What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 128 Stack Exchange communities.

I believe most people do it using tags. Surely some use the "newest questions" link above, or the others filtering options. Others just attack them randomly when they're feeling a thrust of need to answer questions. And there are the foreigns who come across questions for whatever reason (such as google) to eventually give an answer.

I don't have a method, but I see there are way too many unanswered questions (right now, above 8k on stack and 4k on superuser). There's probably at least one question there that I could answer, but I'm finding it quite too hard to find the ones that are "right for me".

So, how do you do to find your answerable questions?

I couldn't even find a duplicate to this, as I figure there must be one.

share|improve this question
6  
I have to admit it used to be easier in the early days of Super User. Nowadays questions range from topics where I know little of (Linux/Mac) to help with alien coding programs or worse: solutions that do not exist... Where are all have all the noob questions gone to! –  Ivo Flipse Mar 31 '10 at 20:13
add comment

8 Answers 8

up vote 2 down vote accepted

So, you have a set of answers prepared, and hope that someone will ask the corresponding question?!

I think it's not very different from usual web browsing - just browse through the questions, and there's always a lot of interesting stuff, and when you have experience on something (or an interesting idea), and the question isn't already fully answered, just add your 2 cents if it could help the question author.

share|improve this answer
    
It turns out this is what I have been doing indeed, as per my answer. So, I guess I should accept this, despite your uncalled aggressive rhetorical question in the first line. –  Cawas May 9 at 16:37
add comment

I usually like to use searches like this answers:0 closed:0 [tagname] where tagname is something I feel that I am skilled at.

Of course I also watch the front page and the check the RSS questions feed a couple times a day.

share|improve this answer
1  
That's very cool, what other command-words are there on the search? -edit: never-mind. i think I accidentally found it: meta.stackoverflow.com/search –  Cawas Mar 31 '10 at 22:03
add comment

Majority of the time, I can find several questions that I can answer on the front page (active). The issue tends not to be finding questions that I can answer, but finding questions that don't already have good enough answers, as questions in the popular tags tend to get answers pretty fast (and being a .NET mouth-breather, I spend most of my time in the popular tags).

If it's a slow day then I'll head over to the Featured tab; I'm not that much of a bounty hunter, but they tend to be the most interesting questions, and the people who start bounties generally really want answers so they'll tend to appreciate your input more.

Final stop is the Unanswered page, using the tag links on the right to filter to unanswered questions that are relevant to me personally. It's rare that I ever make it there, though, unless I'm going for a badge; there are just too many new questions being asked.

share|improve this answer
1  
Here is an answer to the popular tag problem. meta.stackexchange.com/a/120466/177681 –  PyRulez Jan 27 '12 at 20:51
add comment

I just refresh the main page until I find one I like. If I don't find something interesting, I go do something else (like work, how lame) for a little while and try again.

Edit

I should note that I occasionally answer questions outside my comfort zone in languages I don't know a lot about simply to expand my own knowledge base. I find something interesting/new/wierd, go research it, and then provide an answer.

share|improve this answer
add comment

The easiest ones to answer (and/or close) are the beginner tagged questions with no answers, not wiki, and not closed.

Beyond that - there are 30k questions that are not wiki, not closed, and have no answers. If you don't know good tags to use to search them (ie, you don't know a programming language, or term) then you probably can't answer any of them.

Try these searches:

(The last three based on your user profile)

share|improve this answer
    
Of course, in the case of the C++ questions, the vast majority of them are not about C++ - it's just that the questioner gave them that tag. This is why they don't have answers. I would estimate that 99.99% of C++ questions that are actually about the language get answered quickly. Probably the same is true for most other unanswered questions. –  nb69307 Mar 31 '10 at 20:02
    
@Neil - as it is with most of the language tags. They are there to narrow down the field - "ajax java" would have a different audience than "ajax php". –  Adam Davis Mar 31 '10 at 20:05
2  
The one drawback of a search like answers:0 closed:0 you tend to find a large number of poorly asked and/or abandoned questions. Most questions that can be answered usually don't stay in an unanswered state very long. –  Zoredache Mar 31 '10 at 20:08
add comment

If you're using Google Chrome, you could try the Stacked Odds extension.

share|improve this answer
    
While I'm still trying various methods, I like how this app sounds like a direct answer and still is completely unrelated to my question. :) –  Cawas Mar 15 '11 at 12:17
2  
This app just doesn't seem to work anywhere :( –  gideon Feb 24 '12 at 4:03
    
Does this extension still work? Hasn't been any activity on the app page for quite some time. –  SamtheBrand May 8 at 21:05
    
@SamtheBrand I actually don't know, but I assume it has been ostracized indeed, as it has been too long without any updates and it looks like it simply doesn't work. –  Cawas May 8 at 23:43
add comment

Have you tried the Unanswered big link you can find in every page?

It only shows questions with no upvoted answers in the tags you have set as interesting. :)

share|improve this answer
    
It makes the task a bit easier, but still the displayed list is a huge heap of questions I can't answer and often even can't understand what it is about. –  Paul Jun 11 '13 at 13:28
    
Don't know why I didn't answer your question back then but yeah, from the links in my question you could assume I had tried it, as I have. As it turns out, I was looking for lazier ways to find them, as you can read from my answer now. I think a better question would have been "How to make the right questions that I can answer find me?" but I'll leave the question as it is for now. ;-) –  Cawas May 9 at 16:39
add comment

Almost 4 years after this question, here's how I've been handling it: I go with the wind. Granted, this doesn't really answer my question as I'd like, but in the end it is how I've been doing it.

Main thing I do to "find the right question" is I don't look for them. I just continue with my day to day... When I have a question I mostly google for it. If I stumble on StackExchange I'm glad to find it answered, if there is no answer that satisfies me I add one, if there is no question then I ask one. I hardly ever find unanswered questions, but I think it did happen once or twice. I mostly find those "unanswered questions in need" in more obscure Q&A sites, such as Unity3D or AskDifferent - There's only less than 10K unanswered there, and less than 40K total questions, against 1.7M and 7.2M from SO.

I actually only ever actively look for questions when I see I have less answers than questions, which usually happens when I start in a new community. Then I quest for "questions I can answer", as a way to keep my Q:A ratio closer to 1:1. I don't mind having more answers than questions, what bothers me is taking more than giving. For whatever reason, it just pokes me at night.

So yeah, I haven't used any single resource from all the helpful answers here in all these years. That's not to say I haven't used any tools...

Best tool I've came across was Newt. I think it's for mac only, but it's awesome. It notifies of messages and it brings random new questions as they pop up. I haven't even used the pop up feature, but it is quite nice for finding questions at random. And I have actually stopped using Newt this year in favor of the next one...

Second best tool was StackAlert, which has almost nothing to do with finding the right questions, but it kinda helps me with that as well because it keeps reminding me of old posts thanks to new people interested in it who post up new things. Eventually I look at the similar questions or there are new links or I just try to update stuff and end up finding new questions.

In the end, I've been using a lot of patience and, in one word, serendipity to find the questions.

share|improve this answer
add comment

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .