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I have been answering questions from users with reputation 1, knowing fully well that chances for reward in points from up-votes, or acceptance of the answer, are low. In great part it is simply that a number of these questions tend to be less specialized and more amenable to my amateur condition; also it is a good exercise, and a community service. So no complaints.

However, it is not uncommon to see the user vanish into thin air, because they unregister, find the answer elsewhere, lose interest, take up spelunking instead feeling that it is a less slippery sport than statistics; or perhaps they are intimidated or overwhelmed by the predictable comments regarding the need for a self-study tag, or insinuations that they are simply dumping their homework on the site. I don't know the full spectrum of patterns, yet.

The question I want to raise, though, is whether it would be fair for the moderators or four-star general users to have the latitude or privilege to accept the answer by proxy after a certain period of time if they happen to run into the post, and consider that the question has been properly addressed.

If this has been addressed before, just drop a quick comment (always preferable to the cold downvote :-) ), and I'll happily erase the post, as I typically do with all my bad ideas.

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    $\begingroup$ It has been addressed and declined here ;) $\endgroup$ – JNat Nov 3 '15 at 13:56
  • $\begingroup$ @JNat OK. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – Antoni Parellada Nov 3 '15 at 13:57
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    $\begingroup$ It may be better to leave such questions undeleted, since it may reduce the tendency of later users to re-ask them (if they search our site instead of meta, they'll find the link to meta here). I leave it up to you, but I'd be inclined to let it stand. $\endgroup$ – Glen_b -Reinstate Monica Nov 3 '15 at 14:20
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    $\begingroup$ It is a tough path this one. Are you aware the unsung-hero badge? It is a kind of reward for answering new users' questions. It is very hard to get (because OPs take off, etc), but I bet you'll get it. Good luck hero! $\endgroup$ – Andre Silva Nov 3 '15 at 16:15
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    $\begingroup$ @AndreSilva I have to admit that the green counter at the top is very addictive. I know I have a ceiling as an outsider, so it doesn't matter if it is 1K, 2K or 5K, at the end of the day is about learning and being in the virtual company of very smart people... but we all like the positive feedback... I hope you are a Barça fan beside being a numberphile! Saúde! $\endgroup$ – Antoni Parellada Nov 3 '15 at 16:26
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    $\begingroup$ +1 for spelunking being less slippery than statistics ;-). $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Nov 3 '15 at 16:31
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    $\begingroup$ I certainly wouldn't erase the post even if the reaction is mostly against. This is our forum to talk about problems even if there is no immediate or easy solution. The simplest reply is that good answers will get upvoted by those with voting powers any way; what you are most likely to miss are acceptances from those transient users who don't spend time learning about the system. My experience is thoroughly statistical: you can get several upvotes for something minor and none or few for something you regard as a much bigger contribution. Over time it averages out about right. $\endgroup$ – Nick Cox Nov 3 '15 at 20:12
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    $\begingroup$ @NickCox Yes, I got a ton of votes for saying that two vectors are orthogonal if their inner product is zero... ha ha ha Here. Not that I have posted anything so great, but this one, of all the hours I spent working on others... $\endgroup$ – Antoni Parellada Nov 3 '15 at 20:14
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    $\begingroup$ That was funny! Thank you! $\endgroup$ – Antoni Parellada Nov 3 '15 at 21:24
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    $\begingroup$ I have to come to think that most of these minor problems arise because many users are treating CV, a discussion forum with the aim of building an archive resource, as if it were a help line. On a help line you don't even know, and are not obliged to care, about anything but your immediate question. Once done, you leave promptly. (Another misunderstanding, for a separate question perhaps, is regarding CV as a kind of multiple blog, in which "This is my opinion" is the prevailing style and many individuals have no notion of a collective responsibility.) $\endgroup$ – Nick Cox Nov 4 '15 at 9:28
  • $\begingroup$ @JNat you should post that as an answer so it can be accepted ;) $\endgroup$ – Minnow Nov 4 '15 at 20:27
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As I stated in my comment above:

It has been addressed and declined here ;)

The top answer in that post nails it down pretty well:

The number of up-votes shows the level of acceptance by the community.

If the "accepted answer" has no up-votes, but yours has 12, clearly yours is the community-accepted answer :)

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  • $\begingroup$ Jnat, The meta-stackexchange deals with a different question altogether. They tackle the possibility of having a community answer, as a signal for the most correct answer, when the OP accepts an answer which is not the best. This question on meta CV is for 'dead'/inactive questions to have a community answer. $\endgroup$ – An old man in the sea. Jun 19 '16 at 0:37
  • $\begingroup$ The answer remains, anyway: whether the OP accepted "the wrong answer" or just didn't accept an answer at all, the community can show their acceptance of "the right answer" through votes. $\endgroup$ – JNat Jun 19 '16 at 9:50
  • $\begingroup$ But the case it's completely different when you look at the stats of answered/unaswered questions. That puts pressure on the moral of users. They see that it never ends, keeps increasing, then think 'why bother' and just give up on answering questions that will never get tagged answered... $\endgroup$ – An old man in the sea. Jun 19 '16 at 9:58

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