Recently there was some discussion (in comments to some questions and in chat) about:

  • accepting answers and unwillingness of some users to do so;

  • some users find comments reminding users to improve their acceptance rate a little annoying.

I think it would be good to have collected in one place some arguments why it is important to accept an answer, if at least one good answer is given. And, perhaps, if someone feels strongly about why he is not accepting answers, some explanations about this could be given here, too. (At least, meta is certainly a better place to discuss this than comments and chat.)

See also: How to accept an answer

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This should be tagged faq, I think. What do you say, mods? –  J. M. Dec 27 '11 at 10:07
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@J.M. Sounds like a good idea, done. –  Zev Chonoles Dec 27 '11 at 10:10
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You should accept an answer. –  gnometorule Dec 29 '11 at 21:54
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@gnometorule: Why? –  Asaf Karagila Jan 1 '12 at 7:48
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@Asaf See Zev's answer bellow. :-) –  Martin Sleziak Jan 1 '12 at 8:16
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4 Answers 4

up vote 19 down vote accepted

I'd say the main arguments for accepting answers are given in the FAQ posts in meta.SO on accepting an answer and accept rate, namely:

  • rewards posters for solving your problem
  • informs others that your issue is resolved
  • indicates which answer you think is the most most helpful to you
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Perhaps not that important as the three you mentioned, but accepting an answer also prevents the question from being bumped repeatedly: see here: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/1808/… –  Martin Sleziak Dec 27 '11 at 10:09
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That's true, but it should be noted that that only comes into play if no answers have upvotes, which, while not necessarily an indication of poor quality (unfortunately), is not promising either. –  Zev Chonoles Dec 27 '11 at 10:17
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In addition to Zev's reason why it is usually not relevant, the bumping can also be a positive side effect of not accepting in cases where there is a good answer that went overlooked by voters. –  Jonas Meyer Dec 28 '11 at 3:35
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When I first joined, I had no idea regarding accepting answers. Subsequently, I got a rather "nasty" comment about my dereliction.

But I still didn't know the mechanic of doing so. Unless I missed it, taking a quick glance at the FAQ page (which is what many people might do) there is no explicit heading for accepting questions and the etiquette it entails.

Additionally, I have seen comments where, in consideration of the questioner, it was suggested not to accept an answer too quickly since more opinions or perspectives might be of value.

Now that I am acclimated to the system, I would add that I look askance at questioners with low accept rates. (BTW if you want to know how dopy I am, initially I thought accept rate referred to whether questions were accepted.)

So I would suggest a bold-headed comment early on in the FAQ section.

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The community's approach to this issue mirrors that of our dealing with "poor questions" (at least in my perception) - which was not ideal. Too many users have an axe to grind about accepting answers, and go about it in ways that might leave the un-acceptor slighted.

This isn't to say that I disagree with Zev's top 3 reasons for accepting answers, but rather that we could handle this better.

Proposal: When bringing the issue of a "low" accept rate to the attention of a user, we should take a less imperative approach and link to this question and/or the FAQ.

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Related, though not sure what I make of it: Victor has been badgered into maintaining a 100% accept rate, but still asks the most deplorable questions! –  The Chaz 2.0 Mar 20 '12 at 21:38
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Here is an example of a post that has just popped (by Community♦ bot) on the frontpage on (14 Mar 2012) although it was originally posted in (14 Dec 2011). By accepting answers, such posts won't keep jamming the frontpage, nor would they appear on the unanswered tab. i.e., let the actual unanswered questions get more attention.

Limits of an Integral

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Users who ask and do no more are my least favorite. –  The Chaz 2.0 Mar 14 '12 at 6:50
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