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Next to the names of people who have asked questions I seen a percentage with "accept rate". Couldn't find something on the FAQ. Could you please explain?

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When you ask a question and have various answers, it is generally considered good form to accept the answer which most helps you. You do this by clicking on the tick next to that question.

It doesn't have to be the one with the most votes, but often the votes will give an indication as to the value of the answer. It also doesn't need to be accepted straight away - for some questions you want to leave it open to get more answers, but once answers stop coming you should accept the one you feel best answers your question.

If you have a low accept rate, people may not bother to answer (because the best rep earning for a single activity comes from accepted answers) so in order to encourage people to answer your question you should regularly look at your questions and accept the answer that you think best from each one.

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"the best rep earning comes from accepted answers"

Just to clarify

  • an upvote gives 10 StackExchange reputation points
  • an accept gives 15 StackExchange reputation points.

Usually good answers are voted up several times. For example, if a answer is upvoted 5 times and accepted the author gets 50 StackExchange reputation points from upvotes and 15 StackExchange reputation points from accept for 65 points total. 15/65 is 23% which is significant. However, if an author has a lot of accepted answers for a particular tag the author's reputation (not StackExchange reputation points) as an authority on that tag is increased in a non-numeric way.

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    Very true - I guess I should change it to 'best individual rep earning action' – Rory Alsop Oct 5 '11 at 21:35

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