Recently I've found that there are many questions asked by new users (most of them with 1 point reputations) and most of them ignore the basics of StackExchange mechanics. This kind of accounts ask a question (and sometimes many followup questions more) and then leave without marking the question as solved. I don't care about the points but when I'm looking for answers myself I tend to trust more in answers marked as correct than in open questions. Is there any procedure in place in order to purge that kind of questions?

  • 3
    Questions with many follow up questions are usually low quality or qualify as "unclear what you're asking". Thus, they should be closed. You can also downvote them to spare others the waste of time looking at them. Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 14:29
  • 1
    probably new people came here from search engines Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 5:07
  • So far the answers fail to address the surge mentioned in the title? Is this indeed the case?
    – Jan Doggen
    Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 16:03
  • 1
    I would agree with that "observational" sentiment regarding a perceived "surge" in questions from 1-point users. I thought I was just seeing things. I've gotten to the point I just ignore them.
    – David W
    Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 19:25

2 Answers 2


The situation is a real mix, which makes it tough to have a blanket solution. Whether or not a question is clear, whether or not an answer is accepted, and whether or not the OP tries to expand the question in follow-up comments should be considered as three completely separate things. I'll talk about these in reverse order.

Expanding the question

Sometimes, follow-on questions indicate that the original question didn't accurately describe what the OP was trying to ask. Sometimes people view the site like a forum, where the question is the "price of admission" and then they can expand it in comments to ask every other question they ever had. In the latter case, we need to educate the OP on how the site works and tell them to ask a new question, but the original question may be well answered.

Failure to accept an answer

Failure to accept an answer is a separate problem that occurs widely, irrespective of question expansion or question clarity.

Acceptance only signifies what the OP found most helpful. New users sometimes accept answers for the wrong reasons, so it may not even mean that. It doesn't necessarily mean that the accepted answer is the best one for someone else.

Accepting an answer can indicate the intended meaning of an ambiguous question, but that isn't the purpose or meaning of acceptance, and the issues should be viewed separately.

Unclear question

The site is a knowledge base with the purpose of sharing solutions with other people experiencing similar problems. If the OP solves their problem, that's great. But if the knowledge can't be easily used by others, it doesn't contribute value to the site. So if a question is useless to anyone but the OP, it should probably be closed even if the OP has accepted an answer.

Accepting an answer can shed light on the intended meaning of the question, but the answer isn't part of the question. The question should stand on its own to be useful to other readers. It should not be allowed to remain unclear just because an answer was accepted. The question should be edited to clarify it based on the accepted answer.

Clear question, lots of activity, no accepted answer

On the other hand, a question can be clear and have one or more answers, but the answers may be the problem. Answers aren't necessarily good answers, or they may be filled with correct information but not address what was asked. There can also be "group think", where the first answerer misinterprets the question or posts a solution that biases the thinking of later answerers. So lack of an accepted answer may be warranted, even though there was a lot of activity on the thread.

  • Brilliant answer
    – Burgi
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 22:11
  • 2
    The irony is I can't force this one to be accepted...
    – Burgi
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 22:12
  • Sorry, my bad :D
    – DrNoone
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 16:52
  • I don't agree that the OP should exclusively own the rights to accepting the answer. If the community, through some form of understanding or consensus, collectively agrees that an answer is valid, then it should be able to mark it as accepted. To put it simply, an answer is valid if it adequately solves the problem that's being asked. Whether OP can see or agree that the answer is valid is actually besides the point.
    – airstrike
    Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 19:32
  • 1
    @AndreTerra, that's what voting is for. The site's definition of acceptance limits it to the OP. There's been a lot of discussion on Meta about this, but it's kind of built into the whole concept of the SE structure.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 21:24
  • @fixer1234 then the counter argument is that accepted answers receive a disproportionate amount of points when it's really just another vote
    – airstrike
    Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 21:26
  • @AndreTerra, true, it get the equivalent of 1 1/2 votes. But voting is anonymous, so in a sense, it isn't completely reliable as far as the reason behind it. A lot of times, a post will be upvoted because it's "high quality" and helps someone else, even though it might not actually answer that question The acceptance is known to come from the OP, and supposedly means that the OP at least found it helpful or a solution to the posted question. So that's worth a little extra. :-)
    – fixer1234
    Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 21:40

Not really, they might be valid questions. It could be that the answers provided have not solved the issue, in which case forcing an accepted answer on them would be misleading to others.

If there are people answering questions but those posts are asking for more information or seem more like comments you can flag them as "Not An Answer" or "Low Quality".

They then appear in the review queue for you and your peers to look over.

  • 1
    I agree with Oliver on this one. If an author is asking several questions, it means there is a problem with their questions, not the answers they are recieving. It might be, the question is not clear, that is the most common reason for incomplete answers (from an question author's perspective).
    – Ramhound
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 14:40

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .