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(This question is intended as a less-ranty and less-likely-to-be-immediately-closed version of another recent one. I'm posting this as a new question because suggested edits aren't possible on Meta.)


Does this stack leave too many questions unanswered?

https://judaism.stackexchange.com currently has 1576 pages of questions, and more than 200 pages of questions with at least 1 net upvote, and 0 answers or 0 upvoted answers. Fully 13% of the questions on this stack are good questions that haven't received a good answer. This is proportionally higher than in other similarly active stacks I frequent:

It's also below the threshold typically required for a stack to leave beta.


Given that I'm only counting net upvoted questions, the problem isn't that more of the questions here are unanswerable or otherwise bad; these are questions that are worth answering, just not being answered.

Anecdotally, it seems like many questions here follow the same pattern as the only question I've ever asked here:

  • They are asked.
  • They receive some comments. Perhaps a clarification question or two, perhaps a "let me answer your question with a question," perhaps a waffling answer-in-comments, perhaps a "welcome to the site" if the user is new.
  • They receive an upvote or three.
  • They fall off the front page.
  • They never receive an answer.

This is essentially the same pattern Yemimah observed in their now-closed meta question, though their original main site question has now been answered (after the meta post).

So, what's going on?


What can be done about it?

This stack clearly isn't entirely unaware of the issue; there's a question on the front page of meta right now about featuring unanswered questions. But given the stats above, it's also clearly not working as well as we might hope. The answer (and answers-in-comments) on the linked question propose two possible "solutions":

  • The Community bot already does this.
  • Maybe you should put a bounty on it if you want it answered?

Neither of these is entirely satisfactory, nor indicative of a healthy stack.

What more can be done to encourage better question-answering behavior on this stack?

  • 2
    It could be that questions with only 1 upvote aren't actually good questions. For instance IMO we tend to get a fair number of questions that this question might apply to, which often people don't have the guts to close/downvote but also aren't really good for answering. – Double AA Nov 6 '17 at 23:13
  • There's probably a Data.SE query for how unanswered percentage ranges across SE sites. That might broaden the dataset a bit. Unanswered percentage may end up being proportional to total traffic or something. It'd also be worth looking at which tags are disproportionately unanswered (if any) and what months/years unanswered posts tend to be from. – Double AA Nov 6 '17 at 23:15
  • @DoubleAA Do you think the "upvoted but not actually good" phenomenon is more common on this stack than others? If so, the correct fix here might be not to answer more questions, but to close more bad questions; that would certainly be a valid answer to this question if it's the case. – A_S00 Nov 6 '17 at 23:15
  • It's hard for me to say, since I'm not that active on other stacks. But it's an interesting idea to consider, especially since unlike many other sites we have a stricter policy in general on "real world scenario" type questions. An interesting way to gauge that would be to look at number of low voted questions as a percentage of total questions and as a percentage of unanswered questions, compared across different stacks. In any event thank you for asking this well written post. Hopefully we'll get some interesting and productive answers. – Double AA Nov 6 '17 at 23:16
  • I am, alas, not a Data.SE wizard, but if one were to stop by, I would be eager to edit their insights into this question! – A_S00 Nov 6 '17 at 23:16
  • @DoubleAA Here is a ready list of sites, sorted by percent answered. – Isaac Moses Nov 7 '17 at 11:29
  • @isaa looks like we're about 3/5 of the way down the list. Not great but not abysmal. – Double AA Nov 7 '17 at 13:16
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I think part of the problem lies in this post itself. Notice how Double AA gave what should have been an answer in the comment section. I think that some of us are afraid or lazy to give an official answer, and just quickly shoot off an answer and move on. We need more incentive to actually write our answers in the answer box, in a proper fashion.

  • 4
    Excellent point, Heshy! I also think that there's a lot of intimidation. DoubleAA seems to moderate and opine on most of the questions as moderator. He'll probably be reading this one, I'd imagine. So, I'll say outright. DoubleAA, you can be intimidating. Maybe, I'm one of the few that have said this outright, but, I sense that you know that. You're tone sometimes appears harsh. It took me a while to adjust to your tone, so I'm far less bothered by it. But, I think that many readers, here, get quickly intimidated, and they're scared to answer. Just think it over; I'd prefer to be wrong, here. – DanF Nov 17 '17 at 18:30
  • 1
    Well said. All that having been said, I think a shoutout is in order for Double AA (quadruple A?)'s consistency and dedication to the stack. – heshy Nov 19 '17 at 3:01
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It's telling that this received only one answer... but many comments.

I'd visited a year or more back. So was a new user. I found a question by a first time asker I felt I could add info on. The experience was so poor, I won't be back.

I moved it to chat, so you can see some of what bothered me there. I may not have written my complaints totally clearly, so if you want, ask me and I'll try to answer.


The answer above mine in comments, points out that DoubleAA can be intimidating. I'd deleted my answer hours ago. He as moderated posted onto the DELETED answer's comments. I can't reply to him. He criticized me. I can't reply. I replied in chat, but have no way to tell him I'm replied.

None of that should happen. He shouldn't be posting where I can't reply. He shouldn't be giving me vapid comments that this isn't a discussion site, it's a q&a site, when my complaint was how people were trying to do discussion and griping that I didn't want to. Several of those people appear to be regulars here or moderators.

Moderators do a lot of hard work and are very valuable. But they may have gotten so used to being here and so protective, that they are keeping the door closed for new people.

And for culture changes that are more open and accepting and welcoming. In spite of attempts to tell me "I'm loved, not being picked on."

I've learned in my life, if I have to write a disclaimer, my wording it's right or my intent isn't and it's up to me to change it. Not up to the reader to use my disclaimer.


So in short, better moderation. Encourage new users by appreciating their inputs and figuring on helping it get better over time. Rather than descending on them from the start.

Especially for not having your points of view. Q&A isn't about getting everyone to agree with each other. And attacking those who simply don't. It's about upvoting what you agree with.

It's NOT downvoting what you disagree with or think isn't as complete or exactly how you'd answer the question. That should be roundly discouraged. An answer doesn't have to be the whole complete topic exactingly to the point that it's a formal essay YOU"D publish in order not to get a downvote! The idea is to get answers. They may have only part of the answer. They may not be the answer you agree with.

So that'd be high on my list. Downvoting is used around here for anything that isn't what the reader would have written. Instead of for only truly problem answers that lack content or can't be countered adequately by answering the question yourself.

Use upvoting to get better answers to the top, instead of downvoting when there's practically no answers.

In other words, want answers, treat them as good that people took courage and answered!!!!


Not once did moderators who commented, add their thoughts even in comments, on the original question. That is a poor way to demonstrate that you want answers.

So moderator, start by answering questions yourselves.

You'll quickly get better at commenting on other people's questions with more succin


Maybe this site would benefit from more diverse points of view?

I was excited to come to a site about Judaism. But everything is so dredged in I don't know how to put it. Talmud study is exciting. But I don't remember the details to quote them. It's the way of thinking, the output, that's exciting.

Here's it's more technical. To a point where the excitement isn't always showing.

References to the specifics are good. Somehow the overall points get missed in trying to be so detailed.


It can be intimating to answer when it looks like every answer is very detailed and technical. My guess is when someone takes a chance anyway...

1) Asking them what's not clear in their answers, is done with a negative tone.

2) They aren't groomed into developing more detailed answers over time. They are dismissed from the start.


Here's a specific example.

On my answer if someone had said "it reads like you think belief in G'd is not needed in Judaism at all." I would have replied, that I wasn't trying to say that. Or said, "What about Mimamodes's decision that it is a rule?"

Had someone then said "you can edit your answer to make that clearer." I would have immediately edited it to better reflect my point.

A -question- of what was meant. Without implication that it's wrong in some way... Including not telling someone to change things, as the starting point.


I don't know if any of this will be helpful. I'd like to enjoy the site and the knowledge.

  • curls thank you for sharing your experience. Feedback helps us all to see how we're being perceived, which isn't always what we intended. I want to take time to review what you've said more carefully and I can't do that immediately, but I don't want you to feel ignored, hence this comment. – Monica Cellio Sep 17 at 19:14
  • Thank you Monica. Certainly, take your time! – curls Sep 18 at 0:28
  • I just saw this post and disagree with your characterization of my comment on your deleted post. First off, anyone can flag deleted posts if there is something needing mod attention, so I wasn't not giving you space to respond. But also I disagree with your characterization of my comment as vapid. You seemed confused based on your deletion comment what was expected of you here and why your answer wasn't well received, so I politely reminded you of the site m.o.: Q&A. Many people in fact forget that we aren't a discussion forum like other websites. – Double AA Sep 29 at 16:12
  • I also disagree with your premise that one must provide a different answer to have the right to critique an existing answer. I can know something is wrong without knowing what is right. – Double AA Sep 29 at 16:16
  • Regarding voting on answers one disagrees with, see what I wrote elsewhere judaism.meta.stackexchange.com/a/4341/759 – Double AA Sep 29 at 16:19

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