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+8 votes
in Q2A Core by
edited by
Hello all

Before I ask my question, I would like to take the opportunity to thank those making GREAT EFFORT  to answer the questions asked here.

However, having so many unanswered questions makes this site appear poorly, wouldn't you rather delete the unanswered questions or keep them hidden or have any other idea other than ​​staying here like this?

2 Answers

+4 votes

Just because a question doesn't have an answer now doesn't necessarily mean it won't receive an answer at some point in the future. Therefore I don't think it makes sense to delete questions just because they don't have an answer (yet).

However, I do believe that curation of questions is valuable. There are quite a few bad questions around here that most definitely deserve deletion (some of which even have answers, for instance the classic "I solved my problem" with no indication of what the problem actually was or how it was solved, which makes both question and answer useless for anyone else).

Personally I like the Stack Overflow model where curation involves a number of factors:

  • voting
  • flagging
  • community moderation (by members who gained enough rep)
  • moderation by elected moderators
  • moderation by staff

For this to work I believe several things would have to be changed, though. For starters, the ability to vote on questions from the question list would have to go. From what I observed questions gain significantly more votes than answers, which I attribute to people voting (maybe even serial-voting) from the questions list. This effective vote imbalance gives the people asking questions far more importance than the people providing answers (and would also give them quicker access to moderation tools).

Flagging would have to be improved, too. Currently it's just two flags required for hiding a post and there is no indication for the reasons behind the flags unless the people flagging also post a comment. It would help curation if people could provide/select a reason for the flag (e.g. question not answerable, spam, rudeness, ...). I'd also prefer if at least 3 flags were required for hiding a post (better yet, close it instead of hiding it).

People should stop locking (closing) questions that they consider answered. The proper indication for "this question is answered" is to accept the respective answer. Closing/locking questions should be reserved for stopping people from answering bad questions.

That's my 2 cents on the matter for now.

Good points. I actually do all of these in our Q2A site. A question vote should not get more than 1/10 that of an answer vote. Flag with reasons is also quite useful.
"There are quite a few bad questions around here that most definitely deserve deletion" > I agree. The problem is that without any policy on posting (rather than "ask here, in English"), hiding content might be close to authoritarianism. There are some really poor posts which I hide but aside from that, it will have to be the site owner who decides what to do with the content.

"vote on questions from the question list would have to go" > I agree. Most of the question voters are actually bots trying to earn points to post. A few of them succeed. The rest, just go to the moderation queue.

"Currently it's just two flags required for hiding a post" > I agree on the fact that the number is low. Furthermore, no matter the number, I believe regular users should not be able to hide other people's content.
+3 votes

I see your point. I believe a question might be answered in the future. However, I also agree that time is usually relevant. For example, there are unanswered questions for Q2A versions that have been unsupported years ago. I am even thinking that probably an "auto-expire" plugin could be developed (applying some rules).

I also wanted to explain something that you have not exactly asked, but I can read between the lines, which is WHY there are so many unanswered questions rather than WHAT to do with them or their impact.

The main issue with the questions is that, most of them, make no sense. "Sense" could be enforced with explicit posting rules and defining the site purpose. Currently, I can group site questions in four categories. Numbers might be a bit biased, I know, but they are not irreal either.

  • Can you do this job for free? (around 80% of the questions)
  • Server issues (around 15% of the questions)
  • General and unclear complaints (around 3% of the questions)
  • Really answerable questions (around 2% of the questions)

Each category has their own issues, but in general they relate to:

  • Unclear questions
  • People not understanding the complexity and time it takes to build software (even if it is a few lines of code)
  • Extremely short and incomplete questions (sometimes just a title) asking how to send a rocket to the moon
  • People not accepting the fact that if an answer is as detailed as the question, then it is a fair answer
  • People not knowing anything about IT except from throwing a few files in a web server
  • People not understanding that this is free software and it is as it is, and if they don't like it, they can extend it (rather than assuming "the developers" MUST extend it)

One last thought relating the categories and issues above is that a huge amount of questions (probably that 80%) could be solved with this answer: "Yes, it is possible. Just develop your business logic and then hook that into Q2A with X and Y modules". Nobody will consider that as an answer, even though it is. I have even noticed some people get angry when that answer is given. That's another demotivator to answer questions, which in many cases, are closer to ad honorem job offers.