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Last night (Around this time) I went through the Unanswered Questions from the bottom up. I got through till page 3 only choosing questions that the user who asked had shown recent activity or more reputation than the inactive-asker. I realized that this should definitely be something that we should regularly pay attention to.

Pro Webmasters is one of the lowest answer-rate sites on SE. I think with just some paying attention and follow-up comments to make sure the question was answered, we can increase our answer-rate as well as encourage users to come to Pro Webmasters for their questions.

Although it doesn't take long to go through the questions of old and add a comment, we should establish some guidelines about:

  • What reputation required for a follow-up comment
  • How long ago dubs it 'Old'
  • What should be discarded
  • How to respond

I have gotten 3 responses so far, 2 of them the user found the answer already and posted it, and the third I put a bounty on. This shouldn't be a responsibility for only the Moderators. We all can chip in and make Pro Webmasters just that much better.


EDIT

I want to expand this question to include a discussion on Guidelines for old questions that need to be deleted and / or when to give a 'poke' (Add a comment) to the user letting them know that their question does not have an answer chosen. Here is a few ideas on the criteria for both.

Before I continue, allow me to clarify this 'poke.' Adding a comment to the question asking the user whether or not a method worked that was presented or if they have found a solution that wasn't originally presented. Or, if you have a solution that didn't occur to you when the question was presented

Questions to be deleted criteria:

  • Closed questions 'linger' for 3 days, then are deleted. These include questions that have been migrated to another site.
  • Questions can be 'protected' to halt the deletion process and allow that question to stay.

    Just in case there is a question that for some reason we would like to stay in Pro Webmasters. Perhaps to prevent further duplicates.

Questions to be revisited criteria:

  • User asking the question must have above 100 reputation.

    This might seem odd to some, however I felt it necessary as giving a comment to notify the user that his/her question is still unanswered is useless if they never come back. Having a reputation of above 100 (Especially for the really old questions) is a good indicator that the particular user visits Pro Webmasters or anyother Stack Exchange website decently often.

  • Question must be 5 days old.

    This is there because before 5 days, the question can typically still be viewed at the top of the second page of questions, in which can still receive above negligible views.

  • Poorly worded questions should be avoided or commented for clarification.

    In order to have well-formed questions that people can search for.

I'm looking for suggestions or to get a good discussion going about some guidelines. The ones I have posted are just suggestions themselves and can change. I want to get this question up to the SE team for some tweaks to the site.

  • Any more great additions to this like Jeff's? I'm going to pack it up and send it to the StackExchange team to see what they think soon. Any / all input is welcome! – Christopher Feb 26 '11 at 5:42
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Excellent! You might also be interested in

https://webmasters.stackexchange.com/review

which will highlight posts by new users, primarily.

In general, I suggest answering any questions, even old ones, that you feel are interesting and can be interesting to others. There is value in answering questions that have nad no recent activity -- this bumps the question naturally, and if I see a good answer, I will always upvote it, regardless of how old the question is.

However, this assumes the original question is interesting enough for me to click on in some way -- if it's a really bad question (title, etc) or an extremely obscure topic. However, this can often be fixed with editing.

Thus, now that we have anonymous and low-rep edit suggestions, I would "punch up" the question as well when answering, to maximize the chances of people seeing both the question and your (excellent, of course) answer.

  • Great suggestion Jeff. So you're saying take a gander at old questions every now and then for questions that peak your interest? And thank you for that link - didn't know about that. – Christopher Feb 17 '11 at 4:33
  • @chris in general don't hesitate to edit the question to make it better. And note we automatically cull zero and negatively voted questions over time, so don't feel obligated to clean up too much -- just make the salvageable ones better! – Jeff Atwood Feb 17 '11 at 4:48
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    Since the unanswered section also lists questions with no upvoted answers, it's a good idea to vote up any good answers you see in the section. – DisgruntledGoat Mar 3 '11 at 10:28
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What about questions which are bumped up from Community which were asked by a member who's no longer a user on SE. An example is this question which was just bumped up Apache http.conf allow intranet

It was asked in 2011 and the user doesn't have a profile. Since no answer can be selected if it stays it'll be left up to the community to up vote the best answers.

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