Related to Why is our answer rate so low? and Improvement Drive - Cross Validated on meta, there are many one-time users who post a question just because they need an answer for a particular problem and then they vanish again. It seems to happen quite frequently that such questions receive an answer some time later but probably the OP has already given up on waiting for one. Except from discouraging answers to one-time/low-reputation users, I could also imagine that new viewers looking up such a question may incorrectly conclude that the provided answer is not useful just because it was not accepted.

To raise acceptance rates and to promote good answers also to older questions or to questions from one-time/low-reputation users I would like to discuss a voting system for senior users (2k reputation, for example) to accept answers instead of the potentially inactive OP.

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    $\begingroup$ Agree on the problem. It's one of several posed by new users who don't read the help carefully or haven't experience of the system. Equally bizarre: accepted answers not upvoted by the OP; poor answers accepted capriciously; questions abandoned when a little more information would make them much easier to answer. All that said, I think this would require SE-wide action and it would complicate (slowly moving OPs puzzled that someone else accepted the answer). The main point is to upvote a good answer vigorously, making it evident that several people liked it, regardless of what the OP thinks. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Aug 29, 2013 at 9:16
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    $\begingroup$ +1 to @NickCox; this is the right analysis. These are simply intrinsic to the SE model. I think the cure would be worse than the disease. It is unfortunate that many answers go unaccepted, but I don't think a future user, who stumbles across a highly-voted, but unaccepted, answer will think it's no good. (1 note, re Nick's comment: new users w/ rep <15 can accept answers but cannot upvote them, so "accepted answers not upvoted by the OP" is a feature of the system, not necessarily poor utilization by the OP.) $\endgroup$ Aug 29, 2013 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Gung Good point on <15. I'd forgotten that or never noticed. But I've often noticed this behaviour with "new" and rep >= 15 so my remark still stands. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Aug 29, 2013 at 13:52
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    $\begingroup$ To advance the conversation and not go over old ground, please review the extensive discussion on MetaSO, including inter alia meta.stackexchange.com/questions/10672, meta.stackexchange.com/questions/41410, meta.stackexchange.com/questions/68404, and meta.stackexchange.com/questions/149814. A useful search includes keywords unanswered unaccept. $\endgroup$
    – whuber Mod
    Aug 29, 2013 at 15:48


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