I've read almost whole SE Help Center, I am personally active on JoomlaSE by answering, reviewing and commenting posts almost every day, and I am slowly begining to understand what does Q&A network stand for, and that this is not a Facebook (Thank God for that) or any similar Social Network type of site(s).

But it still buggs me a lot when I see so many questions from first-time users (single digit reputation), which HAVE BEEN ANSWERED (and often answered correctly by veterans), but NEVER ACCEPTED or even re-visited by questioneers. Most of the time when I check their profile, the very same time when they asked the question is listed as 'Last seen'. It is more than obvious that for the majority of 'first-time users', question asked means 'only-time users'. It often happens that answers even get upvoted but never accepted.

I am almost certain that the lack of default email notification for the answered questions is to blame for the fact that people looking for quick answer never return to JSE (or any other site from SE network). If they would have been notified by system's email that someone had answered their question, I am sure they would have come back to see the answer. Then they would have either accepted the answer, or posted additional comment, thus begun to act on expected way.

I have checked whole SE Help Center and haven't found a word mentioning email notification. I realise that it sounds more Facebook-ish than creators of SE would like to hear, but I'll bet you any money that first-time users assume that they will receive email notification the moment their question gets answered. I am afraid that without something so normal and expected as system email notification of most important action on site, we will always have bunch of first-time questions which will never be revisited or accepted.

I have found similar but somewhat different questions here on JSE/Meta: Old questions are still not marked as solved - What should be the action here? and Marking Questions as Answered .

What are your thoughts on this matter?


3 Answers 3


The email notification feature could be a nice one, for those that would like to subscribe to a Question, or for the guy that created the question.

A good answer may arrive right away after posting the question, but further good or better answers may arrive days or months later.

So I guess, those that had that question might still be interested in knowing that, and an email notification can be a good way.

Now regarding accepting answers is not the ultimate goal of the SE sites. Although in many cases it makes sense to have an answer accepted, the real thing is to have good answers being upvoted. Moreover, a question with an accepted answer can be the reason that the question might be overlooked later for more good answers, as many users may consider it as answered and won't bother to add another answer.

At the other hand, you can see also the other way around especially with beginners, to accept quickly the first answer even if this is not the best one.

I also think that Un-answered questions are considered those that:

  • Don't have any answer at all,
  • Don't have an accepted answer,
  • None of the answers have more than 2 votes.

(not exactly sure on the above, so if anyone has different information please clarify)

So again, accepting answers is not the goal and should not be a big concern for us that are involved in this community, rather than keeping up with the good work of providing with useful questions/answers, comments, editing, moderating (including voting) the site and its content up to the level of what is possible for each one.

I also have posted many answers that in many cases could be the solution of the problem, and there are cases that not only the answer wasn't accepted but not even upvoted. At first it might leave a taste of disappointment, as it's always an enjoyment to see your posts getting points -truly seeing the green notification with new earned points is kinda addictive and gives a great feeling of satisfaction- but with time and after participating more and more I tend to see the big picture, rather than letting small things getting over me.

  • Couldn't agree more, man... Especially with these two last paragraphs of yours. They should become slogan or motto of whole SE Network :-)
    – Mikan
    Feb 26, 2016 at 21:33
  • stackoverflow.com/unanswered An un-answered question is a question with no upvoted or accepted answers. Jul 19, 2018 at 3:48

Unfortunately there's nothing much we can do.

What I normally do is, if I post an answer and the OP comments below saying that it has solved their issue, I reply with more or less the following:

@User - Glad this solved your issue. Please accept the answer by clicking the 'tick' icon on the left hand side of the answer. This will allow other users who have the same issue to instantly see the solution.

Note: Always tag the user (@User)

Once I've added this reply, it's in the OP's hands. I do not continue to persuade the OP to accept.

A one-off comment I'd say is perfectly fine. When they return to JSE a different time, they'll see a notification as their name was tagged in the comment and in most cases perform the necessary action.

If not, then the answer will most likely get upvoted instead.

Us active users know a good answer when we see one and will always upvote ;)

Overall, we do not want to annoy users by forcing them to accept, but instead politely tell them in some way, shape, or form, that it's the way SE work and is done out of courtesy1

1 Few beers so probably not the best word to have used, but you get the idea

  • Thanks @Lodder... More or less I am doing the same as you. But I am wondering have anyone ever seen mentioning of the concept of 'email notification of answered question' here on JSE or any other site from SE network? I simply can't beleive that feature have never been thought of.
    – Mikan
    Feb 22, 2016 at 19:18
  • Not seen or heard of this feature. I don't think Stack Exchange want to bug people with e-mails. The only emails I know of are newsletters and this is an opt-in feature.
    – Lodder
    Feb 22, 2016 at 19:26
  • Yeah, thought so... Thanks man...
    – Mikan
    Feb 22, 2016 at 19:29

Here's an associated Stackoverflow Meta page: Create review category for unaccepted answers after x weeks of inactivity

Perhaps it is worth expressing on the site tour page...

  1. That only the asker (OP) has the power to award the green tick -- marking their preferred, resolving answer -- and that the power is timeless in that the green tick can be moved if a superior answer comes later on. Perhaps a brief explanation of what a page "bump" would be helpful. Perhaps express that we prefer to help future researchers with this site (not a 1-to-1 interaction) and that progressing all questions toward a clear/educational resolution is what good JSX citizenship is.
    * Additionally, I think it would be an awesome, awesome feature if abandoned questions from users that have been deleted or haven't visited for a certain minimum of time (e.g. a year or two) could optionally be assessed by the ♦ moderators. This power should only be engaged if at least 75% of the moderation team agrees on the same preferred answer. When this occurs, I suppose the OP shouldn't get rep points for accepting an answer AND the OP will forever have the power to shift or remove the green tick if they return to the community and elect to do so.

  2. That the StackExchange App offers push notifications to your mobile device. Every time I receive an answer or comment, I get an alert. This is very helpful tool as a solution provider because I can be much faster in my correspondence on the site. The same can be said for those who are awaiting support for their new question, but who can't physically wait behind the computer for a response.
    *I personally use the mobile app and I would hate to operate without it, but in all honesty, I don't actually use the app to post or comment -- when I receive a notification I turn to the web app because I prefer the interface/functionalities.

Now, I should state that I have read enough of the Stackoverflow Meta pages to know that the high-up veterans are rather firm about the status quo and they place absolutely no value on "answer acceptance". This is not my call and I can't imagine ever having the power to facilitate this change, but this does grate me. I look at each page as a "support ticket" (again, MANY disagree with me on this point) and the the green tick is a giant screaming beacon that affirms that the question is sufficiently resolved.

Also based on plenty of Stackoverflow Meta reading, the "idea" behind the meaning of reputation points is a loose metric for "community trustworthiness". However, more information can be inferred. If most of your points are earned from answers, then this proves your authority/expertise in the subjects related to the tag points acquired. If most of your points are from questions, then this proves that you are a strong communicator and are capable of posting good, clear, unique questions. ...I digress... getting more green ticks awarded will help everyone in multiple ways.

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