One of the strenghts of stack exchange search is that questions/answers can be sorted/ranked by criteria other than views (which makes it stronger than using Google as a search tool). The number of upvotes that a question or an answer received is a useful for picking out a good answer in the search, but whether it has an "accepted answer" or not is not useful because many good answers are simply never accepted. Some users seem to "abandon" their questions. For example, I found the following question with excellent answers today:

How to fill holes in polygons automatically?

The user never accepted any of the answers. Looking at the user's question, the user only ever asked that one question and then seemed to stop using stackexchange. Could a certain threshold of number of upvotes be used to mark a question as "answer" for the sake of internal search engine? Or something to bypass of inactive user for more than, say 6 months?

For example, in a search, the "answered questions" are highlighted in green so I would be more likely to choose those when I am searching for an answer to my specific query. See this screenshot below: enter image description here

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    This is a request that would affect all SE sites (a couple hundred of them) and therefore belongs on SE Meta, not here. I believe it has been discussed there already. See meta.stackexchange.com/questions/119197/…, for instance.
    – whuber
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 22:18
  • @whuber whuber Okay. I hadn't thought of meta.stackexchange. Having read the post you linked to, I am coming from a different perspective than most of the comments on that question: targeting one-time users rather than lazy repeat users. Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 22:27
  • OK--but that was one hit out of several hundred in a search for posts about unaccepted answers. You might want to do a search of your own to see what's already there.
    – whuber
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 22:30
  • whuber I didn't do a search on meta.stackexchange; only on gis.meta.stackechange and I hadn't found anything after going through 2 pages of questions. I would like to add my perspective on the meta.stackexchange post you linked to but I do not have any reputation on that site so I am blocked from doing so. Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 22:33
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    Why do you think having an answer accepted is useful information? And how would you expect after changing the system it would still be a useful information? Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 22:45
  • @AndreSilva I have added a screenshot to illustrate why I think it is useful information. Basically, it would help (make it faster) in searching for an answer among existing questions. Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 22:56
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    Exactly, the accepted answer is different (peculiar) from score (votes) because it is the choice made by OP. I will always search by score, but if there is another answer accepted with less votes/score I will take a look at it too. Now, if the criterium for accepting changes as you suggest it is no more different than the score statistic. What do you think? Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 23:07
  • But it's the votes for the question but appear on the left-hand side, not the votes for the votes for the answer so it's doesn't really help determining which ones have good answers without clicking on them. At least, I think after trying a bunch... Commented Jan 6, 2018 at 0:56
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    I understand now what you mean. I agree that searching this way, the green color from the accepted answer helps. However, I usually use the 'advanced search tool'. If you are not acquainted to it, take a look at: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/258415/…. Commented Jan 6, 2018 at 1:57

1 Answer 1


In seeking:

something to bypass of inactive user for more than, say 6 months?

you may want to review and vote on:

Keeping special status for Accepted Answers without sticking them to top forever?

My thoughts on this subject are expressed more fully there, but in summary, I do not worry whether a question has an accepted answer because I put much more trust in a highly upvoted answer.

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