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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?

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    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.

  • 2
    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
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    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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