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It feels like every time I'm on the main page these days I'm staring at a long list of questions where there hasn't been an answer accepted at all. I can remember, probably a year ago, it seemed the majority of questions had an accepted answer.

Assuming this is true (my memory maybe faulty), I have no good theory for why it might be. Anyone have any thoughts on this? It's a little disheartening to see so many questions in that state.

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    $\begingroup$ My guess is more new users, or at least questions by users that don't accept answers much. $\endgroup$ – fooot Sep 10 '15 at 14:41
  • $\begingroup$ You reminded me, I need to go back through my questions and accept answers. I think most ppl just forget to click the accept. I usually wait a few days to see if someone comes up with a better answer before I hit accept. Then I forget to go back and do it. $\endgroup$ – TomMcW Sep 11 '15 at 18:31
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    $\begingroup$ Is it ironic that this question has not an accepted answer? $\endgroup$ – user12485 Dec 9 '15 at 17:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Thesis Since it's labeled "discussion", not really. $\endgroup$ – Jay Carr Dec 9 '15 at 19:25
  • $\begingroup$ True! Still new to meta $\endgroup$ – user12485 Dec 9 '15 at 22:22
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Being a "Big Nerd (tm)", I have downloaded the csv files from the data anlytics.

I have selected the period 1st Jan 2014 (1 week after public beta status) till yesterday, 9th Sep 2015. I have selected the "weekly average" option.

I then plotted the ratio of questions over accepted answers:

enter image description here

Taking daily data does not show anything particular to me:

enter image description here


As suggested, I have computed the moving average (span 5) of the first plot, here presented superimposed to the plot itself:

enter image description here

We could argue that there has been a small decrease since the first days, but I would say that it is about constant since one year (week 40 till week 90) except for some seasonal oscillation.

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  • $\begingroup$ You should run a 3 point running average over the first one. It looks like it's trending down. $\endgroup$ – Jay Carr Sep 10 '15 at 15:16
  • $\begingroup$ @JayCarr answer updated $\endgroup$ – Federico Sep 10 '15 at 15:30
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I think you've got a point there. Perhaps what I'm seeing is a result of higher volume. Ie., there are more questions popping up on the list, yet it still takes the same amount of time to find an answer, so there are maybe more unanswered on the first page, but the overall percentage is still more or less the same. $\endgroup$ – Jay Carr Sep 10 '15 at 16:37
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the site analytics says the ratio between question/accept has been roughly constant until recently.

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ So it looks like the trend is in the direction I described then, right? I'm not going crazy? $\endgroup$ – Jay Carr Sep 10 '15 at 14:22
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My thoughts are that even though it may be nice to have one answer accepted, its not essential - and in some cases, where there are multiple good answers, it may even detract from some of the others.

On some StackExchange sites, such as StackOverflow, there is often one canonical correct answer. On some sites (I'd argue this being a good example) there may be multiple, non-conflicting acceptable answers. Again, Stack Overflow regards questions seeking opinion to be bad, some StackExchange sites accept that their subject is full of opinion, and that is not a bad thing.

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