If I haven't given an answer, but have only commented, I feel OK about volunteering an explanation of the green check to a new user, provided: enough time has passed, and there are good answers to choose among. I've done this once or twice.

Is it different if I have answered? Is it just not done -- is it pushy -- to explain the green check when one's own answer is a candidate? (This is assuming a reasonable amount of time has passed.)

Recently, a new user thanked me for my answer (which was the only one), and I explained the green check, but I felt odd about it.

  • 6
    Well, I don't see any reason to feel odd about it. Explaining about features that new users might not be familiar with and how they work on ELU should never be something to feel odd about.
    – user140086
    May 25, 2016 at 9:05
  • I usually add something to make it less specific to my particular answer to try to err on the good side, eg: "If you feel this, or any of the other suggested answers has resolved your question then it is good <stack name> etiquette to ... (etc)"
    – Toby
    Jun 7, 2016 at 10:00

1 Answer 1


Receiving thanks from the poster, it seems to me, puts you in the position of participating in an ongoing conversation, if you choose to follow up with a hint about how answer acceptance works at Stack Exchange sites. And as long as your answer isn't the only response to, say, a two-hour-old question, I don't think such a comment subverts EL&U's preference that answers remain unaccepted for a decent interval in case a better answer comes along within a reasonable time.

Initiating a conversation along the same lines when the poster hasn't said anything to indicate appreciation for your answer strikes me as falling closer to the line of soliciting for points. I've seen answerers do it, and I don't think it's impolite, exactly, but the self-interest quotient seems higher.

Some long-time participants at EL&U have occasionally expressed frustration at the tendency of first-time question askers not to accept answers that thoroughly resolve their question. To those observers, it is the questioners who exhibit bad manners, by not acknowledging the usefulness of the answer and the effort that the answerer made on their behalf. And since very-low-rep askers don't have the power to upvote answers, the only ways they can express gratitude are by posting a comment of thanks, by accepting an answer, or both.

Even so, asking for green check marks seems a bit unwholesome. If the goal is to introduce new questioners to the etiquette of answer acceptance, the selfless thing to do (which you and some other site participants have done) is to leave comments on questions where you don't have an answer in play, pointing out the acceptance option and suggesting that using it is a good way to indicate satisfaction with an answer. It's a public-spirited approach, certainly—but no one wants to spend all day monitoring the board for seemingly ungrateful first-time questioners.

Ultimately, answering an interesting question well is its own reward; and the more fully you believe that proposition, the more fun you'll have here.

  • 1
    Thanks. (The question had been up for 2.5 days.) Your answer tells me I was on the right side of the line, but just barely.
    – ab2
    May 24, 2016 at 22:45
  • 1
    Over on SO, where I'm most active, I sometimes have new users leave a "thanks" comment or something, but not accept. If there are other good answers that are worthy of being accepted, too, I usually reply with something like "Don't forget to mark one of the answers accepted with the checkmark under the up/down vote arrows." I phrase it as "how to use the site" help, not as a "please accept my answer". Sometimes I'll say, "If you feel that this is a sufficient answer to your question, mark it accepted with ...", again guiding not begging. May 29, 2016 at 16:06
  • You can do a query on questions you've answered where there is no accepted answer, to find posts where you might want to leave reminder comments, but I hardly ever bother with that. May 29, 2016 at 16:07
  • @peter I do the same. The shortcuts [ask] and [tour] are very useful for this. Something along the lines of "If this answer solved your problem please accept it by clicking the check mark below the arrows and score. If you need more help, take the tour or read How to Ask.". I do that mostly on answers that are not mine.
    – simbabque
    May 31, 2016 at 11:43

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