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I would like to see a friendly reminder email being sent out to users who asked a question but it hasn't received any answers in over a month. It would be at most one email over the course of a month, and a question would only be included in this type of email once. Something along the lines of:

Dear SO/SF/SU User,

You asked the following questions which have not received any answers over the past month:

  • Question1
  • Question2

Perhaps you've managed to find a solution to this issue you can share with the community. If that's not the case, you can put a bounty on the question to increase the visibility of the question to get an answer...

The main reason why is because there's a lot of interesting questions out there that have received no answers at all, many of which I would like to see an answer to myself, but have no idea how to even start tackling the issue.

I did look at this similar feature-request, but I'm talking about questions that have received no answers at all, not those that should have one accepted.

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This could be considered as spam.

Sending emails like this without the accordance of the receiver is very impolite. In Germany you could receive disciplinary warning letter because of this. S[OFU] does not need to care about German law, but I highly discourage from doing it nevertheless.

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Then it could just be an opt-in option on their profile page. – Agent_9191 Dec 22 '09 at 20:11
Opt-in for bothering emails? "Dear user, if you're too dumb to ask correct questions we can email you to tell you how much you suck! Please check this box here." How do you want to formulate it, that it does not sound like this? – Ladybug Killer Dec 22 '09 at 20:28
My original thought for it wasn't for spammy emails. It would be at most once per question (consolidated to 1 a month)and would be more along the lines of "Hey, it's been over a month since you asked. Most likely you found some way of answering the problem (even if you had to admit the approach didn't work so you took a different tactic). If you have, please answer your own question to share with the community" – Agent_9191 Dec 22 '09 at 22:00
I understood that, Agent_9191. But your intent doesn't matter. It matters how it looks like. My answer is still valid. – Ladybug Killer Dec 22 '09 at 22:31

I'd rather see the email go out to the experts who can answer the question, with an automated system bounty:

Dear user,

You have achieved expert status in the widget tag. Following is a list of unanswered questions in that tag on which the system has placed a 50 rep bounty. Please consider reviewing the questions and answering them.

[link to RSS feed of unanswered questions tagged widget with a 50 rep bounty]

In other words, encourage the active users to hit those less answered problems.

It would necessitate changing the bounty system a bit:

  • if the bounty is under 100 rep, the minimum for a self-placed bounty, then the question must remain closeable/migratable in case it should have been closed, duped, or migrated
  • system starts a 50 rep bounty for questions with no answers after a period of time

There's a possibility that people would hold off on answering a question, hoping that if no one else does, then the rep bonus might become available, but I doubt that's going to be a problem. Most people would rather answer it immediately to get the upvotes if they can, rather than wait and hope no one else answers it (prisoner's dilemma, a bird in the hand, etc)

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No, thanks. "Active" users have an "Unanswered" tab they can browse at any time they want; no reason to spam them with emails. Also, how does one "achieve expert status"? Did you mean silver / gold badge in given tag? – ChssPly76 Dec 22 '09 at 20:59
Coupled with the bounty, it give a big encouragement to those who have demonstrated proficiency in a given tag to get a chunk of rep for a little more work than usual. The email notification is superfluous and unnecessary, but the point of the question is email alerts - I was simply turning the question around and saying, "why not pass it along to someone that has a stake in providing the answer?" – Adam Davis Dec 22 '09 at 22:02
It would have to be opt-in, because I don't have much time to answer SO questions anymore and I don't want to be spammed about unanswered Java questions just because I have a gold badge. – mmyers Dec 22 '09 at 22:07
Too bad for you. You spent countless enjoyable hours on SO, and now SO is back to recoup it's investment in you. The first one is always free... – Adam Davis Dec 22 '09 at 22:19
I think I'll go change the email address in my profile now. ...Oh, wait, I guess I just answered my own question, didn't I? But if you don't give them a email address, you can't have a gravatar, so it's still not an ideal solution. – mmyers Dec 23 '09 at 15:55

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