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I've noticed that a lot of questions on this site have valid answers that seem to address the issue raised fully, but they've never been selected as the answer (mostly by new users who don't have an SE profile elsewhere).

This is a call for everyone to go back through their old questions and mark answers where an appropriate one exists (or comment and explain why answers that have been posted don't fully answer the question).

Also, what can we do to address this issue in the future? What do other sites do to educate people about SE principles?

Let's keep Tor.SE going strong; thanks all!

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I'd like to speak specifically to the more general question that you asked:

Also, what can we do to address this issue in the future? What do other sites do to educate people about SE principles?

When a new community like Tor starts out, they start with the knowledge that we've accumulated over the years through our wonderful adventures in trial and error; most of this being conveyed by members of the community that have spent any length of time on our other sites. It's great to see this knowledge passed down and put to good use, because it does save new communities a considerable amount of grief through discovery.

The best way to do this is just as you have, in a meta post, or perhaps a helpful comment if you're just helping one new user get their footing after the site has matured a bit. If you see a feature go unnoticed, which is generally the case with accepts, it's great if you point out its existence here.

Still, Tor needs to do some ground breaking and exploring that is specific to this community. While it's extremely helpful when some of our seasoned users explain how our engine works at the nuts-and-bolts level, it's important for each community to explore how it is best used for their needs, nuances and goals.

To that end, try to do your best to educate folks as to why a certain guideline exists, ideally through meta discussions. Show them how it applies to their site. Carrying down our rather lengthy lists of what works and what generally doesn't from a metaphorical mountain on stone tablets sometimes has the opposite of the desired effect. Remember that we do make allowances for sites to do what works for them, and we actively participate in these discussions.

The latter is clearly not what you were doing here, I'm just giving advice in general :)

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    Thanks Tim; as always your answer is enlightening and useful. – Sam Whited Oct 7 '13 at 16:28
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I've seen other stackexchange communities posting a comment if the user has a few such questions without accepted answers when they post a new question.

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    Please don't do this. The persistence of these "gentle reminders" starts to amount to systematic (or at least system-wide) harassment — so we generally ask users not to do that. The system already prompts the user to accept answers when warranted. But accepting an answer is a completely voluntary activity, and it is up to the user to decide when (and if) an answer should be accepted at all. As the sites start to fill with these comments, they become unwelcoming as the noise and harassment level of this feature starts to outweigh its benefits. I'd just leave it alone. – Robert Cartaino Oct 7 '13 at 2:14
  • Understood. Thank you! – adrelanos Oct 7 '13 at 13:51

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