A few stats:

In other words, even when I answer a question where I think I might be the absolutely right one to give the optimal answer, I have a ~0.45 chance of not getting accepted afterwards; if i consider I might not be the only one to answer: that number gets even worse.

I've spent a couple of minutes pasting

friendly reminder: please accept an answer or clarify what is not satisfactory about the answers you've gotten. This site stops working if askers don't give feedback!!

as comment to questions that have gotten positive-upvote-count answers.

I'd really like to encourage especially new users to give answers, but with as few users as we have, the reward of answering something is really small, and the +15 from an accepted answer makes a hell of a difference.

So, is there a better way to encourage people to accept or discuss answers?

  • $\begingroup$ Acceptances are a good thing but don't forget that they are not meant to be obligatory. (ref 1, ref 2) $\endgroup$ – Kevin Reid AG6YO Apr 16 '17 at 0:58
  • $\begingroup$ Totally agree, op should only accept an answer if it it answered their question! But: most of the answerers here are enthusiasts, so the chance of getting an unacceptable answer should be slim! $\endgroup$ – Marcus Müller Apr 16 '17 at 9:29
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps we should be thinking about the problem as "not enough following up" rather than "not enough accepts"? I don't think we often see e.g. someone commenting thank-you but not accepting. $\endgroup$ – Kevin Reid AG6YO Apr 16 '17 at 14:58
  • $\begingroup$ @KevinReidAG6YO yes, that sounds like a solid approach. added it as a (potential) answer! $\endgroup$ – Marcus Müller Apr 16 '17 at 15:17
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    $\begingroup$ I believe that there used to be a helpful window that popped up when the answer was upvoted, about marking it as accepted. I'm checking on that. $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters Sep 24 '19 at 23:15

It seems to me that the problem is that many people asking questions don't stick around long enough to follow up by accepting the answer. Or, they don't like the answer or answers, and they don't feel a sense of obligation to mark the best answer as accepted, perhaps because lots of questions here don't have accepted answers.

In other words, this problem is just a symptom of the larger problem with the site: not enough active regular participants. (We're facing the same problem in our local ham club...) I think if we solve that problem, then this smaller problem will fade away on its own.

  • $\begingroup$ True, this is a symptom, not a root problem. Generally, I find the SE concept works pretty well to long-term motivate technically minded people, but it might just not work as well for ham crowds? $\endgroup$ – Marcus Müller Sep 10 '19 at 19:47
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    $\begingroup$ @MarcusMüller I wasn't around for the early days of the site, and I find it fascinating how popular the site was back then. Many of the questions with the most votes were from late 2013 or early 2014. Clearly the site was popular with ham crowds back then for a little while. I'm not sure why most of the crowd has left since then; there is still plenty of material for questions left. (Maybe I should post more.) As a non-EE who hasn't tried SDR yet, I'm a bit tired of SDR posts, but there is plenty of great stuff about antennas and such. $\endgroup$ – rclocher3 Sep 10 '19 at 20:17
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    $\begingroup$ even as EE whose primary background is SDR, I find that a lot of the SDR posts here might have been better off being asked somewhere else, because they're often non-specific to ham applications, and people exchanging with other communities probably helps more than the lack of these question on this specific site hurts $\endgroup$ – Marcus Müller Sep 11 '19 at 15:14
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    $\begingroup$ @MarcusMüller That's a great point. Promoting exchanging with other communities strengthens our community and the others too. $\endgroup$ – rclocher3 Sep 11 '19 at 16:49

Kevin suggested that we look at the problem as:

"not enough following up" rather than "not enough accepts"?

That's an interesting thought. Maybe we should develop a habit of ending answers with

Hope that helped. In any case, please don't forget to tell us how it went!

or so.

(this is just one of many possible approaches to the accept problem. Figured we might want to collect those as answers!)

  • $\begingroup$ That specific proposal sounds like a recipe for getting thanks-comments instead of accepts. $\endgroup$ – Kevin Reid AG6YO Apr 16 '17 at 15:19
  • $\begingroup$ well, I'm all open for suggestions :) Please edit my answer if you have a better wording! $\endgroup$ – Marcus Müller Apr 16 '17 at 15:21

I’ve just started out on HAM and I’m looking forward to benefiting from participating on this site.

Over on DBA.SE where I am a 8k rep user, we have similar issues. There have been Meta Q&A’s regarding enforcing answers and the likes.

Bottom-line is:

It will work out in the end.


Enforcing acceptance of answers could back-fire for non-answers being (forcefully?) turned into answers.

Seeing as this site is very young I can only give the following advice:

Be patient with our young community


In my opinion, the reason sometimes that answers aren't marked as accepted is that the answers provided often don't answer the question, and are seemingly just lengthy and egotistical attempts by the authors of the answers to create the impression of vast knowledge and experience, when usually a simple short and precise answer is all that's required.

I find these long answers a waste of time and rude and insulting.

So how to encourage question 'askers' to accept ?

The answer to this is directed at the answer providers.

When answering a question, have the respect for the question author to actually read and understand what the question is asking, and then attempt to answer the question.

For example, broadcasting how may years someone has been an amateur for at the start of the answer doesn't help anyone.

Long answers with irrelevant information just makes you think that the author of the answer has some motive other than actually answering the question.

And firing back a return question as a comment which seems to attempt to ridicule the question asker doesn't do anyone any good either.

  • $\begingroup$ Hm, OK, so there might be a difference in perception here: 1. I don't feel like we've got many of these answers (long answers tend to be of the scheme of either "ok, this is actually complicated,so we need to take a step back and explain basics", or "Answer; and now:for something that I really think will help you achieve what you're planning because that's the problem in the greater scheme of things you'll be facing", and both types of answers are good answers) and 2.Such bad answers should be downvoted as hell;negative-score answers are really rare here.Do you say we need more downvoting? $\endgroup$ – Marcus Müller Oct 11 '19 at 8:12
  • $\begingroup$ I went through that list I've linked to in my answer, and honestly could found scarcely any example of the self-experience-boasting answer type. I wouldn't have asked this if I wasn't frustrated with the situation myself, and as someone who doesn't have an amateur license to call his own, I'm pretty sure I couldn't be the one to boast about his ham operating year count... $\endgroup$ – Marcus Müller Oct 11 '19 at 8:29

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