Are you using "Accept an answer to a question (7 days after the question was asked)"?

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Cedric Wannaz
Cedric Wannaz on 8 Apr 2013
Dear all (who have a 500+ rep),
Some of you certainly thought about it for a few years already, so I thought that I would ask.
Thank you and best regards,

Answers (4)

Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 8 Apr 2013
Many or most posters don't know that you can even Accept an answer, so often you'll see comments like "Thanks - it worked beautifully!" but no indication that it was marked as Accepted. So in that case, the OP stated that it solved his/her problem but didn't know about "Accepting" or forgot to do it, so in that case I see no problem with others "Accepting" for the OP.

Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 8 Apr 2013
I don't use it very often. When I do, I have usually wandered across an old posting that I can see has a perfectly valid Answer if the Question was mostly unambiguous.
If it wasn't clear what the Question was asking, then if I Accept an old answer, it has to be one that my intuition tells me addresses what the person wants to know. (I have a couple of decades of answering Usenet questions, and have developed a "Third Eye" about questions.) If I have significant doubts about the meaning of the Question, I do not Accept any of the Answers.
I almost never Accept my own old Answer.

Jan on 8 Apr 2013
I do not frequently read threads, which are older than 2 weeks. I've done this once after a discussion with another user about the missing acceptance of sufficiently matching answers. I've looked in some hundreds old threads and finally I've felt depressed. I've accepted many dozens of answers, and a lot of them got even comments like "Thanks, problem is solved now".
Another situation when I read "old" threads is, when I check, if one of my answers has be helpful finally, or if I had overlooked a detail. I do not accept my own answers, because this would conflict with the nature of accepting: Of course I think, that my answers are good enough, but this is not a reliable marker of quality.
Jan on 29 Apr 2013
@James: I agree, that the answers in the two linked threads are such helpful, that they can be accepted. And I've accepted them. Sometimes editor powers need to be applied.

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Cedric Wannaz
Cedric Wannaz on 9 Apr 2013
Edited: Cedric Wannaz on 9 Apr 2013
Thank you all for your input (including Wendy who posted here). I thought about it over night and here are my 2 cents..
A rep. of 500 indicates that we came here a little more regularly than just "occasionally to ask a question and answer a few others". It doesn't indicate that we are really serious or dedicated to the forum (yet) though. 500 seems therefore a bit low to get a privilege that could potentially allow people to favor their own answers over the others'.
I agree with Wendy though, who says that threads with an "Answered" status set by whoever can legitimately recognize valuable answers (whether it is the OP or other members) provide more valuable information than unanswered threads (which may look suspicious), and rise hence the global value of the forum. Now the "legitimacy to recognize valuable answers" and "having a large number of people with the right to accept answers" are quite opposed.
Re-bouncing on James' and Wendy's comments, I would say that these situations where there is no feedback at all could be fought a little more actively, e.g. by enforcing people (even with a daily email after 7 days) to come back and at least click on [ Accept ] or write a comment explaining why replies are not fully answering their question. When there is absolutely no feedback and when I know that I am proficient enough on the matter, I have to admit that I would have no problem accepting an answer (that is not mine, but maybe even mine if I provided the only answer.. I'm still unsure about this last point though) after adding a short comment explaining the situation.
I've seen Walter mentioning "janitor" type of work on the forum, and I think that a 500 rep. should allow people to do this kind of work actually, if they have time and energy for this (and if they are trusted; I'll develop this below). It is obviously tricky to give enough privileges to perform janitor work without giving all privileges, but it is certainly worth working on finding a solution.. in the sense that currently you have to be a high rep. member to spend your time on e.g. formatting questions instead of answering them (..).
Jan posted lately a question about formatting and I commented mentioning "trustees". I think that it is meaningful in the sense that active people in the top 10 rep. know roughly who is answering questions and have an idea about the quality of the answers; in other words, I think that privileges would be better distributed by a mechanism involving rep. points but more importantly a sponsorship/trustee mechanism involving these top 10 rep. active people.
Mixing this idea and the "janitor" type of work mentioned above, I believe that it would be quite interesting if members hitting 500 rep. points, and defined as trustees by top 10 members, would get a limited privilege for editing questions (maybe more interesting than giving a privilege for accepting answers). To illustrate, a logic could be:
  • Rep. points provide recognition as they should, but no privilege. These are separate aspects of the "life" on the forum.
  • Rep. points + the sponsorship/trustee flag provide privileges. E.g. 500 pts + trustee provide "janitor type of work" privileges. People with these privileges are thought to be able to know when/where they are proficient enough to accept answers, and hence have the privilege to accept answers. They can also edit questions without having the full editor privilege, which could be defined as: adding/deleting spaces, underscore, stars, and CR/LF. This would allow performing most of the formatting tasks, without leaving the possibility to change the content (addressing hence Jan's concern in his post mentioned above). It would be relatively easy to implement the check: after removal of these characters in both the original and the modified text, the strings must match.
Daniel Shub
Daniel Shub on 29 Apr 2013
@Jan where would you draw the trust line? Looking down the rep list it isn't until the 550 range that I start to see names I don't recognize and wouldn't give a "trust" vote to and I am guessing that is because I have been less active lately. Where would you draw the line?

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