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Why is the rate for accepting answers on SE:EE so low, compared with other SE sites?

How could users be more encouraged to hit the button and therefore help others know which answer was really helpful?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If I'm understanding the gist of your question, "moral" is an awkward word choice - I wouldn't accuse someone who hasn't accepted any answers of being "immoral" \$\endgroup\$ – W5VO Nov 21 '16 at 22:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe I was mislead by my mother tongue. I mean morale in terms of "discipline". \$\endgroup\$ – DPF Nov 22 '16 at 6:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ No problem, I just wanted to check before rewording it \$\endgroup\$ – W5VO Nov 22 '16 at 15:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think most people are busy and don't go back and accept the answers. \$\endgroup\$ – Voltage Spike Nov 22 '16 at 18:49
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I made a few statistics using DataExplorer on the main SE sites, and a few others sites taken randomly (from the ones I visit from time to time):

               QuestionCount AnsweredCount AcceptedCount Accepted/Answered
tex                   123789        104753         75154      71.7%
mathematics           691306        582320        365594      62.8%
stackoverflow       12804240      11169780       6976659      62.1%
programmers            42679         40457         25164      62.2%
unix                  103348         86958         50792      58.4%
serverfault           232025        208532        117444      56.3%
electronics            70754         66819         37490      56.1% ***
english                77106         72596         40655      56.0%
itsecurity             34928         31910         17177      53.8%
superuser             332158        271327        142278      52.4%
workplace              12807         12582          6429      51.1%
arduino                 9063          7528          3639      48.3%
parenting               4449          4287          2065      48.2%
raspberry pi           15810         12206          5717      46.8%
askubuntu             246617        195549         83889      42.9%

We're actually on the average.

We're certainly not on the top, maybe for the following reasons (but that is very subjective):

  • People coming here to ask questions are often unaware of how this site works. They come because they want to know "how to wire two led strips on the same power supply" (we get a lot of questions like that), and they don't really bother looking how the community works. Once they have their answer, they never come back. I think it is less common for stackoverflow, because newbies starting to get into development know that they'll probably have more questions in the future. And I'm not really familiar with askubuntu, but I think they certainly get a lot of people asking a single question, as well, and they have a very bad acceptance rate.
  • There is another category of questions from newbies in the lines of "is it possible to do this [whatever impossible thing to achieve, or extremely difficult system to design]". In which case the typical answer is negative, and explains why. Although the answer is correct, it will certainly be more difficult for the OP to accept it (because it also means accepting giving up on his idea). I'm not sure it occurs as often in other fields.
  • There is also a strange thing happening regularily on electronics that I noticed, is that when we answer, we often provide lenghty information about very technical details that are insignificant to the OP (and may actually confuse him). As if we wanted at all cost avoiding making "approximative enough" answers or omitting some specific cases (probably because we don't like somebody else making a comment telling that we forgot a point). The problem is that OP, if he gets confused by the answers, will then have hard time telling which one helped him the most. It doesn't happen every time, but I think it is more the case on this site than on others.

Now, going back to your question: "How could users be more encouraged to hit the button and therefore help others know which answer was really helpful?". Actually, I think there is no real problem. The system, as it is, works well enough. The "which answer is the most accurate?" feedback is, anyway, mostly given by the upvotes, not the accept flag.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the elaborate answer. I would not have been able to makt this statistic overview, as I didn't know of the splendid DataExplorer. I guess, that my feeling has been somewhat subjective. \$\endgroup\$ – DPF Nov 22 '16 at 10:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ I was curious about sites close to our subject area (arduino and rpi). I went ahead and added them to save everyone else the effort. \$\endgroup\$ – W5VO Nov 22 '16 at 14:55

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