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For a long time now, the statistics of the number of answered questions has been standing on 88%, slightly below the golden standard of 90%. That might be due to a lot of early questions which have not been answered. Do we want to tackle this problem by answering old unanswered questions?

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    $\begingroup$ note that some questions are technically considered "unanswered" because they have answer(s) with no upvotes so merely upvoting the existing answer will "answer" those. $\endgroup$
    – vzn
    Commented Oct 4, 2012 at 18:19
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    $\begingroup$ On a related topic, we should also try to increase the number of answers per questions. For some questions this is un-doable (like this or that), but sometimes giving another explanation is very helpful, and although a full answer exists, another one can be added. Maybe it will not add other information, but it could add a different point of view or use different method to explain.. $\endgroup$
    – Ran G.
    Commented Oct 5, 2012 at 18:37
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    $\begingroup$ For what it's worth, all sciency sites have answer rates of around 90%, and most lower. This is not surprising and not a problem, imho. We are even better than three (of four) non-beta science sites. So while we should certainly strive to answer as many questions as possible, we don't have to worry too much about the figures. $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Commented Oct 7, 2012 at 13:35
  • $\begingroup$ whats "gold launched"? is there a pg on that? $\endgroup$
    – vzn
    Commented Oct 7, 2012 at 15:07
  • $\begingroup$ @vzn "gold launched" means "went gold" means "went out of beta". I don't know what you mean by "pg". $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Commented Oct 8, 2012 at 10:56
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    $\begingroup$ Going over old questions, a lot of them have answers by Tsuyoshi Ito as comments. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 8, 2012 at 13:36
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    $\begingroup$ @YuvalFilmus Good job, thanks! $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Commented Oct 8, 2012 at 20:24
  • $\begingroup$ suggest people visit chat regularly to talk about unanswered questions, attempt to identify frequent themes/topics etc. $\endgroup$
    – vzn
    Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 5:02

3 Answers 3

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I suggest we perform another event in which we should take care of unanswered questions.

A possible agenda would be:

  1. Question that do have answers but those are not-upvoted. Can those answers be verified/improved and upvoted?
  2. Quesitons that have comments that give a possible/partial answer - convert comments into an answer (CW answer?).
  3. Questions that are cross-posted - consider closing (especially if answered in the sister SE).
  4. Re-examine the other questions: clarify if not clear, close if off-topic, etc.
  5. Finally, promote good questions that are still unanswered:
    • Make those question pop-up to the front page by making a small edit, or is there another way?).
    • Optionally, set bounties to the most interesting questions.

Any other suggestions?

Ideally, this should be repeated every 4-6 months.

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  • $\begingroup$ Agreed! Are you up for planning/preparing the event? I am a bit swamped these days. $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Commented Jan 12, 2013 at 17:05
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    $\begingroup$ @Raphael OK, I'll try to arrange it. I'll open a chat to discuss the details. $\endgroup$
    – Ran G.
    Commented Jan 12, 2013 at 18:46
  • $\begingroup$ Nudge; any progress? $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Commented Sep 5, 2013 at 14:21
  • $\begingroup$ There was a somewhat successful event in January. Maybe it's time for another one, But I will not have the time to arrange it. Any takers? $\endgroup$
    – Ran G.
    Commented Sep 5, 2013 at 17:43
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    $\begingroup$ My bad, I did not remember the January event. Sorry! Can you open a new question for a new event, given that you were the organiser of the last? Nobody will read here, that's for sure. $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Commented Sep 5, 2013 at 22:06
  • $\begingroup$ this would be a good idea.. there are just too many "unaccepted" questions lying around. Many of them have good answers. $\endgroup$
    – Subhayan
    Commented Sep 9, 2013 at 11:09
  • $\begingroup$ btw out of curiosity, how does the accepted answer and up-voted answer impact the Site Self-Evaluation? $\endgroup$
    – Subhayan
    Commented Sep 9, 2013 at 11:15
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Sure. Answering unanswered questions is always a good thing.

You can find questions with no positive-score answer on the “Unanswered” tab or the similar “unanswered” subtab of the “Questions” tab. (Don't forget to go back to the Questions/newest or Questions/active tab to see all questions.) You can search for questions with no answer at all with answers:0.

There may be questions that go unanswered because they're off-topic, or so poorly worded that we can't tell what's being asked. If you find such a question, vote to close or flag it. I think most of our unanswered questions are fine though.

CS is a pretty broad topic, so I suspect that some questions go unanswered because we don't have anyone with the right expertise. If you know an expert in the field of an unanswered question, please show it to them, in the hope that they'll come to the site and answer it!

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    $\begingroup$ With "too hard" TCS questions, we can also propose migrating to Theoretical Computer Science to the asker and the mods there, and migrate if both agree. $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Commented Oct 4, 2012 at 7:09
  • $\begingroup$ fyi migration on stackexchange seems to usually happen without asking the asker, just with moderator choice. seems like esp if there are no answers so far, thats a reasonable/fair policy $\endgroup$
    – vzn
    Commented Oct 4, 2012 at 17:53
  • $\begingroup$ @vzn Migration happens without asker consent only if the question is offtopic here. We have been saying since the beginning that we won't migrate away ontopic questions without consent, not won't we ask other sites to migrate questions they can handle to us. Migrating a question to math.SE or cstheory.SE does not make sense if the asker is not interested in an answer they could get there. $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Commented Oct 7, 2012 at 13:30
  • $\begingroup$ @raphael dont have issue with that. something to keep in mind however is that statistically unless a question gets an answer in a few days (when its on front page), it will almost never get an answer; this is prob true across most stackexchange sites. and the asker is surely going to prefer an answer to no answer and so migrating after the 1st few days without an answer can prob only benefit the asker. the only exception would be if the comments help... $\endgroup$
    – vzn
    Commented Oct 7, 2012 at 15:05
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    $\begingroup$ @vzn I have open questions myself that I don't want to be migrated, so there's your counter example. Asking costs us nothing, so there is no reason not to. (Unfortunately, old questions are routinely forgotten, but not always.) $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Commented Oct 7, 2012 at 15:42
  • $\begingroup$ For the record, if you want to exclude closed questions from your search, do answers:0 closed:0 $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Commented Jan 12, 2013 at 17:07
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    $\begingroup$ @Raphael which reminds me: we've been leaving closed questions to fester for a while, we need to delete more stuff. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 12, 2013 at 17:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Gilles Should we have an event for that, or do you think we should just do it more? $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Commented Jan 12, 2013 at 21:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Raphael The first one was a bust (one question edited IIRC), but we can try again... $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 12, 2013 at 21:20
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We did a meetup to answer open questions before, but not many people attended (or seemed to care at all).

If we did a similar thing again, who would join in?

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  • $\begingroup$ I will try to join. I went over the open question and tried to answer a few, but more importantly, I voted to close a few, that doesn't seem to be answerable. Maybe this should be discussed as well. $\endgroup$
    – Ran G.
    Commented Oct 5, 2012 at 18:30
  • $\begingroup$ Another idea, is to pick, say, 3-5 unanswered question a day, and try to work on them, but mainly - popping them from the forgotten archives into the top of the front page. $\endgroup$
    – Ran G.
    Commented Oct 5, 2012 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ @RanG. The idea of the event was to do exactly that: check out the questions, improve them if necessary, answer if possible and close of not. I for one could maybe manage one closed question a day, but that would be steep. I think an event would make more sense; it would also help us form a closer community. (Chat is deserted these days!) $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Commented Oct 5, 2012 at 19:43
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    $\begingroup$ Raphael, I think it is time for another event. (; $\endgroup$
    – Ran G.
    Commented Jan 12, 2013 at 1:24

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