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More than a year ago I asked about the Accepted answers rate. Back then I think the conclusion was that the rate had just dropped below $50\%$. If I understand the query it has dropped to $34\%$.

My questions are:

  1. Is this a problem?
  2. Should we attempt to do something about it?
  3. If we should do something about it, what should be done?
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    $\begingroup$ If I understand correctly, but I am not quite sure, this is the ratio over all questions, not only those that even have an answer. This might mix two potential issues: a) more(?) questions do not get answered at all, b) more(?) questions get answered but no answer is accepted. Both might merit discussion, but they seem somewhat orthogonal. $\endgroup$ – quid Jul 11 '15 at 17:35
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    $\begingroup$ You can safely ignore the last entry in the results of that query. Questions from this month simply had not yet much time to get answers and have one of them accepted. Particularly, since the SEDE data was updated last Sunday, when the month was still very young. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Fischer Jul 11 '15 at 18:14
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As quid pointed out, it's impossible to accept an answer where none exists. So the issue should be separated into two:

  1. Percentage of questions that get at least one answer
  2. Percentage of questions with at least one answer, where an answer gets accepted.

It't not necessary to write queries for this, the site search gives the same information (with the help of search parameters). E.g., one can look at the posts that are 3 months old with created:3m, or at all posts in 2015 with created:2015.

I'll take created:3m so that the very recent posts, many of which are on their way to deletion, do not distort the picture.

So, more than half of questions with an answer have an accepted answer.

For year-to-year comparison, the numbers from 15 months ago:

It's remarkable how similar the numbers are, except for the first one. A major factor here is that abandoned questions (0 score, 0 answers, 0-1 comments, low views) are automatically deleted after a year. Presumably, this is also the fate of many of the 16,233 questions created 3 months ago.


More generally, I don't see a reason to ever worry about acceptance. The question author probably posted the same question on five sites, got an answer on three, of which they read one (not the one on Math.SE), and went on about their life. If other users care about the answer, they'll upvote.

If nobody cares about the answer... you still had fun writing it, haven't you? If it isn't fun any more, stop doing it.

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    $\begingroup$ I agree we shouldn't worry about acceptance. I do find 76% worryingly low, though. $\endgroup$ – Lord_Farin Jul 12 '15 at 18:19
  • $\begingroup$ The 365-day deletion script should improve it: see the stats I added. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jul 12 '15 at 18:55
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think that it is a good argument to say that communication should be just as fun if the intended target does not listen. $\endgroup$ – Phira Jul 25 '15 at 13:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Phira It's more of an argument for adjusting the intended target. Don't write for the OP. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jul 25 '15 at 16:53
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I'm not sure if that's already included in your statistics, but there are a lot of relatively easy questions that have an answer which is stated as a comment. This will be ok for the one who asks the question, but I also want to point out, that this habit is a bit unnerving for someone who wants to answer an unanswered question only to find, that there is an answer already.

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