Especially if the question and answer(s) are very much new, say less than 12 hours or even 24 hours, is it ok to ask OP to accept the answer, that is added by self or someone else.

See examples, here and here.

Even if the OP is a new comer, it is not good to do so, considering low number of views and votes.

Don't we need better ways of telling the asker that it is better to accept the most suitable answer, by means of ribbon above the unaccepted answer, only visible to the asker?

  • 1
    We may ask the OP to accept the most useful answer in addition to upvoting it so that somebody need not remind/educate them (Considering the practice of some OPs who visit only to get a solution for once). This sounds like a good suggestion.
    – user11232
    Sep 15, 2012 at 6:36
  • You say "it is not good to do so", but I don't understand why. Please explain. Sep 15, 2012 at 8:37
  • 1
    'it is not good to do so, considering low number of views and votes.' One can not judge, too early, that a better answer is not possible. Sep 15, 2012 at 10:05
  • I still don't understand. At any point in time, the most useful answer should be accepted, if there is a useful answer at all. A better answer is always possible, even several years later. Of course, acceptance must then be shifted. Sep 15, 2012 at 11:15
  • 1
    @StephanLehmke I'm not sure about 'must': it's up to the OP which answer (if any) they feel is most useful to them. It's quite possible that they choose to accept an answer that has far fewer votes than some other 'better' one.
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Sep 15, 2012 at 12:36
  • 1
    @JosephWright Sorry for not being clear. I meant "better" in the sense of "more useful to the OP". Still, I don't understand this site to be a hotline for getting help with your own problems. Why would we edit or close questions as "too localised" otherwise? There is always also the usefulness for other users with the same question to be considered. Sep 15, 2012 at 12:45
  • Two years, No accepted answer. Which one answers the question? tex.stackexchange.com/questions/1380/… Sep 15, 2012 at 15:59

2 Answers 2


Experience suggests that a lot of 'newer' users will add comments such as 'That solved my problem' or 'Thanks' to answers. As the voting/accepting mechanism is the 'visible' way that this can be done on the site, it's desirable that they know this.

At the same time, experience also suggests that many people visit the site only to solve their specific problem, and that asking them after a delay of several days is not necessarily likely to work. The text building blocks page suggests that we should wait a little while before leaving a comment about accepting. The delay suggested there is 24 h: that seems about right to me, although I do note that as only the OP can accept an answer, that increases the chance that no answer will ever be accepted.

  • 7
    +1. Well said. Also, if a better answer appears later (as felt by OP), he can always switch the accepted status.
    – user11232
    Sep 15, 2012 at 6:33
  • Wouldn't it be better if the system asks to accept the answer, than the answerer himself. Is shifting of accepted answer every time another better answer is added, welcome? Sep 15, 2012 at 10:22
  • 2
    @NobleP.Abraham You can imagine the 'back end' popping up a message when the person voting asked the question and there is no accepted answer. I've no idea how easy that would be to do! (It would also presumably happen when the OP voted, which might be minutes after asking the question.)
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Sep 15, 2012 at 12:35
  • 1
    You can imagine the 'back end' popping up a message when the person voting asked the question and there is no accepted answer. And/Or when the OP reaches the question with no accepted answer. That is a better solution, than someone asking to accept. Sep 15, 2012 at 16:06
  • 3
    @NobleP.Abraham Only a partial solution at best: assumes they vote at all, and can't 'read' their comments. Sometimes we get 'Great, that solved my problem', which really does suggest that accepting would be useful, but which no automated system will pick up.
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Sep 15, 2012 at 18:39

From a broader perspective, the usefuless of the site as a whole increases significantly if a useful answer is accepted immediately, shifting acceptance later if neccessary.

I am happy about every person who takes the time to care about this and remind askers of their duty in this case. It's a measure of quality assurance, and this site is a better place for it. I'd be even happier if it was possible to do this by a private message, but this site doesn't offer that.

I can't think of any reason against doing so, and unfortunately you're also giving none.

  • For the specific case in the first link given in discussion. The answer was not in the way the OP wanted; and the answerer is suggesting the OP to follow his suggestion. And then asks him to accept it. The OP might have his own reasons for requesting a particular solution. Note, later the second answer, clearly shows the solution exactly as the OP has shown. Sep 15, 2012 at 10:12
  • 4
    @NobleP.Abraham The comment by the OP, "That looks nice! And I learned quite a bit." seems to suggest otherwise. Furthermore, I'd suggest you read again the comment you linked to. Summarizing it with "asks him to accept it" does not seem to do it justice at all. Sep 15, 2012 at 11:12
  • 7
    Too early acceptance is not necessarily a good thing, since it can diminish the incentive to others to provide an alternative answer. (Not because they want the votes, but because if the problem appears has been solved they could use their time more wisely on some other question.) Also, for the occasional user of the site, I suspect that accepting a different answer is quite rare.
    – Alan Munn
    Sep 15, 2012 at 23:51
  • @AlanMunn That exactly is the point. Sep 16, 2012 at 0:38
  • @AlanMunn Good point. That's the explanation I have been waiting for ;-) So there is a tradeoff. Sep 16, 2012 at 5:12

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .