(Note: this question is slightly tl:dr but to sum up, I'm interested in figuring out how to increase the quality of the site's questions. The following is the reasoning I worked out)
This is poke, on Facebook.
According to the Facebook help page, its main purpose is to give a notification to the user I "poked".
Why do I ask this? Well... let's see the following facts:
- There are a lot of people at Super User that have accounts on other Stack Exchange sites.
- There are a lot of people that are more active on other Stack Exchange sites than Super User.
(This problem can be transversal to all sites, but I'm posting here, instead of Meta Stack Overflow as I found this problem here first).
According to 1. if they had the commitment to join Super User, then those peoples also have an interest in asking or answering questions.
The problem is that there are some people that ask questions and afterwards stop visiting SU. They don't stop being active in Stack Exchange as stated in 2. (in fact, they are quite active on Stack Overflow, for most of the users I checked), but they stop being active on SU.
Why is this a problem? If the problem was about answers given, there exists a quite nice setup (editing, reviewing, getting compensation for improving a post) designed to increase the quality and therefore the signal to noise ratio on the site. However the same can not be said about questions.
I can divide most questions here on 2 types:
- Generalist, easy access and wide answering questions (e.g. "How to daggertooth my jabberwocky without using the flux capacitor"). These kinds of questions, when even written with some detail, can be fixed and therefore can be of more use to the community.
- Specific, very strict and single answer questions (e.g. "Installation of localaxis failed because error not an axis was given") These kinds of questions rarely have more than a single answer, and most times the answer is specific to the problems faced by that user and rarely to a greater audience.
The latter can't be reformatted without the author. Unless we can open his head remotely and see what the actual question is, these kinds of questions, if having content issues that not condemning it to oblivion but make it incomplete or hard to understand, can't be easily edited.
Furthermore, what if someone has answered the question, and the author fails to give it attention? The people that gave an answer have some expectation that the person who did take the time to write a question can retribute the time that the persons that answered took.
In fact, this is how this problem came to be, for me. I checked my answers for some information I had and that wanted to adapt to an answer. For pure curiosity, I checked some of my "inactive" answers and I found that the authors of the respective questions, although inactive in SU, are active on other SE sites.
What I'm not asking: I don't want a poke feature like the one on Facebook (that was merely to illustrate/bold the post), but I'm interested in knowing of good ways to call back the users, to give a little attention to the questions.
I know that regardless of site, the user does receive a little red dot on the left upper corner stating someone somewhere answered the question. But for this to happen, the users might simply forget or disregard fully the question they themselves asked.
Signaling in with @(someone's_name) in a comment box seems to be somewhat like a plea for attention (emphasis on the plea). I could open a private chat room with the user, but that seems even worse.
The most "delicate" way I came across of signaling this is to... say, if the question is standing still in 2 weeks time, then a new notification should be sent to the user, maybe saying something in the order of "Hey, someone answered your post and you haven't done anything about it".