The unanswered questions section on SuperUser shows questions with "no upvoted answers", but often has questions with three or more answers and 50+ views. I'd guess that many of those viewers may be viewing with a specific answer to provide but see that it has already been offered.

How about putting up a banner to suggest that people upvote one of the answers?

The banner could be shown on basis of criteria such as:

  • question open > 5 days - don't show on questions which are too new
  • number of answers > 2 - more answers means more are likely to agree with one
  • number of views for this question > 25 - more views means more likelihood that one is a good one (in somebody's point of view)
  • viewer's ratio of upvotes to answers given > 0.5 - Don't show the banner to those who are good about upvoting other people's answers and not just answering questions to boost their own rep.

The numbers are off the cuff and not based on any analysis of data.

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Sorry for downvoting - I don't mean it personally but I don't like the idea –  deleted Sep 8 '09 at 2:15
    
What problem are you trying to solve with this? What would be the benefit? –  innaM Sep 8 '09 at 6:05
    
Isaac - not taken personally at all. No worries. Manni - When I look at the unanswered questions for "my tags" on superuser.com, I see more than a few which meet the criteria I discussed above. With a simple banner (or other graphical hint), it might help thin the list of those that actually have been answered but just not upvoted. –  Doug Harris Sep 8 '09 at 12:58
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4 Answers

In addition to random's points, I've seen users upset by the fact that their questions have answers which get an upvote (thus coming off the unanswered page), when in fact that answer was not helpful to them in the least. These users feel -- perhaps rightfully -- that their questions will now not get as much attention as they were when they were "unanswered."

I wouldn't want to encourage willy-nilly upvoting of these answers. However, that said, if the answers truly deserve their upvotes, then go ahead and upvote them.

Remember: Always judge the question by the question, and always judge the answer by the answer. If the answer is insightful and helpful, then yes, upvote it. Otherwise, don't. That easy.

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I think it would be better to encourage more (and better) answers under those circumstances.

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People won't, or shouldn't, upvote just because there's an answer there.

more answers means more are likely to agree with one

And they could all still be wrong. Or they could be essentially right in a sense, but just not right enough to warrant an upvote. Or the people looking at the question want to know the answer, but don't know which of the answers really works or it's just a little outside their field of knowledge.

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I agree that people shouldn't upvote just for the sake of upvoting. My experience is mostly on SU and not SO or SF -- perhaps it's because its the newest site and has received a lot of publicity from sites like lifehacker.com, I feel that there are users who don't appreciate upvoting somebody else's answer. –  Doug Harris Sep 8 '09 at 13:00
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Meh.

I've posted trivial answers to boring questions and seen numerous upvotes within minutes. And posted non-trivial answers to niche questions that take months to get even a single vote. Both of these experiences make a fair bit of sense: if i'm reading a question and set of answers, unless i can identify with the question well enough to answer it myself... or at least recognize the right answer when i read it... then what business do i have voting at all?

Ultimately, there will be a lot of questions where answers are never voted on by anyone but the person who posted the question itself. And questions where the author never comes back to vote at all... and they'll sit, collecting valuable tin whiskers, unless and until someone else has the same problem and finds the solution while searching SO.

And that's ok.

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