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I can think of two ways:

1) Write a good answer (one that gets upvoted) to such a question .

2) Upvote an existing answer that is good (if this is genuinely the case).

Is there anything I have missed?

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I don't think reducing the number of unanswered questions should be an explicit goal. Whenever you're on a question that you can contribute to then contribute all that you can, through all of the means available to you. The unanswered question list is just one of many tools to help you find questions for which you may be able to contribute, or for which your contributions may be more appreciated. That doesn't mean that reducing those items is the end onto itself; the end should be improved content on the site as a whole, however you choose to go about it. –  Servy May 17 '13 at 15:11
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Get attention for them. –  Bart May 17 '13 at 15:13
    
Is there a particular SE site that has a huge backlog of unanswered questions? Is there actually a problem here? –  LittleBobbyTables May 17 '13 at 15:15
    
@LBT Drupal has (currently) the lowest answered percentage: 71%. I don't think that's a problem. Stack Apps is at 70%, but it's not really a normal Q&A site. (FYI "answered" on SE usually translates to having at least one upvoted answer) –  Yannis May 17 '13 at 15:19
    
@LBT The "unanswered" tab will list all questions that have no answers with a score of 1 or more. If there is an answer with 0 votes then upvoting it will result in the question being removed from that list. –  Servy May 17 '13 at 15:20
    
@Servy - yeah, I remembered that after I edited my comment. I always forget that "answered" doesn't necessarily mean "answered". –  LittleBobbyTables May 17 '13 at 15:21
    
@LBT While our answered percentage of 79% isn't that bad, the volume of questions means we have 1 million unanswered questions on Stack Overflow. –  Bill the Lizard May 17 '13 at 15:35
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I guess I missed something. My question really referred to "unanswered" questions that were answered, but had no upvotes (including questions I might answer). But the flip side of the coin is to improve the questions so they get answers. –  Tom Au May 17 '13 at 18:19
    
@TomAu Yes, writing a good answer or upvoting an existing good answer are probably the most direct ways to reduce the backlog. Those both apply to good questions only though, as does placing a bounty. Editing a question into better shape is another positive thing you can do. Voting or flagging for unanswerable questions to be closed is working on the "bottom of the pile" of questions, but it's just as effective (and important) for reducing the backlog. –  Bill the Lizard May 17 '13 at 22:05

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

For questions that remain unanswered, you can try:

  • Improving them (edit / comment) and
  • Offering bounties.

For sub par questions and/or questions that are essentially unanswerable, downvote and vote to close / delete. Removing the cruft is as good an option as any for reducing the backlog of unanswered questions.

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The other alternative I can think of is offering a bounty for the question.

Otherwise, editing the question to make it clearer or to correct the used tags (in the case they were not correct, or missing a more important tag) could get some user to answer it. The latter would have the effect of exposing the question to the right people who can answer it: Suppose that a Drupal question is using but not ; the question has not been probably noticed from those users who normally answer to Drupal questions, if not in the case they also keep an eyes on PHP questions.

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