Since we want to bring our answer rate up, and we have a great many good questions that could really do with an answer; it occurred to me that we could pro-actively single out a particularly promising selection of questions each week/month/quarter and get them answered by any means:

  • Adding a bounty
  • Contacting specialists in the area (MVP's etc.) to see if they'd be willing to provide an answer
  • Researching and providing the answer ourselves and/or encouraging the community to do so

It would help our rates slightly, and possibly kick up a some more interest from potential answerers. Admittedly it would be a bit high-maintenance, but it may be worth it.

Would this be worthwhile?

3 Answers 3


Contacting specialists and encouraging the community to get involved would really help. As mentioned by @KitMenke, making this a chat event should get us the attention needed and have the benefit of both promoting chat and the site as a whole as well!

Some ideas for hitlist criteria:

All questions must be of a high quality and have an element of challenge or interest to them.

We can advertise a banner on the site a week prior, as well as on Twitter and other social networks.

The event could run by introducing the questions up front so people can pick and choose what's most interesting to them. Probably a maximum of five questions (maybe start off with three?) but we'd need to play it by ear. To conclude we can remind people to vote and help out with our unanswered list until the next event! Perhaps we would run them every month.

  • This needs to be updated with non-biased criteria so there is no favouritism. I'll come back to this when I get time, or please feel free for someone else to update this post.
    – Alex Angas
    Sep 1, 2011 at 23:13

I periodically try to answer a few unanswerred questions for this reason. Apparently a queston counts as aswerred if it has at least one answer with at least one upvote. It might be worth trawling through the unanswerred (but not zero answers) questions and identifying answers that are good (i.e. helpful, not necessarily perfect) but nobody upvoted. A few of my answers, ahem, fall into that category.

  • 2
    Found some good answers with no votes. I'm outa votes for today, but our answer rate is now up from 80 to 81% and so has moved from "Worrying" to "Okay" according to Area 51. Happy days.
    – SPDoctor
    Jul 25, 2011 at 16:23
  • only few? Right now I counted 86 with 0 votes and some even accepted (!?). Since I found some interesting stuff you just received few upvotes :) Jul 29, 2011 at 12:19
  • Thanks for voting :-)
    – SPDoctor
    Jul 31, 2011 at 13:15

I like the idea of allowing users to put out bounties on other people's questions to help this out. This may make things more worthwhile to research and answer. A few caveats to this:

1) Multiple users can put out bounties on a question, however should anyone who has put out a bounty answer the question as well, they are prohibited themselves from collecting on the bounty, they can still answer the question though, and if they are marked as the answer the bounty points outstanding disappear to the eternal void.

2) Only the original person who asked a question can still mark an answer and award the combined bounty, no matter what.

3) A certain amount of reputation should be earned before you can put out a bounty on other people's questions (say 1,000 rep). This will allow for a "master presence" effect drawing more experts to the question.

EDIT: Another idea, how about allowing "abandoned" questions to be answered by the community, in the case of where the person who asked the question never shows up again? Or I'd set it up something like this:

If the question is unanswered, AND it's been 3 months since the person who originally asked the question has visited the question then open the answers up to a community vote. As soon as 10 people vote an answer as "the answer" that question is given the "answer" award, and all the requisite reputation, bounties in effect, etc. Now then, we put a little at stake for the voters to ensure their honesty and that they've researched it. For every upvote obtained on the answer AFTER asking, the voters gain 10 reputation apiece, however for every downvote obtained on the answer after asking, the voters lose 5 reputation apiece. The voters who marked as the answer are confidential to remove bias in this.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .