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There seems to have been some (little) interest over the years about clearing the list of unanswered questions. Not that our record is bad--apparently we're close to SE standards for STEM sites. Having nothing better to do, I went to the list and saw a slew of questions that had no answers of yet, or no answers with positive scores. These seemed to be of several types:

  • Questions that should have been closed, IMO.
  • Questions which were answered in their comments.
  • Questions that were answered in their body (including, but not exclusively "check my answer" types).
  • Questions for which the answer is apparently outside the expertise of everyone here or just too much work.

Between now and the start of the next semester, I find I have a bit of time to deal with some of these, so my question is, should I deal with them or would the regulars be irritated by my bumping them to the first page? I can't see anyone objecting to a few, but in a brief perusal of the 1500-odd unanswered questions (or answered with no upvotes) I saw dozens that I could deal with, either with an answer, a recommendation to close, or a simple upvote.

What do you think? Should I do just a few, or flood the main page? Related: anyone else interested in doing this? I'd probably not want to do this in chat first--it was tried in 2013 and apparently didn't attract much interest.

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    $\begingroup$ In case you happen upon a question that you can or will not answer but you think other (core) members can, consider adding a bounty and/or dumping it in chat. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Jan 6 '16 at 11:38
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    $\begingroup$ Note that voting to close and up/downvoting a question don't bump it, so you can do those to your heart's content (modulo the site limits on how many questions you can vote and close-vote per day). Indeed, there's even a badge for using your daily vote limit, which you don't have yet. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Jan 6 '16 at 19:17
  • $\begingroup$ I do this every now and then too. Definitely do not worry about flooding the first page. We should care about all unanswered questions, regardless of when they were posed. $\endgroup$ – Juho Jan 17 '16 at 17:13
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Definitely go for it, that's a great thing to do!

Going over your classes, here's what I would advise.

  1. "Questions that should have been closed, IMO."

    If feasible, edit to improve; be ready to take ownership of the question. Otherwise, vote to close; the question will then end up in the review queue and may get closed (or rescued) by others.

  2. "Questions which were answered in their comments."

    You can add an answer (make it CW if that makes you feel better) restating the comment, expanding it if necessary.

    Once that answer gets upvotes, the question counts as answered (in some statistics) even if the OP does not accept it.

  3. "Questions that were answered in their body (including, but not exclusively "check my answer" types)."

    If there's a reasonable edit and/or an interesting answer, go for it.
    Otherwise, I'd consider the question abandoned and closing as unclear is justified.

  4. "Questions for which the answer is apparently outside the expertise of everyone here or just too much work."

    If it's offtopic, close as such. Otherwise, edit to make it answerable if possible. If not, just leave it be. Maybe add a bounty if you think it should be possible to get an answer.

Every one of the actions you can take requires further community action: voting, commenting or re-reading and answering. Thus, it is good that questions that have been acted upon in a meaningful way get bumped up. No hesitation there.

Of course, keeping the volume so that revisited question don't drown new ones is a good idea. You can prepare your edits or answers locally (Markdown in files, or using stackedit.io) and then spread the actual actions out over time (each should not take long). I think five to ten bumping actions per day (plus close votes which only bump the review queue) is a good range to hit.

Good luck, and thanks for the effort!

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  • $\begingroup$ Is there any chance to unlock special powers to mods / community to enforce accept? If somebody disappeared - it is beyond salvation, and it will from time to time pop up picked by bot. $\endgroup$ – Evil Jan 18 '16 at 0:47
  • $\begingroup$ @EvilJS No, that is impossible. And unnecessary: afaik, only posts without upvoted answers count as unanswered for these things. So if a question pops up that already has answers, upvote them (if they are any good) and it never comes again. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Jan 18 '16 at 7:45
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Go for it. I do go over top voted unanswered questions every few months (as I did last week). :)

If you can answer a question there is no problem with bumping it up, do answer!

If you can edit to significantly improve a question that is also completely fine. Just don't do too many small edits in a short period of time. If it is a significant improvement you probably won't be able to do more than a few in a day (at least that is the case with me).

Voting, commenting, flagging, and closing do not bump to the front page.

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