I am newer to the Stack Exchange and the Engineering SE so forgive any naivete. With fewer users on this site in particular, it seems more important that up votes are cast to reward and filter good answers.

Often, low reputation users do not accept valid answers. Given a satisfactory answer, they never revert back to accept an answer. This places the question in a state of paralysis, where no additional answers are given and the question is slowly buried in the stack, where fewer votes are cast. On other SE's with more users, this problem is reduced- see similar meta question.

  • We might remind the Asker to accept correct answers? However, this is rude, unenforceable, and the Asker might be correct that the question is unanswered.
  • Or simply not answer questions if the Asker consistently leaves questions unanswered? This deters new users (like myself) from participating and doesnt contribute to a knowledge base.

For the site to grow, good answers must be rewarded and filtered, so that the difference between a good answer and an incorrect answer is better reflected. Accepted answers indicate that a question is resolved. When good answers remain unaccepted, I argue that more upvotes should be cast, effectively accepting the answer (especially when good and bad answers differ by a small vote margin).

With fewer users on this SE, it seems up votes should be cast liberally to further the success of Engineering.SE?

Note: This post is intended to promote discussion of a perceived problem- While I appreciate the irony (with respect to my question), I will remain neutral (by not accepting an answer) to indicate a conclusion has not been decided.


2 Answers 2


I agree with your conclusion that votes should be cast liberally and the platform actively encourages voting with a number of badges.* I personally make an effort to vote on as many questions as possible, up or down, and as many answers as I am able to expertly evaluate (made much easier if the answer is very well-documented, but much harder here on Engineering due to the many different fields within our scope).

I would advise thinking of "accepted" status as relatively insignificant compared to an answer's score (and certainly compared to its content).

I would not advise withholding answers based on whether the question's author is known to accept or not accept answers. It's any user's prerogative to use the "accept" feature or not. Speaking for myself, I have more than once asked a question without the intention to ever accept an answer because I felt doing so would bias future voting in a way that was undesirable. Some users may simply not value the ability to accept an answer, and that's okay.

There is always the challenge of evaluating a set of answers on a less-visible question, where few votes have been cast, but the "meat" of the site consists of more-visible questions. It's not uncommon for less-visible questions to become more visible some time after they're asked, whether by active promotion (sharing questions on social media, linking them in blogs) or serendipity (current events making something a "hot topic").

* In approximately the order that they might typically be earned: Supporter, Critic, Suffrage, Vox Populi, Civic Duty, Electorate.


I think prompting askers to accept an answer isn't really good etiquette. Particularly if done by someone who has answered the question.

Acceptance rates were displayed on profiles. That led to all sorts of non-constructive comments about acceptance rates and lots of comments prompting people to accept.

It's not constructive. Don't do it, and if you see others posting comments about accepting answers, and acceptance rates, flag those comments as not constructive.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I would just add to this that when you see a new user, especially someone asking their first question, express that they like a particular answer and it solves their problem -- it's okay to politely inform them about the accept button (even if they're talking about your answer). We'd rather they use the appropriate feature than add chatty content via edits or comments. Just don't bug users who have other accounts on the network, or have asked questions here before. $\endgroup$
    – Air
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 20:34

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