions?

My suggestion: if a user's acceptance rate is below 25%, block additional questions until the acceptance rate is higher.

Thoughts? Comments?

And if you downvote, please state why. The negative number alone doesn't change my viewpoint or help me become a better member.

  • 4
    -1 for telling me how to downvote. – user27414 Jun 14 '11 at 14:47
  • 6
    Damn... I just played right into your hand! – user27414 Jun 14 '11 at 14:47
  • Q, Downvotes mean disagree on Meta. – jzd Jun 14 '11 at 14:52

Disagree, and downvoted. Accept rate is just a guideline, it's completely up to you whether or not you want to spend time with that user. Who's to say in all cases, other than the user, that answers on their questions solve their problems or not?

If you don't want to answer someone because of their accept rate then that's up to you. Fine, move on. The very next question that person asks could very well be better quality than the ones you mention, get a great answer, and inspire that person to accept the answer.

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    Thanks for giving a reason, I appreciate it. Given the many times that I have seen the comments similar to my post, I have thought the viewpoint to be that of the community, rather than a select few. Obviously, given the enthusiastic negatives I've gotten, this is not the case. Now I know, and I understand the viewpoint. Thanks. – DJ Quimby Jun 14 '11 at 14:53
  • @DJ Q No problem, glad it helped. There's been much discussion on meta about accept rate. It was intended to help encourage people to accept an answer but, as Bill points out in his answer, there has never been any hard and fast rule that you must accept an answer. – squillman Jun 14 '11 at 15:05

Bad idea. If you don't want to answer because of the accept rate. That's fine. But it is no reason for limiting the number of questions.

For example, a user can have several hard questions that has not (yet) got a valid answer.

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Comments like "maybe if you accept more answers people will pay more attention to your question" should be flagged for a moderator to delete. Getting an answer accepted is a bonus, it's not required.

If the majority of a user's questions are low quality, they'll get blocked from asking more questions eventually anyway. Low quality questions are a real problem that we need to address. Low accept rate is not.

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Some users with 0% accept rates really are low-quality users, but others are not. Good users who are just ignorant about how the site works will probably get a little annoyed by this feature, but everyone will benefit in the long run.

The same is not true for bad users. Hypothetical Bad User is probably going to ask a decent number of questions, and feel that many of them are urgent. Present that user with a barrier to asking, and the natural response will be "what can I do to get this barrier out of my way ASAP?"

The answer, sadly, is to open a bunch of old questions and accept answers indiscriminately until accept rate ≥ 26% is reached. Although your intentions are good, that's not making the Internet a better place.

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  • The initial thought was that users who never intended to use the site properly would be annoyed but the need to accept and stop posting. Given your arguments along with the rest, I now concede to your viewpoint. I couldn't have known without asking. – DJ Quimby Jun 14 '11 at 15:01
  • @DJQ, there's nothing wrong with asking. I'm upvoting you in spirit for coming here and participating in The Process. Don't take downvotes personally, and that goes triple on Meta. – Pops Jun 14 '11 at 15:13

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