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I have from time to time been politely reminded on various SE sites to accept one of the answers I've received to a question I've written.

I ventured to do the same yesterday, on Academia SE, asking an OP if she was ready to accept an answer on a question that was almost three weeks old, had been viewed 27K times, and had collected seven nonzero answers, one with a vote of 263.

I need a better way to politely prompt. I wrote:

It's been a couple of weeks. Have you tried any of the suggestions? Did any of them prove helpful? Are you ready to accept an answer?

This went over badly, with the OP not only not accepting an answer or providing feedback, but also telling me to go easy on the "patronizing." So, my prompt was singularly ineffective.

What's a better way to prompt someone to accept an answer? I need some innocuous phrasing that will not get an OP's back up.

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Just don't.

Users are under no obligation to accept answers at all. Users also vary in their preferences regarding when to accept an answer; some people may accept an answer months later, for example. Per the help center:

Accepting an answer is not meant to be a definitive and final statement indicating that the question has now been answered perfectly. It simply means that the author received an answer that worked for him or her personally. Not every user comes back to accept an answer, and of those who do, they might not change the accepted answer even if a newer, better answer comes along later.

I think it's fine to alert a new user who has never accepted an answer before to the "accept answer" feature, but otherwise I recommend refraining from such reminders. As you have noticed, such reminders are not always received well.

  • So what's going on when I am prompted to accept an answer (this question doesn't just refer to Academia SE)? – aparente001 Feb 20 '17 at 17:07
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    @aparente001 I'm not sure what you mean. You're asking me to explain other user's actions? Users do all kinds of things that I would not recommend doing. – ff524 Feb 20 '17 at 17:11
  • I'll rephrase. Suppose you ask a question, either here or on another SE site, and someone prompts you to accept an answer, either gently or aggressively -- do you recommend ignoring it, regardless of the context or the tone? (Because I have been prompted, I got the idea SE frowns on leaving questions lying around with no accepted answer; I'm gleaning you don't see things this way.) – aparente001 Feb 20 '17 at 17:14
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    @aparente001 "I got the idea SE frowns on leaving questions lying around with no accepted answer" - not at all. SE deliberately makes accepting answers an optional feature, and removed an "accept rate" metric from user profiles years ago because people were badgering users about accepting answers. – ff524 Feb 20 '17 at 17:24
  • So, if someone pesters you to accept an answer, what reply, if any, would write? – aparente001 Feb 20 '17 at 17:25
  • @aparente001 I would not write a response, and I would flag the comment as "too chatty" so a mod could delete it. – ff524 Feb 20 '17 at 17:27
  • Okay, I will give it a try. I think this would be a good addition to your answer. If you think so too, do you care who makes the edit? – aparente001 Feb 20 '17 at 17:31
  • @aparente001 I prefer to keep the answer focused on the question about writing reminders. Especially for meta, it's useful to keep separate ideas in separate posts, so that voting becomes a useful measure of community sentiment on that one idea. – ff524 Feb 20 '17 at 17:35
  • Well, it's your answer, but for me, the problem was what seemed like a contradiction. For me, "I would not write a response, and I would flag the comment as "too chatty" so a mod could delete it" was the actual answer to what I was confused about. – aparente001 Feb 20 '17 at 17:39

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