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I've been on a flagging, commenting, upvoting rampage lately to try and get this sites stats up, and I'm absolutely overwhelmed by the number of A: unanswered questions, and B: the number of "unanswered questions" that actually have been resolved and are simply lacking an "official from-OP" answer vote.

This question is very similar to syb0rg's question here, but I figured my question was a tad too long for an answer to that.

This is definitely an issue, though I'm wondering if it will affect the graduation of the site. If there was an ability to search the comments on questions/answers for It Works! and Thanks! I think we would see a lot of questions that have been solved in the comments and just haven't been "officially" answered.

While I haven't kept tabs on all of them I have come across, there are a massive chunk of answer this way, such as this question and this one and I believe this one. Here's a full list (not so pretty :P):

not to mention about a billion more that I'm sure are out there, that I have yet to run across.

I think this is an issue mainly with users that have an issue and pop on to here to get a quick and simple, show me what to do answer, and then leave without ever getting involved with the community or even marking/creating an answer to their question!

Jivings made a great point in the chat regarding this, you can read it here.

The difference between us and other SE sites is that we are focussed primarily at noobs.

which I am afraid is going to affect our chance of graduation if Stack Exchange doesn't recognize that. If it does, we are fine and dandy, as we are actually above a few regular, graduated, official sites in stats (such as Ask Ubuntu, which has only a 66% Q:A ratio.)

If you are a newer user to the site, please don't take this offensively, read the chat around and you'll understand we are not in any way insulting newer users with that term.

We need more people going through the old questions/unanswered questions list and commenting, upvoting, and flagging, trying to get people to mark answers and hopefully get them more involved. Otherwise, I'm afraid that this site will never graduate or even might be shut down.

One possible solution, though I doubt it will happen, is to give the Mods on this site the ability to mark answers or create/mark answers that are clearly resolved, but not marked as such by OP and the users inactive for quite some time. Another might be to just start closing questions that are inactive and have had basically no attention and obviously no resolution.

As for commenting, there is a wonderful StackApp called AutoReviewComments that allows you access to many review comments that are commonly used, and even allows you to add your own. This makes this sort of reviewing much easier and take much less time.

If you've read all the way through this massive Meta post and understand it all, Mucho Kudos to you :D but we really need to do something about this. If we could get some input from some SE CMs and the RPi beta site mods, that would be awesome.

EDIT I have received several responses from my "Have You Solved This?" comments! This proves that people are involved, they may have just forgot about old questions or resolved it outside of Stack Exchange and have simply forgot the old question. Yay!

This proves that commenting and going through old questions really does work and may even attract attention to old questions that can now be answered!

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You bring up some good points.

We need more people going through the old questions/unanswered questions list and commenting, upvoting, and flagging, trying to get people to mark answers and hopefully get them more involved. Otherwise, I'm afraid that this site will never graduate or even might be shut down.

I couldn't agree more with this. Although I don't think we'll be 'shut down' any time soon, we certainly aren't anywhere close to graduating. And a lack of consistent members is certainly a factor in this. Perhaps we need to more welcoming to new questioners, inviting them to chat regardless of if their question, just for a chat. We can also play around with real chat topics, competitions and other ways to motivate review.

One possible solution, though I doubt it will happen, is to give the Mods on this site the ability to mark answers or create/mark answers that are clearly resolved, but not marked as such by OP and the users inactive for quite some time. Another might be to just start closing questions that are inactive and have had basically no attention and obviously no resolution.

It wont happen, but perhaps we should rework our close reasons again. There are a few questions that are very specific to a particular user, and provide very little help to others. You can tell these by their lack of attention, both in answers and views (and search engine referrals).

Finally, autoreviewcomments is indeed an awesome tool.

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    Do you know if closing questions affects the unanswered ratio? I.e., if we close an unanswered/unticked question does it still count as "unanswered" in the stats? (See my answer for more) – goldilocks Mar 7 '14 at 12:21
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Jivings has mentioned expanding the close reasons, but our major problem with closing questions is we often don't seem to have enough regulars to get them closed.

Very likely there are oodles of old unanswered/unchecked questions that should have been closed but never were. It would be a good idea to start a meta question containing a list of these questions to help accelerate the process. We could also flag them, but people who haven't read this would miss the point.

So while you are going around looking for places to add a "Please accept" comment, keep a list of candidates for closing. A very high percentage of our questions really belong on S.O. or U&L, hence, those are even more likely to be from people new to S.E., who as you say pop in once and never return or tick an answer. Closing those questions will also leave a better indicator for others (whereas leaving them open will only encourage people to ask them).

  • I just read your comment on @Jivings answer, and that is a most interesting point. Do those count against our Q:A ratio? I hope it doesn't, it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense. – RPiAwesomeness Mar 14 '14 at 21:43
  • @RPiAwesomeness I have to assume not, like you say it would not make sense. Funny you should comment here because I just realized there already is a close queue in the "review", lol -- and no excuse for how I made it to ~30k on S.E. without paying enough attention to that, but I just spent my 20 close votes for the day, which was the final five on probably 1/2 dozen :) – goldilocks Mar 14 '14 at 21:52
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I am a little uncomfortable with one side effect of this move I have declined 3 flags today where a comment was added to the question regarding accepting an answer. The close flag was reviewed within a few hours of the comment. I don't feel this provides enough time for the OP to reply, let alone enough time for me to feel comfortable closing a question. I feel at least a week should transpire, before closing it is even considered.

As @Jivings has pointed out this site has a far higher than average number of noobs, as such i see this as an education issue not one that should be handled by shaping the data. I am okay with adding a comment asking a user to accept an answer, but less comfortable closing questions based on inactivity of the OP.

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    That is a good point. I think that we should post comments and all that, but keep the close votes down a little, unless it is OT or the like. I didn't intend this to spark off a wave of mass closing with reckless abandon, just to get knowledge up for this issue and to have people get more involved with the site. We should do that, have a week between comment and close vote. – RPiAwesomeness Mar 10 '14 at 19:54
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I think @Jivings makes a very good point about how the RPi.SE community could benefit from being more welcoming. I took a short poll (using closed:0 answers:2 score:-3-2 created:2014-01..2014-04 as a search command) for three of the SE sites I use frequently (Mathematica, RPi and CHEM). Mathematica is established and CHEM is in beta.

Here are the counts of questions with multiple answers and relatively low scores:

Mma (211), RPi (152), Chem (112)

Now, changing the search slightly, here are the counts of questions with scores above 2:

Mma (215), RPi (13), Chem (49)

There are undoubtedly many ways to interpret these data, but I think a problem that occurs with the beta sites is that we are too cautious in upvoting questions. Questions that have been formed well enough to warrant two or more answers probably can receive a few upvotes.

My premise is that an effort to increase the upvoting of questions, especially those questions posted by new users of RPi.SE, will show by example how the SE system works and thereby encourage new users to participate fully through the upvoting and accepting of answers. Granted, not all of the 152 RPi.SE questions above deserve multiple upvotes; however, those that fall within the spirit of the site (the questions are reasonably well written and on topic), should get a nudge. The OPs get a ping, their rep goes up, and that might be the push they needed to become more active in the community. Active community members will be more likely to clean up their questions (e.g. accept answers) and help us graduate.

  • Yes, that could very well be our issue! Users new to the SE system come here for Raspberry Pi help, which is good - that's what we are here for, but many don't understand the whole upvoting/mark-as-answer thing. My premise is that an effort to increase the upvoting of questions, especially those questions posted by new users of RPi.SE, will show by example how the SE system works and thereby encourage new users to participate fully through the upvoting and accepting of answers - Bingo, that's dead on. Show the new users how to do it correctly, and hopefully they will on their own! – RPiAwesomeness Mar 14 '14 at 21:38
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    @RPiAwesomeness I agree w/ the more welcoming premise, but I don't think lack of up votes is the most important part of that: it's providing comments and answers. Simply upvoting a question by a new user unfamiliar w/ S.E. won't go far in making them feel "welcome" if there's no other feedback. We should make more effort to explicitly explain; acting "by example" probably has more significance to you than an ignorant observer if they do not properly understand what it is they are observing (I know you do make an effort to explain explicitly already RPiA, bravo). – goldilocks Mar 14 '14 at 22:01
  • I agree. When I first began, I knew very little of the system, but I slowly picked up on the correct way to do things as I went simply by virtue of comments. Commenting and generally providing feedback (including chat) was/is very key. However, the users themselves have to want to learn and be more involved for this to work. I wouldn't be surprised, as I have said elsewhere (chat/my question), that many users just want an answer, and don't want to be involved. I hope that's not true, but it could very well be. – RPiAwesomeness Mar 14 '14 at 22:32

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