7

Currently I have a 0% accept rate. I don't choose the "correct answers" basically because I feel that I'm not qualified to do so. So basically I would just let the readers decide themselves.

Assuming there are more people with this behavior (having 0% accept rates), ultimately it would definitely affect the site statistics "% questions answered".

So basically I was wondering, is it ok to have 0% accept rate ?

10

The accept rate is something I haven't figured out how to handle. On most SE sites I would say that this is totally unacceptable. On this site you might notice my own accept rate has been between 6% and 20%. I have a different reason than you for not wanting to accept answers, but it's generally the same problem.

In order to help the beta along I have asked a lot of questions, some of them controversial, and I don't want it to look like I was doing so to railroad my particular beliefs into being some sort of canonical correct answer. I have accepted a few answers that were particularly good, covered multiple views on the issue respectfully, or were simple enough that I figured it wouldn't be too controversial. I still don't know what to do with some of the others.

However I think it's worth noting that the green check box is not a proof that that answer is correct so much as you as the OP accepted it. This means that you accept the validity of the reasoning (even if it's a topic you hold a different view on) and that it was the answer you felt was most helpful to you. As such I don't think there is anything particularly wrong with accepting answers that you felt to be good for you. The community is still going to continue to vote and decide between themselves what answers they feel are best.

Another thing is that it takes times for good answers to come up. Sometimes a great answer will come in the day you ask the question, but I have already seen many of the best answers comming to the first questions on the site just coming in now a couple weeks later. Sometimes people need to think the problem over for a while and do research, sometimes it's just a matter of the right person coming along. In other cases people need to build off of or challenge each others answers in order to come up with a really good one and this takes time.

Don't sweat it too much, so far I don't see anybody objecting to low accept rates here. One person even suggested they not show at all on the site!

  • 2
    +1 for "The community is still going to continue to vote and decide between themselves what answers they feel are best." – Ian Pugsley Sep 9 '11 at 17:22
8

Accepting an answer is a natural part of the question-answer cycle, so users have at least an expectation that an answer will be "accepted" — even when others are also deserving. It is simply a way for the original author to close the loop and provide that sense closure: "You asked a question and we answered. Did it help?" Accepting an answer is a bit of nod to everyone to say, "Thank you, everyone; I've been helped."

I think you may be over-thinking the accepted answer a bit.

The "accepted answer" is not an indication of what is correct. It is simply the answer you personally found to be most helpful (however you choose to define that). The sort-by-most-votes is really the leading indicator of the "people's choice" and I think most participants see it that way. Accepting an answer doesn't really take away from the others who received the reputation points awarded by the community vote.

So, about the "accepted answer rate" — Not all users passing through this site will be highly engaged in the give-and-take process that make this work. Inevitably, there will be users who will just ask, ask, ask and never follow up on their question or even come back for the answer. Over time, users started to feel they had the right to know when these relationship became very one-sided. For right or wrong, a 0% accept rate tells everyone that you — for whatever reason — have chosen not to participate in that "giving back" portion of the process.

It's not a perfect system, but it provides a bit of transparency into where you are participating and where you are not.

  • I completely agree. I've seen many questions on Stack Overflow that had "off" answers that helped me out. What I was seeking wasn't the answer to the specific question, but an answer surrounding that question. The magic green checkmark--to me--says "This is what I was looking for". – Richard Sep 9 '11 at 20:16
  • I believe there is usually a correct answer to such questions, even if it's "some Christians believe this, and some Christians believe that". – DJClayworth Sep 10 '11 at 23:41
3

This is one I put much thought to the other day, after asking a question. I had to think about what I mean by accepting an answer, as ultimately I am very unlikely to agree with Biblical reasoning on any answer (just due to my views), but accepting a secular answer on a religious question on a religious site feels inappropriate and ungrateful to the respondents.

I instead decided to focus on:

  • is the most useful to the site and readers
  • addresses the question as asked
  • well written
  • provides relevant citations as necessary
  • provides additional insight, not just copy/paste from Wikipedia etc

So I will "accept" an answer (for my own definition of accept), when it has stewed for a few days to gather viewpoints. Even if I personally disagree totally with the views of the answer :p

  • I agree with the focus points but disagree with the stewing time. Most of these questions have been around for 2000 years and many have dedicated their life's work to them, so as long as there's no good answer, I'd rather keep waiting. Or, if we're to set time guidelines, rather a month than a few days. – dancek Sep 12 '11 at 17:20
0

I'll give a straight answer - no, it's not OK to have a 0% accept rate.

I agree with @RobertCartiano's answer but would take it step farther. If you are asking the question, you should be doing so because you personally want a good answer to learn from. So you should accept the one that helps you out the most.

If you are asking the question so that the resident geniuses can hold forth and hear themselves talk, not because you really need the answer, you should not ask the question in the first place.

Yes, this even applies to "seeding questions" in beta. Seeding questions is an awful practice and sets an early precedent that people shouldn't be asking questions they care about (and hence low accept rates, and so on).

The only reason not to accept an answer is if one did not help you out with your problem/question personally. This does happen from time to time but is rare in my experience.

If you ask an honest question, and someone gives a good answer, accept the best one.

I do object to low accept rates and tend to not answer questions from people that have them. Why? Because I spend my time on SEs answering questions to help people, not to show what a smartypants I am. If someone doesn't have a high accept rate, it tells me they are not asking questions they really need help on, they are just asking to spur discussion. I have plenty of forums I can go to and have discussion; to me the point of a SE is helping other people with real questions and getting help on my real questions.

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