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Many times questions get answered and answered well, but for whatever reason (lack of intelligence, age, language, understanding of how the site works, etc), an answer never gets accepted as the correct answer.

This seems to be a common problem on this site, mainly I think because of the clientèle that we have to deal with (blood from a stone springs to mind...) and that's making the whole site suffer IMHO.

So I am wondering if there is a way that we, as a community, could flag an answer as high quality (kind of the opposite of the low quality flag). With enough flags the answer can then be accepted by the community instead of by the OP (whom we never hear from ever again).

I'm thinking:

  • Can only be done on answers with > +(10?) votes
  • Can only be done if there is no accepted answer
  • Can only be done on questions older than (7?) days
  • Requires (5?) flags
  • You cannot flag your own post, but you can agree to your own post being flagged in the flag queue (so someone else has to have flagged it first)
  • You can only flag if you have enough rep (not my place to decide the level ;) )

Addendum:

Since the comments below have enlightened me to how the "not answered" is decided, another idea occurs to me - something that might possibly be implementable by the devs.

From time to time you come across a truly awesome answer that has no (or maybe one) vote. An answer that someone (* cough * nick * cough *) has obviously spent a lot of time and energy writing. The kind of answer where you think "That's an answer and a half. It deserves more than just one vote".

I would gladly give up some of my own reputation to give that kind of answer 5 votes.

  • As far as the addendum goes, you can sort of do this via bounties. The minimum spend is 50, and it doesn't actually impact the actual vote count. However I think awarded bounty is factored into how the answer is ranked on the page, and the rep goes straight to the user. – Jake C Jan 27 '16 at 11:30
  • Yeah, bounty is more about "This question needs a good answer writing for it" as opposed to "This answer is stunning and is under-voted. I love it more than chocolate." – Majenko Jan 27 '16 at 11:32
  • Except, you can award a bounty as a "you are awesome" gesture. I have seen it done on several occasions on other sites, I'm currently skimming through Meta to see if there are wait time requirements in these situations, or if you can just instantly award. – Jake C Jan 27 '16 at 11:37
  • @JakeC But not on an answer - only on a question. And it's not the questions that want more votes but the answers. It's not about giving Nick more rep, it's about getting the right answers to get enough votes. – Majenko Jan 27 '16 at 11:38
  • Thanks for the kind remarks, Majenko, however I noticed practically all of your answers are lengthy and well-written as well. In fact when I come across an answer with lots of detail, diagrams, schematics, maths, etc. it is usually no surprise to find your name at the bottom of it. – Nick Gammon Jan 27 '16 at 20:19
  • 1
    The frustrating thing is, I have an short answer on English Language SE about "crossing the road" or "crossing a road" which got me 21 up-votes. That's almost as much as my highest answer here, which took me hours to write. You seem to get heaps more rep on other sites, even for short answers, whereas long ones (including mine, Majenkos and others) are lucky to get a single vote. – Nick Gammon Jan 27 '16 at 20:21
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Interesting idea, but I thought things were worse than that. :)

I've noticed quite a few answers (including some of my own, heh) which do not get a single up-vote, let alone being accepted by the asker.

At least with an up-vote, the system (I think) considers the question answered (maybe with a couple of up-votes, I'm not sure). (Not accepted, but at least answered, so it drops off the "unanswered" list).

If people (like you and me) are not even up-voting each others' answers, I don't know where 5 positive flags are going to come from.

My suggestion at this point is, that those of us who post regularly take a look at answers (by others) and up-vote them if they look OK.

This will have the side-effect of boosting site reputation for everyone, so that more people can participate in voting to close doubtful questions, etc.

  • 2
    Yeah, this is a problem, and we're all (me especially) guilty of it :) I see you doing your part though, and I'm trying to do mine ;) I think a big part of the problem is that people come here having used the Arduino forum or other forums and expect it to be the same format - discussion - which it isn't. As a result they don't know about up-voting and accepting answers. Maybe we need a big-ass banner at the top of the screen "Don't forget to up-vote answers you agree with and accept the best answer for your questions." – Majenko Jan 25 '16 at 22:14
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    I've made a boilerplate: Was the answer helpful? If so, please accept it by clicking on the "tick" icon next to the answer, and also possibly upvote it. This indicates to other users that you found the answer useful, and it also stops Stack Exchange from periodically "bumping" your question in the hope of getting an accepted answer. Thanks for your understanding and cooperation! – Nick Gammon Jan 25 '16 at 22:18
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    That is nicely written. Mind if I steal it? Maybe a boiler-plate commenting system would be good to have in the site - select from a list of pre-defined comments to leave people. – Majenko Jan 25 '16 at 22:20
  • You are welcome to it. Having a bit of boilerplate makes you more likely to use it than just sigh and move on. I've got mine on my Leonardo boilerplate-generator. :) – Nick Gammon Jan 25 '16 at 22:21
  • Nice. I just installed QuickNote for Firefox - give me a notepad at the side of the browser window - great for copy-and-paste boilerplate :) – Majenko Jan 25 '16 at 22:23
  • Of course, I am using my own home-built keyboard (made from an old Amiga A500 and a suitable chipKIT board - who uses Arduino these days? ;) ) so I guess I could program it into there actually... – Majenko Jan 25 '16 at 22:24
  • I have a couple more, eg: Please edit your post and format the code using the code formatting markdown (four leading spaces). For help see Markdown help. You should be able to do this by selecting the code and pressing Ctrl+K to have your browser do this for you. – Nick Gammon Jan 25 '16 at 22:26
  • This is currently where most of my participation lies. The amount of time I have to devote to answers is limited, but I still try and review questions that have unaccepted answers and ensure that the best answer has at least one vote. – Jake C Jan 27 '16 at 5:44
  • Much appreciated, it is, too. – Nick Gammon Jan 27 '16 at 6:25
  • I have added another idea that occurred to me to my question... – Majenko Jan 27 '16 at 11:25
  • I don't think upvoting is practical. There are right answers and brilliant answers. If both are upvoted, upvoting lost its value. – user31481 Nov 9 '17 at 7:17
  • I'm not suggesting upvoting all the answers. However if you find a question that has no answers with upvotes, then consider upvoting the best answer. If the OP disappears without accepting or voting, then it devolves to us to help others know which answer is a good one. – Nick Gammon Nov 10 '17 at 6:41
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I just want to echo what Nick Gammon has said and just explain my methodology for improving this. The system only considers a question as unanswered if it has no answers with a score greater than 0. There are a lot of questions out there with good answers, just none of them have been up-voted. So when I get a chance I go through and vote on answers that need

So my personal process for this is when I first open the site I scroll down through the Active list and look for questions bumped by the "Community" user. Per these answers on meta, these are exactly the questions that need attention, and one is bumped every hour. I spend a few minutes and look through the top few of them and vote where appropriate.

It's a thankless job, as there is no karma received for voting (although there are badges, I think), and it doesn't do much to address the general lack of engagement by the majority of the users here, but I does help the overall quality of the site in the long run.

  • This is all good stuff. I have been using these sites for years, and even I didn't know how that side of things worked. I now have a new task in a morning :) It's just a shame I can't up-vote my own answers ;) – Majenko Jan 27 '16 at 10:34
  • I have added another idea that occurred to me to my question... – Majenko Jan 27 '16 at 11:25
  • There are no direct benefits from up-voting other answers (or questions) but the indirect effect is that the site benefits. For example, if a good answer has a few up-votes, then visitors are more likely to believe them, and thus the reputation of the site as a whole will improve in the wider community. – Nick Gammon Jan 28 '16 at 4:11
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I don't think the SE team would implement this. There has been various talk about this before (formal and informal), and the consensus is to leave accepting for users (especially ones who can't yet vote), and for everyone else to upvote.

For a question to be considered unanswered, it must have no upvoted or accepted answers.

1

Perhaps, could users with a very high reputation be awarded the privilege to mark answers as the accepted answer?

I believe this would improve the quality of this site.

1

Call for action: Go for the Vox populi batch and the civic duty batch.
Note if you go for the "vox populi" batch do not star questions as you will not be able to get your 40 votes.

I hope someone noticed some upvotes today.
Tomorrow I try again for the "vox populi"
There seems to be a suffrage badge for 30 votes as well :-)

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