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How to find the right questions that I can answer?
Where can I find unanswered questions asked by beginners?

I really like StackOverflow.com and the concept itself.

The problem is that I can't seem to have an efficient way of finding questions I can answer.

I thought that by listing down my knowledge topics as my tags, it would be enough: , , , etc. It turns out I get tons of questions which are Java, but related to Android, or Kerberos but related to embedded systems.

I started filtering them out by placing tags under Filter Out tags, but it didn't help: First it only greys it out, which is not convenient. Second, I still get lots of questions not related to my topics, which means I need to add about 10–20 more tags to Filter Out tags.

So I'm asking you guys, is there a better, more efficient way, of getting questions I can answer based on the topics I know (which of course I will input somewhere)?

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marked as duplicate by Pops, Some Helpful Commenter, animuson, Al E., yhw42 Aug 22 '12 at 3:26

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Learn more about all of the topics you aren't knowledgeable about (by reading the SO questions that pop up without filtering them down so much). Once your knowledge base is as broad as SO, you won't have this problem. –  Servy Aug 21 '12 at 20:17
I watch niche tags with daily email alerts. Most of the interesting questions in the right tags don't get answers before I see them. –  Flexo Aug 21 '12 at 20:28
@Servy - that is a completely absurd and dysfunctional suggestion. –  skinnyTOD Aug 21 '12 at 21:56

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Couple thoughts:

  • If you don't want to see the grayed out tags, you can make them hidden by default:

    [User Profile Page] -> [Prefs] -> Check "Hide Ignored Tags"

  • You can use wildcards on your favorite and ignore tags to cut down on the raw number of them. For example I don't know iOS, so I have an ignored tag *ios*, which matches anything labeled ios or ios5 or ios-sdk or ios4 or etc.

  • If the main page is too crowded, you can click on a tag in your favorite column, and then it will only show questions tagged with this (wildcards are useful here). Once you have a good working set of ignored tags you can usually filter it down to something manageable.

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The problem with "hide ignored tags" is that you have to add all the ignored tags, possibly hundreds. That is a very bad UX. –  skinnyTOD Aug 21 '12 at 21:58
@skinnyTOD I'm not sure I understand, how else would you tell the system to ignore a tag other than by adding it? If you want to only see a particular tag, there's a way to do that (just click on the tag). I'm not sure what kind of system you'd prefer. –  Tim Aug 21 '12 at 22:00
I would prefer to see just the questions for tags I have selected as favorites and topics of interest. If the UI defaulted to showing just favorite tag content then we wouldn't be forced to do "defensive ignoring". As it stands I consider the current implementation broken/bad UX. –  skinnyTOD Aug 21 '12 at 22:06
@skinnyTOD But you are seeing favorited tags. The problem is that even those questions with at least one of your favorited tags are often ones you can't solve if you add a tag like 'java' or 'C#' because there are just so many questions within it. He could click on 'java' and then 'kerberos' to get just those items with both tags if that's what he was looking for. –  Servy Aug 22 '12 at 13:34
@Servy - any question related to the tags/topics I am interested in is fine - opportunity to learn. Being bombarded by questions related to Android* or Google* (and the hundreds of other tags I have no interest in) is annoying. –  skinnyTOD Aug 22 '12 at 18:32
@skinnyTOD The whole point is that the user has favorited 'java' and those questions are also tagged with 'java'. Either ignore the tags those questions have that you don't want, or look for questions with both 'java' and some other more specific tag (you can perform such a search). The point isn't that he's seeing every single unrelated question ever. –  Servy Aug 22 '12 at 18:38
@Servy - you don't get it. The user should only see what they have selected as "favorites" and not have to tediously select hundreds of tags to be "ignored." The issue of broad topic tags or sub topics withing broad tags is a different and relatively minor issue. –  skinnyTOD Aug 22 '12 at 18:52
@skinnyTOD The problem though is that even after filtering down to just questions with one of his favorited tags still shows lots of questions he can't answer. Those questions that he can't answer are tagged with a broad tag that he has favorited. –  Servy Aug 22 '12 at 18:59

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